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

The Whiteboard Report
January 2004, Issue #44



NSDL at The American Library Association Meeting
January 2004--Going to ALA? Be sure and stop by the NSDL booth (1421) at ALA in San Diego this weekend featuring NSDL bookmarks with the NSDL Machine Access Readable Cataloging Record (MARC) on the back encouraging librarians to add NSDL to their libraries. See the Library of Congress web site "Understanding MARC" ( for more information.
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Message form Policy Committee (PC) Chair Howard Burrows: PC Seeking Nominations
January 2004--Two years ago, the NSDL Assembly of projects elected ten Policy Committee (PC) members to serve for three years. The PC defined a set of Standing Committees and an initial set of policies that would enable the Assembly of projects to work together as one body during the first year. The Assembly elected three new members to the Policy Committee in year two. Additionally members of the Assembly participated in five Standing Committees organizing several workshops and last fall's NSDL Annual Meeting.

The Policy Committee, according to the current NSDL Working Structure document, "advises the CI team, other NSF-NSDL grantees, and the NSF on operational strategies, policies and implementation priorities related to the NSDL. Among these policies are those that define the NSDL community."

Please consider nominating people for the Policy Committee. Send names and supporting information to a current Policy Committee member, or Standing Committee Chair, or respond to upcoming requests from the Nominating Committee. Contact information may be found at > About > Contacts. From your list of suggestions, the Nominating Committee will select three nominees and propose them as a slate for confirmation by the Assembly. Contact Howard Burrows, Chair NSDL Policy Committee ( with questions.
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NSDL at Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) Federation Meeting
January 2004--NSDL participated in ESIP Federation's 12th Annual Meeting held in Orlando Jan. 5-7, 2004. ESIP brings together government agencies, universities, non-profit organizations, and businesses in an effort to make Earth Science information available to a broader community.

Raising broad awareness about the National Science Digital Library, the audiences it serves, and what services are available through NSDL were discussed in a panel discussion and workshop with representatives from the Digital Library for Earth Science Education (DLESE) and GLOBE. Presentations focused around ideas for how ESIP members could benefit from collaborating with NSDL, DLESE, and GLOBE and where they might contribute.
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Digital Library Federation (DLF) Releases Survey of Digital Library Aggregation Services
January 2004--This report by Martha Brogan commissioned by the DLF, provides an overview of a diverse set of more than thirty digital library aggregation services, organizes them into functional clusters, and then evaluates them more fully from the perspective of an informed user. Most of the services under review rely wholly or partially on the Protocol for Metadata Harvesting of the Open Archives Initiative (OAI-PMH). Each service is annotated with its organizational affiliation, subject coverage, function, audience, status, and size. Critical issues surrounding each of these elements are presented in order to provide the reader with an appreciation of the nuances inherent in seemingly straightforward factual information, such as "audience" or "size."

The report can be accessed at:

If you print it out, the pdf version is highly preferable. It's located at:

Finally, Table 1 has a brief summary and overview of the major sites discussed in the report:
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"Ask a Scientist or Engineer" During ESTME Week
January 2004--"Why do we have eyelashes?"
"How do airplanes fly?"
"Where do bugs go in the winter?"
"How does a cell phone work?"

These are just a few of the thousands of questions children, parents, teachers, and others can ask of scientists or engineers on the National Science Digital Library web site during Excellence in Science, Technology and Mathematics Education Week, March 15-20, 2004 at The Syracuse Information Institute's Ask NSDL service at will facilitate communication and inquiry at NSF's annual event.
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NSDL Core Integration Announces a Two Year Subcontract with INFOMINE/Ivia
January 2004--As part of a two year sub-contract that starts mid-January 2004, the INFOMINE/Ivia project will provide an augmented iVia open source software package for NSDL Core Integration (CI) that will do focused crawls of Web resources and provide metadata for these resources (iVia article in D-Lib Magazine: In this process, iVia crawling and metadata generation capabilities will be improved and the entire system will be customized for NSDL purposes and operations. An NSDL iVia will be the main deliverable of this project. This software package will be delivered to NSDL Core Integration for use on NSDL servers. Programming and development as well as some research will be undertaken.

The INFOMINE/Ivia Project Director is Steve Mitchell (909-787-6454, NSDL CI leaders of this sub-contract are Diane I. Hillmann (607-255-5691 and John M. Saylor (607-255-4134 Please contact any member of this team for more information.
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NSDL Partners with Eisenhower National Clearinghouse to Develop Middle School Portal
January 2004--NSDL Executive Director, Dave Fulker, has announced that the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse (ENC) at Ohio State University will be NSDL's lead partner in the development of an online portal to serve middle school science, technology, and mathematics educators. The middle school portal will be the first of many alternate points of access to NSDL resources and services designed for the specific needs of a more narrowly defined audience. This approach supports a "One Library, Many Portals" philosophy that draws on the strengths of different groups within the NSDL community to better serve the wide range of NSDL users via audience-specific options that complement general access available at

With more than 35,000 middle school educators as current subscribers to ENC publications, the Clearinghouse brings to the project substantial knowledge of the unique challenges and opportunities facing science and math teachers in the middle grades, as well as an international reputation as a trusted provider of curricular and pedagogic resources. NSDL's middle school portal will further benefit from ENC's experiences during more than a decade of building digital library collections and infrastructure including a 23,000 item repository and involvement in five different NSDL collections. ENC's collaborative efforts on NSDL projects including The Learning Matrix, the Federal Education Digital Resources Library, the Gender and Science Digital Library (with the Educational Development Center), ICON- the Innovation Curriculum Online Network (with the International Technology Education Association), and the Ethnomathematics Digital Library (with Pacific Resources for Education and Learning) model the engagement of partners from across the NSDL community that will be necessary for the middle school portal's success.

ENC's contribution will focus on assembling relevant extant resources from among all NSDL collections. These resources will include materials that may not have middle school as a primary audience, yet are valuable for teachers seeking to augment their content knowledge, familiarity with current research, and instructional methods. Metadata for selected resources will be enhanced as necessary to support discovery of properties such as grade level or content standard. An operational website will be completed by fall 2004 and will integrate existing NSDL infrastructure such as access to the NSDL Metadata Repository, AskNSDL services, and connections to Exhibits and Resources of Interest. In addition to technical outcomes, NSDL's partnership with ENC aims to cooperatively promote NSDL and the middle school portal with targeted groups of users, developers, and supporters.

For more information about NSDL's plans for 2004, see "NSDL - Core Integration Middle School Area of Emphasis" at > Community > Community Highlights, or contact Susan Jesuroga (303-497-2942 with questions.
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January 2004--Schematron is a language for making assertions about patterns in XML documents.
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Spinning Yarns Around the Digital Fire: Storytelling and Dialogue Among Youth on the Internet
January 2004--Storytelling and dialogue is a part of every child's life. From bedtime chronicles exploring the misadventures of fantastical creatures to the beginning mumblings of a toddler trying to explain her day, storytelling introduces children to the initial stages of communication and literacy, as well creating a bridge between the physical world and an imaginative one.--David Huffaker, First Monday, Vol. 9 No. 1, January 5, 2004
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Cornell Library Releases Digital Preservation Management Tutorial
January 2004--The research entrance of the National Archives has the inscription: The Past is Prologue. This applies to many contexts, including digital preservation. Digital preservation is not a new concern. A number of national archives, data archives, and other cultural institutions in many countries established digital preservation programs as early as the late 1960s. Those programs reflected the prevailing technology and digital content of that time. Each generation of technology brings changes in potential capabilities to both create and preserve digital content-and will affect a suitable institutional response.
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January 2004--"Tupperware! Building an empire, bowl by bowl," an American Experience documentary, airing Monday, February 9, 2004, examines the phenomenon of Tupperware's success and the women behind the empire.
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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