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

The Whiteboard Report
October 2004, Issue #62



Learn NSDL Magazine: A Living Science Magazine for Educators
October 2004 -- NSDL has evolved, as Len Simutis, Executive Director, Eisenhower National Clearinghouse, said in a recent presentation, from being separate projects to being an institution. The institution will have significant responsibility for the welfare and support of teaching and learning, and for how people all over the world accomplish the mysterious goal of knowing things.The prototype for Learn NSDL magazine will launch at the NSDL Annual Meeting to find out whether the NSDL community agrees that the moment has arrived when its energies, activities, and ideas demand a voice.

Several months ago, Carol Minton Morris, Elly Cramer, and Bill Arms drafted a proposal called "The Magazine Metaphor Expanded: A Community-Based Online NSDL Exhibits Magazine System and Editorial Process for Development, Aggregation, Evaluation, Syndication, and Distribution of NSDL News, Information, and Resources." Despite its elephantine title, that draft contained several good recommendations, and Learn NSDL is one of them.

Brad Edmondson, former Editor-In-Chief of American Demographics magazine and co-founder of, was drafted to edit the prototype edition. Brad proposed a quarterly format and some ideas for both individual stories and continuing departments. Brad agreed to take on this project and create a prototype, to see what the NSDL community thinks.

The vision is for Learn NSDL is that it will be a living science magazine for educators with dynamic links into library resources as a good way to reach the larger communities of science, technology, engineering, and math education. Marty Blume, editor-in-chief of the American Physical Society, has written that electronic publishing is, "an experimental art." Your opinions on this particular experiment will be welcome. Stay tuned.
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NSDL Annual Meeting November 14-17, 2004, Chicago, IL
October 2004 -- The final schedule for the rich array of sessions for this year's meeting has been posted to the meeting website at under the Advance Program tab. If you are presenting please confirm that your most current session title, abstract, and list of presenters is accurately displayed and report any required changes as soon as possible to Susan Van Gundy (

This dynamic event is traditionally sparked by lively formal and informal exchanges over a three-day period. Details can be found at the NSDL Annual Meeting Web site: Be sure to plan for submitting a poster for the NSDL Annual Meeting by October 22.
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Upcoming Conference Dates
ACST 2004: The IASTED International Conference on Advances in Computer Science and Technology
November 22-24, 2004

Technology + Leadership + Learning Conference
October 27-29, 2004, Denver, CO
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Are You Using SDLIP to Access the NSDL Search Service?
October 2004 -- Core Integration staff are working to migrate the NSDL Search Service by implementing a more vanilla version of Lucene and replacing some remnants of the original InQuery system. This work will be completed in the January 2005 timeframe. As part of this work, CI will be replacing the current SDLIP search interface with a REST interface. Please contact Susan Jesuroga if you are currently calling the NSDL search service directly using SDLIP, so she can keep you up-to-date on the REST interface work.
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Upcoming NSDL Community-Wide Decisions
October 2004 -- The Policy Committee is posting four policy documents for discussion at One proposes an amendment to the current Metadata Policy describing Authorized Service Providers who would have access to full metadata records. In addition, guidelines for Standing Committees and for NSDL Collection Development are proposed. Finally, a modification to the NSDL Working Structure to decrease the number of members on the Policy Committee from eleven to nine is suggested. This would mean that each year three members of the Policy Committee would complete terms of office and three new ones would be selected to replace them. These documents are being made available to encourage open community-wide discussion for the next month. Results and decisions will be reported at the NSDL Annual Meeting in Chicago:
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Call for Topics and Issues of Interest for Biology Digital Libraries SIG at NSDL Annual Meeting
October 2004 -- The AAAS's BiosciEdNet (BEN) is hosting a Special Interest Group (SIG) at the upcoming NSDL meeting specifically to provide a venue for biology digital libraries to discuss common goals, challenges, and successes. BEN is soliciting topics and issues of interest for discussion at the SIG from projects developing digital libraries with biological science content. Examples include 1) building and supporting a diverse contributor/user base, 2) evaluating the use and impact of DL's in biology education, and 3) technical and policy challenges of building digital access to biology teaching resources. Send suggestions to Susan Musante, or 202-628-1500 x249, by November 5th, 2004.
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How Will NSDL Be Sustained Into the Future?
October 2004 -- The Sustainability Standing Committee will present a workshop and panel discussion at the NSDL Annual Meeting: The workshop is designed to capture the insights of participants who are interested in developing and implementing long-term sustainability strategies for the NSDL ( The workshop format will involve a group discussion followed by four break-out sessions (Project, User-Community, Program and Technical Sustainability) and a concluding group synthesis. Each group will produce no more than three concrete recommendations or general strategies that may be directed to the Policy Committee, Core Integration, other standing committees, projects or the National Science Foundation.

The Sustainability Scenario Workshop is a panel-audience discussion that will be led by participants from the BioSciEdNet project, the Sustainability Standing Committee, the Policy Committee, and Core Integration to evaluate implications and processes for two possible sustainability scenarios: (1) large computer company partnership with the NSDL; and (2) e-commerce access to the collections or services of an individual project. Selected members of the panel will address each of these issues in brief initial presentations after which there will be discussion of each scenario. General discussion will follow.
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Volcano Cam
The U.S. Forest Service has installed a Volcano Cam that automatically updates an image of what's going on approximately every five minutes. Volcano Cam is located at the Johnston Ridge Observatory at an elevation of approximately 4,500 feet, about five miles from the volcano.
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Spooky Science
NSDL Scout Reports invite educators to contemplate the many science lessons wrapped up in this popular holiday.
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Who Brought the Candy Corn?
In this middle school problem of the week from the Math Forum students and teachers present answers to this burning seasonal question.
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October 2004 -- ThinkQuest is an international website-building competition, sponsored by the Oracle Education Foundation. Teams of students and teachers are challenged to build websites on educational topics. These websites are published in the ThinkQuest Library and top-scoring teams win prizes.
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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