Research news and notes from the National Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Education
Digital Library (NSDL) Program [Back Issues]

The Whiteboard Report
August 2003, Issue #34



NSDL Collection Development Policy Draft for Review
August 2003-- Great Libraries have great collections. Great collections are developed with an explicit development plan that is used to:
- guide those responsible for building (and planning the future of) the library collections and
- to explain to users what they can expect to be included in the library and
- serve as a basis for wider cooperation with other libraries and information services.

In this spirit, your comments on the Draft NSDL Collection Development Policy 0030715 on the NSDL Content Standing Committee website at: would be very much appreciated. This document is intended as an evergreen draft that will be improved over time with input from all those involved in building and using the NSDL. The intitiative to create this document was led by John Saylor, NSDL Director of Collections Development, and produced with input from members of the Core Integration Team, including William Arms, Dave Fulker, Diane Hillmann, Carol Terrizzi, Dean Kraft, Carl Lagoze, Jon Phipps, and others, and Barbara DeFelice and Karon Kelly (who volunteered to help with this effort at the December 2002 All Projects Content Standing Committee Meeting).

Send your comments to John Saylor (, or to the Content Committee list at Suggestions and changes will be incorporated in a newer version. Please feel free to circulate this document widely in the meantime.
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Collection Solution in a Box from Internet Scout
August 2003-- The Internet Scout Project, as part of the National Science Foundation's NSDL initiative, is currently soliciting beta testers for the initial release of the CWIS software package. This turnkey, open source software package helps groups or organizations put an NSDL collection portal online with minimal investment in technical resources or expertise.

The initial release of CWIS will include:
- An NSDL-specific accessibility-compliant user interface, with links and information about NSDL resources for collection developers and portal administrators
- Metadata field editor, which allows portal administrators the ability to add, delete, and modify metadata field attributes (comes with Dublin Core compliant metadata schema by default)
- Keyword and cross-field searching, with Google-style support for phrases and exclusions
- Resource ratings and resource comments by users
- Recommender system (a la
- Support for OAI 2.0 (critical for NSDL!)
- Support for RSS 0.92 and 2.0 syndication
- Online help, including documentation on cataloging and portal administration

To install and run CWIS you will need:
- Linux web server to which you have command-line (telnet, ssh, or console) access
- PHP 4.0.6 (or later)
- MySQL 3.23.29 (or later)

The initial release of CWIS is scheduled for early September 2003. Any NSDL collection developers interested in becoming beta-testers for CWIS should send e-mail to

SU School of Information Studies' Researchers Provide Virtual Bricks and Mortar for the NSDL
August 2003-- When the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) opened its virtual doors last December, researchers from the School of Information Studies helped turn the key. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the ambitious project aims to be the most comprehensive online source for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education in the country and is emerging as a center of innovation in digital libraries as applied to education. Full Story.-- SU Orangebytes Monthly E-Newsletter
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Cornell University KMODD-L Project Pioneering 3-D Printing Methods
August 2003-- The use of physical models in engineering teaching, analysis, and exploration of mechanical concepts has a long history. The obvious advantages of being able to touch and manipulate physical mechanisms allows students and researchers to gain a tactile understanding of how machines function. Hod Lipson, Francis C. Moon, Jimmy Hai, and Carlo Paventi trace the history of 3-D teaching methods and describe 3-D printing methods of models from the historic Cornell Reuleaux Collection of Kinematic models in "3-D Printing the History of Mechanisms."
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Communities of Practice Presentation
August 2003-- Please join a teleconference on August 20 at 4:00PM EDT to hear Bruce Caron (PI, Data Discovery Toolkit and Foundry) talk about his experience building community in the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP).

ESIP brings together government agencies, universities, non-profit organizations, and businesses in an effort to make Earth Science information available to a broader community. It facilitates interactions among scientists, engineers, information technologists, and user communities by encouraging the use of best science, supports exchange and integration of Earth science data, information, products, and services, and increases the diversity and breadth of users and uses of Earth science data, information, products and services.

So, listen in to find out how this community works, and participate in a discussion about lessons learned along the way. Call information will be posted on the web site and announced via email shortly.
Related Link: Update
August 2003-- Core Integration staff has taken a few interim steps to reorganize the site and freshen up the content prior to our October release. If you haven't visited in a while, please take a look. Work continues on the new look and inclusion of the community workspaces as part of the new version that will be available in October.

Routine collection harvesting has also resumed. The bulk of the automation work has been completed and new collections are being added every week. Plans are to have a new collection registration form and process in place in the next month, so stay tuned for details on how that will work. If you want to recommend a new, quality STEM collections a collection, please send an email with the URL and short description to

If you have questions about either activity, please contact Susan Jesuroga.
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NSDL Annual Meeting 2003 Updates
August 2003-- Birds of a Feather Sessions are intended to enable NSDL community members to meet with others interested in the same subjects and issues. Check out the Birds of a Feather Sessions or submit your own on the Meeting website at Please note that these sessions do not require a sign-up; the purpose of the web page is to provide a forum for posting ideas and contacting people with the same interests.

Sharing Your Stories: Sustaining Collaborations The Co-Presenters submission form has been re-opened until August 1 to ensure that everyone gets a chance to participate. Join the 35 projects who have given submissions and indicate your interest in co-presenting at a workshop, panel discussion, or other session at the NSDL Annual Meeting which will be held October 12-15 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC.
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NSDL Educational Impact and Evaluation Standing Committee (EIESC) Workshop
August 2003-- You are invited to participate in an NSF-sponsored workshop, "Developing an Evaluation Strategy for the Educational Impact of the National Science Digital Library" to be held in Washington DC, on October 2-3, 2003.

The purpose of this workshop is to develop a long-term strategy to guide evaluation and research activities on the educational impact of the NSDL. This strategy should be capable of guiding the overall NSDL effort, as well as the evaluation and research activities undertaken by individual investigators. Towards this end, we are bringing together a group of NSDL awardees and leading researchers from the fields of educational technology, cognitive science, program evaluation, and cognizant disciplines. An important workshop outcome will be the development of a report that will articulate a strategy and recommendations for action. We anticipate this report will be published in both electronic and paper formats and will be widely disseminated to the research community and within multiple directorates in NSF.

The EIESC is asking interested community members to submit a statement outlining their thoughts on how their NSDL projects and other relevant experiences will contribute to the workshop. These statements will be reviewed by a program committee, using as selection criteria the alignment of overall expertise and workshop goals with regard to a complementary range of experiences and project representation.

Statements will be limited to two pages. Your statement should clearly articulate how your prior work, e.g., either your results or methodology, would inform the development of the NSDL evaluation strategy. Statements should be submitted electronically by August 15, 2003 on the Workshop website. Participants will be notified by August 29. Participants are expected to pay for their own travel.
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Metadata and Search: Global Corportate DCMI 2003 Workshop
August 2003-- Registration is now available for the Metadata and Search: Global Corporate Circle DCMI 2003 Workshop.

The workshop will be held on Sunday, September 28, 2003, 8:30-6:00 in conjunction with the 2003 Dublin Core Conference at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle.

Speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds and expertise will share their experience and insights, and facilitate discussion among participants about issues related to the use of metadata in corporate intranet search environments. Threads that will be emphasized throughout the day include the processes, technology and business drivers surrounding metadata applications.

Upcoming deadlines for participation in conferences and meetings of interest to NSDL partners will be available in Whiteboard Report as information becomes available. Share your conference information in Whiteboard Report by emailing Carol Terrizzi or Susan VanGundy.
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Upcoming Conference Paper Deadlines
August 2003-- Scientific Instrument Collections in the University: An International Symposium at Dartmouth College.
June 24-27, 2004, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire
Abstracts: Sept. 15, 2003
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About the Collaboration Finder
August 2003 -- An Interview with Brandon Muramatsu, Principal Investigator and Marcia Mardis, Senior Personnel

To foster partnerships, collaboration and cooperation, the Collaboration Finder helps NSDL participants learn more about the individual projects that make up the NSDL. It collects project specifics and classifies them according to discipline, funding year, NSDL track and more. In this way, projects can be better integrated, defined and leveraged.
"Through the Collaboration Finder, NSDL developers can make sense of the various projects and find areas of common interest," said Brandon Muramatsu, the project's principal investigator. "It also helps participants easily grasp the entire scope of NSDL - from newly funded projects to areas that need further development."
The Collaboration Finder records in one central location all the collaborative possibilities between NSDL participants. It compiles project and personal data to help individuals find others, based on professional interests. It also encourages synergy within the developer community, driving projects forward.
While Muramatsu builds the technology components, Marcia Mardis, senior personnel, stimulates involvement within the NSDL community. Both use their contacts to broker partnerships.
"Using the Collaboration Finder, I recently introduced a potential contributor to a large, established digital collection," explained Mardis. "Serendipitous discovery was helped by the Collaboration Finder's human component."
In addition to linking developers, the Collaboration Finder aids NSDL management in planning initiatives, gaining funding, strengthening proposals, steering projects and providing accountability.
"Program officers can evaluate all completed and developing NSDL projects - numbering at least 120 now - plus attach PI names to each effort. Pinpointing what each one?s actually doing and the progress they?re making towards specific deliverables is a very powerful tool for the program," said Muramatsu.
To maximize its effectiveness, the Collaboration Finder depends on input from all NSDL contributors. When the Collaboration Finder is fully operational, contributors can log on and quickly find others with similar interests or identify those who have the expertise to perform specific tasks.
"What you get out of the Collaboration Finder is equivalent to what you put in," stated Mardis. "If everyone is willing to share information about projects on a granular level, there will be real value in participating."
The Collaboration Finder encourages profiling through personal contacts, presentations and NSDL publications. Muramatsu and Mardis also rely on their extended network to persuade co-workers to detail their projects and identify others they?d be interested in learning more about.
The NSDL?s continuing ability to serve its target audiences effectively depends on what?s happening behind the scenes. As the NSDL grows, so should the cohesiveness of the community. "My vision for the NSDL is not that it becomes an ever-growing list of projects, but an ever-growing, interlinked, communicating list of projects," concluded Mardis. "I hope the Collaboration Finder furthers that aim." --Lisa McMath


US Education Secretary Paige Announces New Initiatives To Assist Teachers
August 2003-- US Education Secretary Rod Paige has announced a series of initiatives designed to assist states and educators in meeting the highly qualified teacher requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act. The centerpiece of the outreach effort is the new Teaching Assistance Corps, a team of education experts, researchers, and practitioners who will provide voluntary support to states as they carry out the highly qualified teacher provisions of the law. The announcement came as Paige sent to Congress his second annual report on states' teacher quality initiatives, "Meeting the Highly Qualified Teachers Challenge." The Teaching Assistance Corps will travel to states and perform on site reviews tailored to the explicit needs and concerns of state officials. The teams will offer guidance and feedback on state efforts, address specific state challenges, and provide useful information from other states about promising practices in the field. Corps members also will clarify issues confused by misunderstanding and misinformation. State participation is voluntary.--Triangle Bulletin, July 24, 2003
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Into the Future of Information Organization
August 2003-- Clifford Lynch, Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) Executive Director, shares his views on information creation, management, and organization in the digital environment in the latest issue of Ubiquity, an ACM IT Magazine and Forum.
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Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom
August 2003-- In "Using the OAI-PMH...Differently" (D-Lib Magazine, July/August 2003) authors Herbert Van de Sompel, Jeffrey A. Young, and Thomas B. Hickey describe some interesting ways that they are extending the functionality of the protocol, and therefore the applications to which it can be applied. The primary benefit of this article is not the specific uses described, but rather the example it sets in freeing up thinking around the OAI Protocol for Metadata Harvesting as an extensible infrastructure, not a standard that is narrowly focused on solving one particular problem.--Current Cites, Vol. 14, No. 7, July 2003
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E-Books Really Are the Future
August 2003-- Without question, the e-book has had a rough couple of years, especially from a public relations standpoint. While a long list of commercial e-book ventures have flopped amid high expectations, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) History E-Book Project has been quietly making major progress. The ACLS History E-Book Project launched in September of 2002 with 500 e-books. In September 2003, it will add 275 more titles; ACLS plans to add approximately 250 books annually to the collection, as well as 85 completely new "born digital" electronic titles. The project is supported by site licenses from library customers; as of this week, a respectable 141 subscriptions had signed since the launch--well on the way to the 200 subscriptions needed by June 2004 to fulfill conditions of the project's 5-year, $3 million Mellon Foundation grant.--Library Academic Newswire, July 31, 2003
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August 2003-- More than 90 high school students from New York to Mexico embarked this summer on a 1,500-mile race in hand-built solar powered cars. The eighth annual Dell-Winston Solar Car Challenge, which began at Dell's headquarters in Round Rock, TX, wound its way through Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, en route to the finish line in Cocoa, FL.
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August 2003-- More than 90 high school students from New York to Mexico embarked this summer on a 1,500-mile race in hand-built solar powered cars. The eighth annual Dell-Winston Solar Car Challenge, which began at Dell's headquarters in Round Rock, TX, wound its way through Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, en route to the finish line in Cocoa, FL.
Related Link:

Published from 2000 to September 2009, NSDL Whiteboard Report Archives provide access to prior issues of the bi-weekly newsletter published by NSDL. To subscribe to current news and information about NSDL, go to the NSDL Community Network site, register as a user, subscribe to and participate in selected features found there. For more information contact Eileen McIlvain