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

The Whiteboard Report
March 2004, Issue #49



NSDL Now Featured in Yahoo Directory
March 2004 -- NSDL resources are now featured in the Yahoo Directory at

Since NSDL resources were indexed in Yahoo on 2_28_04, those resources have been "clicked on" 2,668,444 times. Users went to live urls 63,014 times. Average successful urls: 30,336. Average clicks per url: 2.9321.
Read NSF's news tip about the Yahoo! announcement at
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NSDL Assembly Approves Slate of Candidates
March 2004 -- The NSDL Assembly has overwhelmingly approved Rachael Bower, Lillian Cassel, and Steve Weimar as a slate of candidates to serve on the NSDL Policy Committee. If elected the candidates will become three-year members of the Policy Committee, joining: Howard Burrows (Chair), Katherine Hanson (Vice Chair), Edward A. Fox, Yolanda George, Gerry Hanley, Ellen Hoffman, Bill Mischo, Jeanne Narum, Len Simutis, and VivianLee Ward. Information on present members can be found at . Dave Fulker , Executive Director, NSDL Core Integration, has called for an election. Brief introductions to the candidates follow.

* Rachael Bower is Co-Director of the Internet Scout Project (within the Computer Science Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison) and an Associate Researcher (Academic Staff). The following is based on material she provided the Nominating Committee:

"Combined readership of the (Scout) reports is estimated at about 350,000 readers per week."

The Internet Scout Project is one of the oldest digital library services around, having begun in 1994 with the Scout Report. The Scout Report is a weekly resource-discovery service that outlines 20 new or newly discovered resources from the humanities, social sciences and the sciences. Combined readership of the reports is estimated at about 350,000 readers per week. The intended audience for the reports is the library and education communities although readership surveys indicate that readership is fairly diverse. The Scout Portal Toolkit (SPT) was funded by the Mellon Foundation in 2000 and its successor the Collection Workflow Integration System (CWIS) was funded by NSF in 2002. Both are open source near turnkey packages to allow those with little technical support to download, set up and populate an online subject portal with metadata.

Scout received its first funding from NSF for an NSDL services grant in 2001. This initial grant supported the creation of the three NSDL Scout Reports - Life Sciences; Physical Sciences; and Math, Engineering and Technology. Scout received funding to continue and expand the three reports in 2003. Scout has also received a service grant (in conjunction with WGBH's National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) to help all of NSDL be more accessible to those with disabilities. The project, Access NSDL, received funding in 2001. In 2002 Scout applied for and received funding for CWIS, mentioned above, which leveraged off work done on SPT to help new NSDL collections get online quickly and integrate their resources into the NSDL metadata repository. Many of our funded projects imply interaction with the CI, and both the NSDL reports and CWIS have been well received by the NSDL community as a whole.

I serve as Co-Chair of the Sustainability Standing Committee, have been attending the NSDL all projects' meetings for three years, and have attended two invitational meetings related to sustainability - a publishers meeting and a business models meeting - in the last two years.

* Lillian Cassel is Professor of Computer Science at Villanova University. The following is based on material she provided the Nominating Committee:

"I am interested in DLs as a field of study and as a vehicle for improvements in education at all levels. "
I was a program officer in DUE at NSF when the NSDL was in planning stages. I am very familiar with its history and its changing vision. I am enthusiastic about its potential and happy to promote it in any way I can. While my background has been primarily in networking, my interest has always been in the use of networks to allow distributed applications. Over the last several years, I have focused more specifically on Web Based information retrieval and have made IR and digital libraries my chief interest recently. I am co-PI on the CITIDEL project . I think you will find that one of the most ambitious collection efforts, currently presenting nearly half a million items to users. In addition to building the collection, we have considered ways that we can serve the user's needs. The collection can be browsed by any of several primary classification schemes known and used in the computing field. In particular, we have the materials indexed and organized by the knowledge units used in the most recent curriculum recommendations. (This is an ongoing task and remains an active project.)

* Steve Weimar is Director of The Math Forum . The following is based on material he provided the Nominating Committee:

"I believe the Internet can help students learn and teachers develop their teaching through communities in which people support each other by sharing ideas, solving problems together, and collaborating on projects."

I have been focused on the development of online learning communities for both students and teachers since 1992. We are currently involved in several NSDL projects including MathTools, a community digital library focused on the use of mathematics software in education, and Virtual Math Teams, investigating collaborative problem-solving in the context of an online problem library and mentoring services. The Math Forum is very interested in collaboration within NSDL and has supported two workshops for the community, one to consider the possibility of a collaborative research "facility" and the other to develop our collective knowledge and research agenda concerning participant involvement in digital libraries. I think that at this point in its development NSDL faces critical challenges concerning effective usage in education and sustaining successful programs. I bring experience leading the formation and development of education organizations, along with involvement on NSDL's Sustainability Committee, that may be useful in helping NSDL form an identity and functions that support collaborations that build on the strengths of individual projects and help users develop affinity with NSDL and professional or educational benefit from their activity across our collections and services.
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U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Rod Paige "Asks NSDL" at NSF's ESTME Week
March 2004 -- Can anyone "Ask NSDL?" On a March 16 tour of NSF's ESTME Week exhibits held in conjunction with the Summit on Science, Secretary Paige discovered just how easy it was to ask a question and receive an answer from among NSDL's 270+ science experts. He stopped by the NSDL exhibit highlighting NSDL's question and answer service at and commented on the value of any student being able to ask a science question online. NSDL experts answered his question in twenty minutes.

The NSDL would like to acknowledge the generosity and commitment of our registered science experts for sharing their enthusiasm, expertise, and knowledge with students, teachers, parents, and the generally curious everywhere. Our expert partners who are making discovery happen online with Ask NSDL include scientists, researchers, teachers, and volunteers from private industry.
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Congressman Bohlert: A Perspective on Communication and Outreach "Missionary Work"
March 2004 -- House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) was the keynote speaker recently at a workshop for the future National Synchrotron Light Source at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Boehlert's remarks at this workshop, as they are at hearings, were to the point, and concerned a constant problem in Washington: money. This year that problem is greater than it has been in a long time, so Boehlert's words are particularly important. Selections follow:

"It's far too early in the Congressional budget season to guess what final funding for the Office of Science will be, but it's safe to say that it's not going to reach $4.2 billion - not in a year when the President has proposed increasing all non-security discretionary spending by just half a percent, and Congress is moving to cut that number down to zero.
"So the message I want to leave you with today is that all of us - all of us - need to do a lot of missionary work. . .
"Now let me give you some hints on how to go about doing the missionary work that is required. First, don't start by assuming that folks in Washington are out to get scientists. Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, in the proposed fiscal 2005 budget, science agencies are slated to receive some of the largest increases - less than I'd prefer, but more than other agencies.
"Just about everyone on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue would like to do as much as possible for science - especially for the physical sciences, which have been going through a period of relative neglect as funding for biomedical research has skyrocketed in recent years. So don't start by assuming that Washington's goal is to harm or ignore science.
"Here's another approach not to take. Don't tell Members of Congress that you're different because you're not looking to help yourselves in the short-run; you're looking for money that is a long-term investment for the entire nation.
"Sure, science funding is just that sort of investment. But so are education and road building and defense spending and human space flight; the list of possible investments goes on and on.
"And guess what? Congress is not besieged by groups asking for money that they describe as necessary to help their own narrow interests in the short run. The argument that science funding is a long-term national investment does nothing to set scientists apart. All that sets you apart is that scientists are the only group that thinks they're making a unique argument.

"The future of science funding will depend on many things beyond your control - the macroeconomic situation, the nature of competing needs, etc. But it will also depend on how actively you can make people like me understand why what you're about is important to our nation. I look forward to working with you as you do that."--The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News Number 32: March 15, 2004
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NSDL at Webwise 2004: Sharing Digital Resources
March 2004 -- Web-Wise was held in Chicago March 3-5. Read John Saylor's (Director of Collection Development) report from the meeting at:
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NSDL at NSF Research Centers Educators Network (NRCEN) Meeting
March 2004 -- "Engaging the Education Community: Extending Center Education Programs Through Partnerships" was the theme for NRCEN's Annual Meeting held in Gainesville, FL. Education and human resource professionals within NSF science research centers, including Engineering Research Centers (ERC's), Science and Technology Centers (STC's), Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSEC's), Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centers (NSEC's), and Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (EOT-PACI) have organized as the NSF Research Centers Educators Network (NRCEN). The core goals that guide NRCEN are to:
-Facilitate Productive exchanges within NRCEN and between NRCEN and NSF
-Identify and Disseminate Innovative Models
-Identify Priority Issues Specific to Centers
-Determine Mechanisms or Strategies NRCEN can employ to enhance Centers' Efforts

Sharing the process, benefits, and results of scientific discovery with multiple communities of citizen stakeholders is at the heart of STC Education and Outreach programs. About 60 coordinators of EO programs for single and multiple centers attended the meeting. Since a strong EO component is a funding requirement for centers, some universities, like the California Institute of Technology, support EO offices charged with creating, coordinating, and evaluating programs for multiple centers. Jill Andrews, Assistant to the Provost for Educational Outreach at Caltech, uses innovative methodology to develop and sustain Caltech centers with EO programming.

In the panel presentation "How to Impact K12 Education Through Partnerships" Carol Terrizzi, NSDL Communications Director introduced the NSDL, talked about NSDL education initiatives, and suggested ways that research centers might build partnerships with the NSDL emphasizing that NSDL is interested in adding digital resources from their centers to the library, as well as having their input and expertise on emerging NSDL Outreach and Communications initiatives.
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NSDL Annual Meeting Planning
March 2004 -- The Annual Meeting Planning Committee will meet in Boulder, Colorado on March 20-21 to discuss the upcoming 2004 NSDL Annual Meeting. This year the meeting will be held November 14-17, 2004 at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois. Program details and registration information will be available soon.
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Upcoming Conference Paper and Registration Deadlines
March 2004 -- Sixth National Russian Research Conference on Digital Libraries (RCDL) 2004
September 29-October 1, 2004, Pushchino, Russia
Extended abstracts submissions: March 25, 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

2004 International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications
October 11-14,2004, Shanghai, China
Paper submission: May 1, 2004
Acceptance notification: June 1 2004

MLEARN 2004, "Learning Anytime Everywhere"
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Subscribe to NSDL Focus on Education
March 2004 -- This monthly e-publication features NSDL news and announcements, use cases and tips from actual educators, Resources of Interest and an AskNSDL question of the month, and a list of education-related conference at which NSDL and its partner projects will be represented. Members of the NSDL community and other readers are encouraged to provide suggestions and feedback, as well as to submit articles and announcements of interest to those using digital libraries in education. To subscribe to NSDL Focus on Education send email to Send your project news, announcements, instructional tips, and outreach information to Susan Van Gundy ( or Carol Terrizzi (
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Bayer Facts of Science Education
March 2004 --
The Bayer Facts of Science Education Surveys are part of the "Making Science Make Sense" literacy campaign sponsored by the Bayer Corporation. Key survey findings at-a-glance are available on the above web site.
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March 2004 --
The University of Texas at Austin has created UTOPIA for all Texas educators. Utopia provides easy access to an array of K-12 lesson plans and student activities from The University of Texas at Austin.
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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