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

The Whiteboard Report
December 2005, Issue #86



NSDL Pathway Shodor Featured at "NSDL at NSF" Luncheon Lecture Series
NSDL Director Kaye Howe has said that while "STEM content is no longer scarce," the economic future of the nation is dependent on finding new ways to leverage that content to help citizens take advantage of STEM work force opportunities. The NSDL at NSF Luncheon Lecture Series at NSF showcases NSDL's role in developing core national educational infrastructure that leverages a wealth of STEM educational resources to expand learning opportunities.

On Dec. 7 Bob Panoff, President and Executive Director of the Shodor Education Foundation, kicked off the lecture series for about 40 NSF representatives from EHR divisions and other NSF directorates including CISE, ENG, MPS, and SBE. Shodor has a decade-long history of leadership in developing national educational infrastructure. Panoff offered NSF diners specially designed Shodor placemats illustrating how Shodor's projects fit together over the underlying NSDL infrastructure as he told the story behind why Shodor was founded. He and colleagues from NCSA sought to support systemic professional development for faculty by helping them use high performance computing capabilities and interactive visualization capacity to teach computational science. Hand-in-hand was their belief that students should have opportunities to use high-end computing tools directly rather than having to rely on solving simulated problem or using simulations of tools.

Panoff described some of Shodor's projects, many of which are supported by various NSF programs. Examples include Shodor's work with the deaf community on introducing gestures within American Sign Language to help convey computational science concepts to the hearing impaired; establishing middle school through post-secondary student internships and mentoring programs that give students a chance to work on computational science projects, and; fostering a decade-long faculty development network that puts computational science tools and functionality in the hands of teachers.

Shodor activities are concentrated during the summer while others are scheduled after school or on weekends throughout the academic year. Workshops stress Working and Shopping. Participants in Working workshops design, create, and refine course and curriculum materials to use in their college classrooms. Shopping participants with less experience find out more about what's available and what's possible. Repeat Shodor workshop attendees eventually may take on mentorship or workshop leader roles.

Panoff included demonstrations of the visualization and computational applications that have been developed by Shodor. He noted NSDL's central role in enabling Shodor's activities to maintain coherence by facilitating the exchange of content among Shodor projects and enabling reuse.

The next "NSDL at NSF" Luncheon Lecture is scheduled for Jan. 25 at 1:00 p.m. at the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C. Liz Liddy and Anne Diekema, Syracuse University, will present background on The Center for Natural Language Processing (CNLP) and practical uses of natural language processing. They will also introduce the Web-based Version of the Content Assignment Tool (CAT) for Assigning Standards to Educational Resources.
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The FunWorks featured in Cisco Public Awareness Campaign
On November 7, 2005, Cisco Systems, Inc. and The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) launched a campaign to increase awareness about education and career opportunities for girls and women in math, computing and technology. Also partnering on the initiative is Education Development Center Inc., creators of The FunWorks--NSDL's only career exploration collection developed specifically for and by middle school-aged youth. Other partners in the campaign include the Information Technology Association of America and the Stanford University Office of Science Outreach and Junior Achievement. The campaign is designed to address the declining interest of girls and women in information technology careers. The campaign kicks off with a letter targeting parents, educators, and girls and introduces a comprehensive digital library with a variety of resources for encouraging interest in math, computing and technology, including information about careers, local technology clubs, programs, curricula and summer camps. The campaign website features the FunWorks as a premiere resource for youth, parents and educators. For more information about the campaign, go to: For more information about the FunWorks go to, or contact project director Sarita Nair-Pillai at
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NSDL/DLESE Online Workshops Provide Support for Teachers in Hurricane-Affected Areas
This month, NSDL launched a series of online professional development workshops for K-12 teachers and college/university faculty. The inaugural workshop was offered in partnership with the Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE) and focused on opportunities for K-12 teachers affected by this year's hurricane disasters to learn more about the high quality online resources available within the digital libraries. Online resources, such as those offered by NSDL and DLESE, present one solution to the scarcity of textbooks and other basic teaching materials in affected communities. "I am so excited about using these resources for myself and especially for my students. I am very grateful for this opportunity," commented one Louisiana teacher who participated in the workshop.

NSDL and DLESE conducted two free online workshops for K-12 science and math teachers in hurricane-impacted schools and those teaching hurricane-displaced students. Through the use of web and phone conferencing, Susan Van Gundy and Robert Payo of NSDL and Lynne Davis of DLESE provided an overview of the nature of digital libraries and strategies for implementing these resources in classroom teaching and curriculum development. The sessions featured live interaction between presenters and participants, although an archive of the workshop will be made available at for those unable to attend the real-time event. "It was awesome. We cannot wait to explore both the NSDL and DLESE sites," stated Cathy Williamson, science coordinator for the SciPort Museum in Shreveport, Lousiana. Ms. Williamson will incorporate these resources into professional development programs for K-12 teachers that she conducts through SciPort.

The NSDL online seminar series will continue throughout 2006 on a monthly basis and will feature material directed to specific audiences and subject matter in math and science teaching, with content provided by NSDL projects and other partners. A schedule will be available in January.

For more information, contact Susan Van Gundy, NSDL Director of Outreach and Education at
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Introducing the NSDL Collection Development Advisory Council (NCDA)
The first NSDL Collection Development Advisory Council meeting took place as a conference call on Wednesday December 7, 2005. The board members and the library associations they represent are:

AASL (American Association of School Librarians)
-Della Curtis, Coordinator
Office of Library Information Services
Baltimore County Public Schools

USAIN (United States Agricultural Information Network)
-Luti Salisbury
Librarian/University Professor
Agriculture, Food and Life Sciences Subject Specialist
University of Arkansas Libraries

ASEE-ELD (American Society for Engineering Education- Engineering Libraries Division)
-Mike Culbertson
Engineering Librarian
Colorado State University Libraries

SLA-Chem (Special Libraries Association- Chemistry Division)
-A. Ben Wagner
Sciences Librarian
University at Buffalo
The State University of New York

ACRL-STS (Science and Technology Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL))
-Julia Gelfand
Applied Sciences & Engineering Librarian
The UC Irvine Libraries

After introductions, John Saylor, NSDL Director of Collection Development, described the term (2 years), and the council's role in representing their respective library associations to advise NSDL on all issues relating to building and maintaining the overall NSDL collection of STEM resources.

NSDL's mission and the roles that NSF, Core Integration, and the funded projects including Pathways play in relationship to collection development were discussed. The first face-to-face NCDAC meeting will take place at the ALA Midwinter meeting on January 20, 2006 in San Antonio, TX.
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Help Plan the NSDL 2006 Annual Meeting--Planning Committee Seeks At-Large Representative
The Planning Committee for the NSDL Annual Meeting is comprised of representatives from each of the NSDL standing committees plus an At-Large representative, in addition to Core Integration staff. The At-Large position for the 2006 meeting is currently vacant. All members of the NSDL community are eligible to serve in this position regardless of project type, funding status, or role within a project. The commitment to participate on the planning committee includes weekly hour-long teleconferences, a 2-3 day face to face meeting in February or March, and activities at the annual meeting. Please contact Susan Van Gundy ( or 303-818-4742) if you are interested in serving, or for further details. Committee meetings will resume in January.
Related Link: Feature Watch
Based on Annual Meeting Feedback the NSDL Community pages at have been updated to give users fast access to important community information and documents. The section leads with community-contributed news--don't miss the 2005 Annual Meeting Closing Haiku contributed by Lee Zia. The top page also calls attention to "Outreach and Communication," "Technical," "Governance," and "Pathways and Projects" sections. Please send comments and questions to Karen Henry at
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What do Wikis and Blogs Mean for Scientific Communication?
The News Feature Section of the December issue of Nature is about what wikis, blogs and other technologies mean for the future of scientific communication beyond the confines of scientific journals featuring articles about:
--The expanding electronic universe
--The willingness of scientists to use the new communication technologies
--The real death of print
--Search engines
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International Data Conference "CODATA '06"
CODATA, the Committee on Data for Science and Technology, is an interdisciplinary Scientific Committee of the International Council for Science (ICSU). It Sponsors a Biennial CODATA International Conference on data.

In October 2006, the 20th International CODATA Conference will be held in Beijing, China. As the international and local organizers, CODATA and its Chinese National Committee welcome the participation of data specialists and organizations from around the world. Deadline for paper submissions is March 31, 2006.
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World Digital Library Planned
The "Envisioning a collection that will bridge cultures the Library of Congress is launched a campaign on Nov. 22, 2005 to create the World Digital Library, an online collection of rare books, manuscripts, maps, posters, stamps and other materials from its holdings and those of other national libraries that would be freely accessible for viewing by anyone, anywhere with Internet access.
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San Diego Supercomputer Center Announces "Data Central"
Interdisciplinary collaborations and community-shared data are becoming increasingly important to the progress of science. To support these endeavors, San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), a National Science Foundation center, has launched Data Central the first program of its kind to make available significant research and community data collections and databases.
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Gifts for Academic "Hard-to-buys"
Two librarians from the Buffalo, NY area update this list twice a year: Christmas and commencement. Suggestions include donations to charities and projects in lieu of gifts as well as a "treasure chest of science-oriented T-shirts with categories for geology, dinosaurs, chemistry, biology, computer-geekology..."
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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