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

The Whiteboard Report
June 2005, Issue #75



NSDL, Legislative Caucuses Address U.S. Global Competitive Challenges in Science, Technology, Engine
NSDL, Legislative Caucuses Address U.S. Global Competitive Challenges in Science, Technology, Engine Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Dick Durbin (D-Il) announced the first briefing of the Senate STEM caucus on May 17. "We brought together an exceptional pair of speakers (Dr. Yannis Miaoulis, President and Director of the Boston Museum of Science, and former Dean of Tufts University School of Engineering; and Dr. Norman Lederman, Chair and Professor of Mathematics and Science Education at the Illinois Institute of Technology) who have ideas and a vision on how to make the U.S. stronger and more competitive," said Coleman who recently introduced the COMPETE Act of 2005, a piece of bipartisan legislation that addresses the very real need to expand research and development, as well as create partnerships between schools and private industry.

"With increasing demands on our economy, workforce, and national security, STEM education is more important than ever. . . A strong education in science, technology, engineering and math skills equip our students not just to hold their own, but to advance the frontiers in fields important to our economy and security."

A similar caucus was established last summer in the House by Representatives by Reps. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) and Mark Udall (D-CO). That caucus is also working to promote and improve all areas of science and math education including K-12, higher education, and workforce issues in Congress.

These caucuses will call attention to K-16 science and math education, provide much needed information to members of Congress, and eventually help to secure critical funding for science and math education. The strength and effectiveness of these STEM Caucuses - and future science and math education initiatives on Capitol Hill - will be influenced by the numbers of Representatives - and now Senators - who join the STEM Education Caucuses and work towards affecting change.

Concerns about America's declining global leadership in STEM fields and its relationship to improving STEM educational opportunities are echoed by many. Citing a study focused on graduate and postdoctoral policies, The National Academies pointed to the need for "a comprehensive effort to improve the recruitment, education, and training of a cross section of U.S. students for careers in these fields." in a May 10 press release .

"The nation has drawn increasingly on human resources abroad for its science and engineering work force, the (National Academies) report notes. In 1966, for example, 78 percent of people with doctorates in these fields nationwide were born in the United States; 23 percent were foreign-born. In 2000, those figures were 61 percent and 39 percent."

The U.S. Department of Labor projects that new jobs requiring science, engineering and technical training will increase four times faster than the national job growth rate. If present trends continue, the U.S. would need 14 million more qualified workers by 2020 than its education system currently produces.

The power of National Science Digital Library and other NSF digital libraries for education and workforce development should be leveraged in setting national priorities.

Dr. Arden L. Bement, Jr. Director, National Science Foundation, suggests that, "A capable cyberinfrastrucure will allow the knowledge generated by researchers, whether from cognition studies or astrophysics modeling, to be cataloged and indexed so that it can be searched and shared. . . research data takes myriad forms, from statistics to survey results to video clips. Imagine being able to mine that rich collection of data to unearth hidden trends or discover unforeseen relationships. While producing new knowledge, this type of data mining contributes to national priorities, like the job creation and wealth generation that underlie economic growth."("From Concept to Confluence: Framing our Cyberinfrastructure" SBE/CISE Shared Cyberinfrastructure Workshop Closing Dinner Remarks, Airlie Center Warrenton, Virginia March 16, 2005).

NSDL Projects and Pathways are creating just such an infrastructure in support of national education and workforce priorities as the computing and information layer over society and commerce continues to "wire up" at a rapid pace. NSDL is a catalyst that will enable citizens of any age to "jump the fences of learning" by integrating formal education tied to learning standards with access to NSDL through everyday activities in digital environments that stimulate inquiry and discovery.

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NSDL and DLESE To Be Showcased at the 11th Annual Coalition for National Science Funding Exhibition
NSDL and DLESE To Be Showcased at the 11th Annual Coalition for National Science Funding Exhibition The Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) is "United by a concern for the future vitality of the national science and engineering enterprise." As a participating organization of the CNSF, The University Corporation of Atmospheric Research (UCAR), is showcasing the work and resources of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL), and the Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE) as a prime examples of the National Science Foundation's research and education programs at this year's CNSF Exhibition and Reception. The display will be entitled, "The Power of NSF Digital Libraries: Education and Workforce Impacts."

Along with UCAR, approximately 50 organizations that include professional and scientific societies, higher education associations, research institutions and universities (including NSDL partners, Cornell and Columbia Universities) will provide congressional officials and staff members with an opportunity to learn more about NSF-funded projects. The exhibits will address the challenges and solutions needed to remain technologically and economically competitive in the advancement of scientific education and research in the United States. In doing so, CNSF stresses the vital importance of continued federal support through NSF funded programs in achieving this goal.

The CNSF event is scheduled for Tuesday, June 21, 2005, Washington D.C., Rayburn House Office Building.

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New Universal Resource Name Format for Federated Content Approved
New Universal Resource Name Format for Federated Content Approved A person can refer to a book by describing its location on a shelf in her living room. That spot in her home is a URL--a universal resource locator. In a conversation about that book she can also describe the book by referring to the title--a URN--universal resource name. URL or a URN are standards used to catalog, archive, and make information resources discoverable.

The Internet Engineering Steering Group recently approved a new standard Universal Resource Name (URN--a persistent identifier for information resources) format for federated content resource identity, submitted by Dave Tessman of the "Creating Educational Activity Templates" project (NSF-DUE 0435464), which is adopting the format for its own research and development efforts. This new URN format could open the use of URNs for federated resource identity to smaller content providers.

A Tech Note describing how to map a Federated Content URN to Fedora API-LITE get service available:

A Federated Content URN Definition (approved draft) is also available:

The Official IANA Registry of URN Namespaces: (see "fdc")

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NSDL Collection Development Monthly Report: May 2005
NSDL Collection Development Monthly Report: May 2005 1- Collections accepted (as of May 31)-475
2- Collections with Item Records (as of May 31)-96
3- Collections supplying OAI metadata-91
4- Number of Item Records (as of May 31)- 838,315*
5- Registered Selectors (as of May 31)-27
6- Collections with machine-generated metadata (ie: iVia augmentation, as of May 31)-9
7- Resources Recommended by General Public (during May)-1
8- Resources Selected by Selectors (during May) -27

*Total items added are not yet accounted for due to a rebuild of portions of the Metadata Repository in late May and ongoing re-harvesting. Contact John Saylor with questions.

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Alsos Digital Library and Partners Launch Nuclear Pathways Educational Resource
Alsos Digital Library and Partners Launch Nuclear Pathways Educational Resource Nuclear Pathways is a composite website that integrates its components into a comprehensive educational resource for nuclear issues. The four initial partner sites provide both content and bibliographical materials relating to a broad range of nuclear topics.

Atomic Archive (, a commercial site, provides a repository of information on aspects of the nuclear age from the physics of nuclear weapons to the history of their development. Nuclear Files (, a site sponsored by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, provides a wide range of educational materials on the science, history, and politics of the nuclear age. It also contains a section dedicated to assisting educators at all levels in teaching about nuclear issues.

The Nuclear Chemistry and the Community ( section of the ChemCases website, developed under an NSF curriculum development grant, provides a concept map and educational modules for studying nuclear energy, including nuclear weapons and power generation.

Finally, the Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues ( supports the other partner sites by providing vetted, indexed, annotations of over 1,600 references on diverse aspects of nuclear issues. Strategically placed links on these sites allow visitors to move easily among them to explore complementary materials; for example, a visitor exploring the biography of a nuclear physicist at Atomic Archive can access with one click a bibliography of recommended resources about that physicist in the Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues.

The composite website, Nuclear Pathways, provides a model for integrating websites that focus on common themes in science and technology. The lessons learned from integrating the initial partner sites will be useful in the expansion of Nuclear Pathways to include other sites that complement the content of the four original sites.

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What's Holding Back the Digital Curriculum?
What The recently released "Effective Access" study by The Gender, Diversities, and Technology Institute (GDTI) at EDC was the source for an article in eSchool News this week entitled, "Study: These Factors Retard Digital Teaching."

"Researchers found that schools still lack the appropriate infrastructure to integrate the full-scale use of digital materials into the classroom, and teachers do not receive the proper training to make full use of available classroom technologies. "Effective Access" also says most teachers don't have the time to properly research and plan the use of digital curricula." Read the article here:
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Whiteboard Report Summer Publishing Schedule
NSDL Whiteboard Report will be published on June 15, July 15, Aug. 2 and Aug. 16. Please contact Carol Minton Morris with questions at , or 607 255-2702.
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Publicity Opportunity: EDUCAUSE "Highlights"
Publicity Opportunity: EDUCAUSE "Highlights" The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) is a community of higher education institutions and organizations committed to advancing learning through IT innovation. Educause Learning Initiative features a new learning "highlight" every two weeks on their homepage . Please contact Jarret Cummings at if you would like to share a learning highlight from your project.
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Visualizing NSDL's Growth
Visualizing NSDL NSDL-At-A-Glance provides a regularly updated "see and go" look at "What's in the Library" as the collection grows and changes. Clicking a box centers it on the screen, and double-clicking a light blue box will open a new window for the selected collection. Click the question mark for answers to more of your questions about the visual view. Please be aware that pop-up blockers may prevent the new window from opening.
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New South African Search Engine
New South African Search Engine There's a new search engine available for South Africa called Funnel. It's available at and it indexes/searches only South African sites That in itself is an index of over 3 million pages.
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Map of Creativity Newsletter
Map of Creativity Newsletter The Next Generation Foundation exists to promote a "culture of creativity" by providing exceptional educators working in marginalized communities with opportunities to learn new skills, by supporting exemplary projects around the world, and by providing a platform for dialog, debate and exchange of ideas. The Map of Creativity is a user-friendly, interactive database of innovative educational projects throughout the world. The Map of Creativity Newsletter ( highlights interesting projects that can be found on the map.
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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