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

The Whiteboard Report
December 2003, Issue #43



Elsevier's Science and Technology Board Reports Withdrawal of Science Portals
December 2003-- "The Science & Technology (S&T) Board has reviewed its portal marketing activities and feels that the contribution of this form of marketing to S&T's current business is not sufficient to continue the associated high investments. The existing S&T portals, BioMedNet, ChemWeb, will be withdrawn and their associated operations, products and services will be reviewed.

However some development of the corporate web site ( is anticipated to support our essential online marketing needs and some current activities would be migrated to that site where appropriate. These proposed changes will take time to plan and implement and it is important that our customers' needs continue to be met.

This difficult decision has been made in the context of an extremely challenging budget cycle brought about by the continued tough market conditions. Additionally, changes in legislation make it more difficult to defray costs through advertising based activities using membership lists. This has led to the need to review the resources deployed on portals in support of our marketing strategy."--Elsevier Today, December 3, 2003
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Design Science to Lead Requirements Workshop for Enhancing Searching for Mathematics
December 2003-- Science, Technology and Medical (STM) publishing is moving rapidly toward the use of XML, and in particular, toward the use of MathML for the encoding of mathematical data. As a result of this shift, best practices are in flux. Once workflows are established, however, the decisions made today may have wide-ranging implications for the long-term value of XML document collections. This is particularly true in the areas of metadata, searching and indexing.

To take advantage of this unusual window of opportunity for improving the infrastructure for searching STM documents, the National Science Digital Library program at the National Science Foundation is sponsoring two conferences over the next two years. "Enhancing the Searching of Mathematics," the first of the two, seeks to bring together experts on searching techniques and managers of STM document collections from both academics and industry on April 26 and 27, 2004. The workshop will be hosted by the Institute for Mathematics and its Advancement (IMA) at the University of Minnesota. Workshop information is available at
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Upcoming Conference Paper and Registration Deadlines
December 2003-- International Conference on Engineering Education and Research (iCEER) 2004
June 27-30, 2004, Czech Republic
Paper abstracts: March 15, 2004

Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL) 2004 - Global Reach and Diverse Impact,
June 7-11, 2004, London, Tucson, Arizona
Short papers, posters, proposals for workshops: February 10, 2004
Demonstrations: March 31, 2004

European Conference on Digital Libraries (ECDL) 2004
September 12-17 2004, University of Bath, UK
Full papers, panels, tutorials, and workshop proposals: April 5, 2004
Posters and demonstrations: May 19, 2004
Final submission date: June 11, 2004
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Exhibits Workgroup-Selected Resources at
December 2003-- Resources now appearing at > Resource Of Interest have been suggested by NSDL volunteers based on emerging criteria for resources that will be used to develop NSDL exhibits. To send feedback, or to get involved please subscribe to
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The Gender and Science Digital Library
December 2003-- How does gender affect the teaching and learning of science? How might scientific discovery differ with greater representation of women in the scientific community? How can we improve science, math, and technology proficiency for all learners? Such questions inspired Katherine Hanson, Director of the Gender and Diversities Institute at the Educational Development Center, to lead the development of a digital library focused on issues of gender and science.

The Gender & Science Digital Library (GSDL), created in partnership with the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse, helps K-12 and undergraduate educators implement gender-equitable science education and promote the goal of increasing female involvement in the sciences. It also provides resources to researchers and others working to understand the link between gender and science, including how gender influences the development of science and the role of women within science, math, and technology fields.

One of the goals of GSDL is to aid busy teachers in quickly finding resources that help them better teach girls and, by implication also boys, because as Hanson points out, research shows that gender-equitable education works for both sexes. In addition to facilitating access to relevant science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) information from a variety of sources, GSDL employs gender and diversity as a lens to create additional resources and services. "Through GSDL, people can begin thinking about larger issues as well as the very concrete, such as what we need to do in the classroom to make sure that girls, women and other diverse learners are engaged in science discovery," Hanson stated.

"We help members of different communities increase options for women and girls in science. As parallel concerns, we are integrating ethnicity, race and disability into our efforts," explained Hanson. "GSDL educates people about how these facets of human identity are linked and how they interact with STEM learning and teaching."

Visit GSDL at
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Open Access Debate Featured in the LANCET
December 2003-- In a lively, written debate, the LANCET (owned by industry leader Elsevier) offers some expert industry perspectives on open access publishing.
It may be too early to say whether open access is the way of the future. For academic libraries, however, something clearly must give. ARL research shows that research libraries in North America have seen serial prices soar 215 percent since 1990. At Cornell University, which recently made news by deciding not to renew its subscription to Elsevier's ScienceDirect e-journal bundle, the cost has reached its limit. In announcing its list of Elsevier cancellations, Cornell officials reported that the libraries "subscribe to 14 percent fewer serials than they did 15 years ago, even though their combined library acquisitions budgets have increased over the past 15 years by 117 percent." In an era when technology was supposed to aid in the distribution of information, such statistics continue to confound librarians and researchers. "Ten years ago everyone believed that electronic [journals] would be really cheap," Yale Associate University Librarian Ann Okerson recently told the YALE DAILY NEWS. "I think there's a fair amount of disillusionment or disappointment that moving to electronic has not brought down costs or prices."--Library Journal Academic Newswire, December 2,2003
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Science On the Radio and Online
December 2003-- Earth & Sky is an award winning daily science radio series heard by millions of listeners on over 950 commercial and public stations and their translators throughout the United States. It can also be heard in Canada, the South Pacific and on a variety of international networks, including Armed Forces Radio, World Radio Network and Voice of America.
Each day, Deborah Byrd and Joel Block discuss popular science subjects that affect our everyday lives. A "Teacher's Lounge" directs teachers to resources about how to use "Earth & Sky" information in the classroom.
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NSTA Webwatcher's Science Guides
December 2003-- A Teacher Guide provides insight on navigating and understanding the layout of NSTA science guides, how the guide content is aligned to the NSES, and how the Internet resources were evaluated using rubrics, how to use the the Internet in the classroom for various hardware configurations, and specific examples and vignettes using Internet resources from Science Guides.
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December 2003-- The Smithsonian's digital version of Jacques Besson's "Theater of Instruments and Machines."
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December 2003-- A brilliant web philanthropy option for those who may already have plenty of gloves, scarves, perfume, potpourri, and scented candles.
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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