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

The Whiteboard Report
March 2001, Issue #4



Open Archives Initiative Protocol Released in Berlin
March 2001--On February 24, 2001 the specifications of the OAI interoperability architecture 'Protocol for Metadata Harvesting Version 1.0' were released at the European 'Open Day' meeting at Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. The European release represents the fixing of these specifications for a one year period of experimentation. The meeting included an overview of the organizational and historical context of the Open Archives Initiative, a detailed presentation of the OAI interoperability architecture, presentations by implementers who have worked with, or plan to work with protocol, and opportunities to discuss community building within the OAI technical framework.

Gateway to Education Materials (GEM) Visit
March 2001--SITE researchers will host a visit from GEM at Cornell on March 20. Each project hopes to learn more how they might work together in the future. Presentations will include an overview of digital library research at Cornell as well as a look into SITE for Science system architecture, portal design, and a review of current collections collaborations. 'The Gateway to Educational Materials is a Consortium effort to provide educators with quick and easy access to thousands of educational resources found on various federal, state, university, non-profit, and commercial Internet sites.'

Dublin Core Metadata Inititative Launches New Web Site
March 2001--Take a look at the new Dublin Core Metadata Initiative Web site. The DCMI community offered many suggestions in response to a 'Call for Input' on the DCMI Website Redesign. The new site has been redesigned and the content reorganized to meet the needs of both the existing community base as well as newcomers to the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative. Additionally, the new site incorporates XML, RDF and CSS standards in its content management and design. DCMI anticipates WAI compliance in the very near future. The Web site is not only easier to use and navigate but designed to employ DCMI technology and help demonstrate the effectiveness of combining encoding standards and Dublin Core semantics. Each web page includes its own RDF metadata, which is harvested and stored within a database, facilitating effective searching and navigation of the site. The RDF toolkit used to drive the search services will be available under the DCMI Open Source License and will be available to the community shortly.

'SITE for Science' Collaborations Update
March 2001--The Department of Plant Pathology at Cornell is collaborating with SITE to share its collection of historic images with users. Image files and metadata for approximately 900 separate images are now in hand, with several hundred more in the pipeline. Department chair Rosemary Loria, staff photographer and digital imaging specialist Kent Loeffler, and Kathie Hodge, curator of the Mycology Collection, worked together to manage the details of the data transfer. Their ideas for improving the data description and collection will make subsequent transfers more efficient. Under the direction of Peter Nester of the Paleontological Research Institute (PRI) SITE student staffer Josh Glasstetter '02 is adding Dublin Core metadata to PRI webpages, as a first step in bringing that information to users of the NSDL. Many of the museum's resources including fossil collections, educational packages, and mastodon images will be described according to Dublin Core standards, added to the HTML headers in the PRI webpages, and later extracted as 'catalog records' for the NSDL. Future plans include adding other PRI collection metadata to the NSDL catalog as it becomes available. Please contact John Saylor if you are interested in learning more about how to be a SITE for Science collaborator.
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The Roof is On Fire!
March 2001--Visiting CS Professor and Open Archives Initiative co-organizer Herbert Van de Sompel addressed the Cornell Library Academic Assembly on March 1. His lecture entitled 'THE ROOF IS ON FIRE' put the Open Archives Metadata Harvesting protocol in the context of scholarly communication speculating about how future, similar protocols might play a role in achieving interoperability across building blocks of a deconstructed scholarly communication system. 'He challenged libraries to re-think themselves and their functions while being proactive in exploring alternative mechanisms for scholarly communication. Libraries are in a great position to do so given their history with, and knowledge of the key functions in scholarly communication.' Tune in to Van de Sompel's address 'Overview and Historical Context of the OAI' at Open Day for the U. S. with an Introduction by Clifford Lynch of the Coalition for Networked Information



D-Lib Magazine
March 2001--'Keeping Dublin Core Simple--Cross-Domain Discovery or Resource Description' by Carl Lagoze in the January issue addresses the tradeoffs metadata architects face. Should metadata be as kept simple to support wide implementation, or should it be more complex to support specialized discovery

World Libraries
March 2001--The International Federation of Library Associations and Insitutions (IFLA) will hold their General Conference in Boston from August 16-25, 2001. In addition to the papers and conference program in Boston, there will be satellite meetings at various places in the U.S. and Canada during the same time period, among them: 'Subject Retrieval in a Networked World' (in collaboration with OCLC, Dublin, Ohio), 'Technology, Globalization, and Multicultural Services' (Buffalo, New York), 'Digital Libraries for the Blind and the Culture of Learning in the Information Age' (in collaboration with the Library of Congress, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Washington, DC), and 'Future Places: Reinventing Libraries in the Digital Age' (Boston, MA). More information available at

NSDL Program Solicitation
March 2001--The NSF is seeking proposals for digital libary collections, services, and/or targeted research for the National Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education Digital Library Program. $25M will be available.

March 2001--2CE a PA company has unveiled a browser that uses the metaphor of a cube to present Web pages in threedimensions, with one page on each face. BTW--this is not VRML.

A Pageless Way to Find Content
March 2001--Researchers at the University of West Florida's Institute for Human and Machine Cognition have come up with a new learning tool called concept mapping that bypasses the usual page-by-page process of Web browsing. It will not replace Web browsers, says the Institute's Alberto Canas, but will augment the process of finding out about a particular subject by organizing related information into so-called Cmaps-a graphic representation of a subject that shows how it is linked to related topics and subtopics.

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