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

The Whiteboard Report
May 2001, Issue #6



Clifford Lynch on 'Authenticity and Integrity of Digital Information'
May 2001--We all know what a book is; or a plant; or a piece of cheese,right? On April 23 Clifford Lynch, director of the Coalition for Networked Information, questioned our basic understanding of the physical world in a lecture he gave in Herbert Van de Sompel's CS class at Cornell. Lynch was broadcasting from a Kinko's in Emoryville, CA at the time commenting that, 'You pick it up where you can' in reference to video technology. He suggested that our basic assumptions about the validity of objects in the physical world may be called into question as we attempt to define digital authentication parameters for describing objects as they are transferred to, or created in digital form. 'The digital world is held to a higher standard. Who has ever had to authenticate that a newspaper is in fact a newspaper' Lynch asked. While warning against 'bag of bits' definitions he presented the concept of 'canonicalization.' That is, determining what the essential elements of objects or documents are for particular purposes. He pointed out that we currently lack semantics for describing the canonical. More on authenticity and integrity issues at:;, and ;

'SITE for Science' at Cornell University Library Academic Assembly
May 2001--The Cornell University Library Academic Assembly and the National Science Digital Library Project at Cornell will present a discussion and demonstration of their NSDL prototype-in-progress 'Site for Science' for CUL librarians and staff on Wednesday, May 16 from 9:00-10:30 in Rm. 700 Clark Hall. Refreshments will be served after the program. Since last fall, the Cornell University Library (represented by John Saylor and Diane Hillmann) and the Computer Science Department have been collaborating on the NSF-funded National Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education Program to create a prototype for the National Science Digital Library. First year findings including a look at challenges in managing sustainable collections for a large public aggregation of interoperating digital resources, and scaleability issues around establishing a production system will be discussed. Speakers will be: William Y. Arms, 'What is the NSDL and what are we doing'; John Saylor, 'Collecting the collections'; Diane Hillmann, 'Representing the collections and contents'; Richard Marisa 'Technology issues'; and Carol Terrizzi, 'Presenting the 'Site for Science' to users.'

Jane Greenburg on Web Access
May 2001--Jane Greenberg, assistant professor in the School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, presented "A Comparison of Web Resource Access Experiments: Planning for the New Millennium" at the Library of Congress Bicentennial conference on Bibliographic Control for the New Millenium in November 2000. She compared five leading Web access research projects (DESIRE, BIBLINK, ROADS, Nordic Metadata, and OCLC CORC) to identify characteristics of success and considerations for improvement for such experiments. Greenberg found that characteristics of a successful organizational structure included clear project goals, well-defined administrative structures, and adequate funding. Beta Release
May 2001--SMETE.ORG is an e-learning partnership based at UC Berkeley offering a comprehensive collection of science, math, engineering and technology (SMET) education content and services to learners, educators, and academic policy-makers. is also a core integration system collaborator for the National, Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education Program and recently released a beta version of its web portal. Discover new tools to enable users to search for and discover learning resources and environments that will help them accomplish learning goals whether they are teachers, students or professionals.



D-Lib Magazine
May 2001--'Preserving the Authenticity of Contingent Digital Objects' by Anne L. Gilliland-Swetland and Philip B. Eppard, July-August 2000.

The HP Librarian
May 2001--Eugenie Prime, who manages Hewlett Packard Labs Research Library, is working to create a standard for labeling and cataloging information online -- including all 2.7 billion web pages.

Metadata Workshop
May 2001--PowerPoint presentations for the Workshop 'Metadata, Online Education and the CanCore Protocol' (reported in last month's Whiteboard Report) are available on the web. Of particular interest for those keeping an eye on the world of metadata is the presentation by Sue Fisher of the Electronic Text Centre at the University of New Brunswick, entitled 'IMS and CanCore: Metadata for the Online Education Sector.' CanCore is using the IMS metadata standard, but has carefully reviewed the element set and made recommendations for use by the Canadian educational sector. They are in the process of writing a set of guidelines for this subset.


'The Semantic Web'
May 2001--'A new form of Web content that is meaningful to computers will unleash a revolution of new possibilities' by Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler and Ora Lassila, Scientific American, May 2001.
Related Link:

Interactive Intelligence Agents
May 2001--1% of people might click on something that says 'fill out user profile' versus 60% of people who would agree to have an online conversation with a talking dog. Meet some 'interactive intelligent agents' at Extempo Systems Inc.

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