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

The Whiteboard Report
January 2006, Issue #88



The FunWorks and NSDL Introduced to Afterschool and Extension Educators
The FunWorks collection is being featured at the 4-H Afterschool Hours of Opportunity Conference will be hosted by Penn State in February 2006 at the Ramada Inn and Conference Center in State College, PA, Feb. 15-6. FunWorks Project Director, Sarita Nair-Pillai, will give the keynote address on Thursday February 16 about the FunWorks and NSDL's role as a career development resource in out-of-school programming. For more information about the conference or FunWorks contact Sarita Nair-Pillai at
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Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE): A Community Review System in Action
The January 2006 issue of DLib Magazine features an article about DLESE's Community Review System's Instructor's Individualized Report Service. The article entitled "The Digital Library for Earth System Education Provides Individualized Reports for Teachers on the Effectiveness of Educational Resources in their Own Classrooms" may be viewed at: Authors Kim Kastens and Neil Holzman invite anyone who is a Geoscience or Environmental Science teacher, or who teaches pre- or in-service science teachers, to participate in this service. Information and registration materials may be found at for the former, and at for the latter. Please contact Neil Holzman at for more information.
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NSDL at NSF Luncheon Lectures Scheduled
The NSDL at NSF Luncheon Lecture Series is underway. On January 25, 2006 Liz Liddy and Anne Diekema will report on work being done at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies Center for Natural Language Processing (CNLP) and demonstrate the new Content Assignment Tool (CAT).

Blogging and Publishing in the NSDL: Creating Content, Context and Annotations for STEM Resources will follow on Feb. 22. Dean Krafft and Carol Minton Morris, Core Integration at Cornell, and Blythe Bennett, Information Institute of Syracuse, will discuss the educational value of content and context for STEM resources and information by describing two new tools under development by NSDL Core Integration: On Ramp Content and Communications System and the Expert Voices Blogging Project.

More information about future NSDL at NSF project presentation topics that will include: Services, Data, Career Development, Engineering Education, and Automated Collection Building with Pathways please contact Kaye Howe (
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NSF Invites you to Take Stock in NSDL: Core Integration's Evaluation Initiative
NSDL Core Integration would like to request your assistance with the first of a short series of evaluation surveys. The survey can be accessed at:
An invitation from NSF to take part in this survey is may be viewed at:
This survey is part of NSDL Core Integration's evaluation initiative that aims to take stock of existing NSDL practices and achievements, and to generate recommendations for new NSDL tools and infrastructure. Further information is available at
Related Link: Feature Watch's homepage features an exhibit called "Homepage Highlights" currently displaying a "Resource of Interest" about the NSDL resource Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project Liberation Curriculum. The homepage exhibit changes weekly. If you would like to contribute 250 words for a "News" or "Resource of Interest" homepage highlight please contact Carol Minton Morris at 607 255-2702 or at The time frame is open-ended. Your insights will be featured prominently on's homepage to help NSDL visitors find out more about resources and underscore NSDL's role in providing valuable context for learning resources.
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WGBH Teachers' Domain to Release New Collection
On January 23 Teachers' Domain will premiere the new Earth and Space Science collection at Tune in next week to get a first look. Please contact Deb Burns [] with questions.
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NCAM at WGBH Releases the "Access for All" Standard for Learning Tools
In partnership with The George Washington University Disability Support Services NCAM invites you to participate in a hands-on demonstration and discussion of the "Access for All" Standard for online learning tools. These tools are designed to personalize and increase access to learning tools and content for everyone.

The event will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2006 at 2:00 P.M. at The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Conference Center on the campus of George Washington University at 800 21st Street NW, Washington, D.C.

"Access For All" accessibility allows higher education and K12 systems to meet the needs of each student or teacher by tailoring content and interfaces individually and locating accessible materials for each user's needs--while offering the richest possible learning experience to all. (See for more information)

The Access for All Project is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE). The standard is the product of a four-year collaboration between the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) and IMS Global Learning Consortium, an industry consortium, with participation from ISO/IEC JTC1 SC36, Dublin Core Accessibility Special Interest Group, CEN-ISSS Workshop on Learning Technologies, the University of Toronto, and IMS member companies.

Please RSVP to, or 202 263-2573.
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BEN--BioSciEdNet--Collaborative to Host New Members
An orientation and training session for new members of the BEN Collaborative will be held in Washington Feb. 1-3. The meeting will have several tracks including programmatic and technical. Participation is by invitation. For additional information please send email to
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Shodor at ITest
Shodor will discuss their IT collaborative learning experiences for at-risk youth based on computational mathematics at the ITest PI's meeting Feb. 6-8 in Washington. Shodor will also highlight the NSDL Computational Science Education Reference Desk (CSERD) as a way for ITest Projects to access NSDL Pathways Projects and resources for teaching and learning.

The ITest Learning Resource Center Project is a program established by the National Science Foundation in response to concern about shortages of technology workers in the United States. ITest projects build the skills and knowledge students and teachers need to advance their study and practice, and to contribute in a technologically rich society. There are 52 ITest projects in 24 states focused on youth-based enrichment experiences for middle and high school students as well as comprehensive projects that provide teacher professional development in IT.
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The Million Book Digital Library Project (MBP) Update
Raj Reddy, the 1994 ACM Turing Award winner and Professor of Computer Science and Robotics in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, began the Million Book Digital Library Project (MBP) in 1998 to take advantage of increases in storage densities and falling IT costs to envision a future when all the publicity available human knowledge might be available to anyone, anywhere, at anytime. The project required finding, scanning, processing and storing in a web-accessible form about 5000 books daily to equal a million books a year. MBP is attempting to understand and solve the technical, economic and social policy issues of providing online access to all creative works of the human race.

In October 2005 three Cornell University Librarians traveled to China to participate in the 1st International Conference On Universal Digital Library. One of the conference goals was to enhance the MBP. Janet McCue, Associate University Librarian, was part of a team associated with the Million Book Project (MBP) whose meeting was held in conjunction with the ICUDL conference at Zhejiang University with international partners from India, China, Egypt, and the United States. Although the MBP hopes to digitize a million books by 2007, it is also looking into research questions related to OCR for Indian and Arabic languages and scripts, automatic summarization, machine analysis of calligraphic scripts, etc. The following are excerpts from McCue's section of the report:

"Approximately 600,000 books have been scanned, predominately at scanning centers in India and China. The conference and the MBP meeting provided an opportunity not only to summarize the progress made in the digitizing effort, but also for talented programmers and librarians from around the world to describe technical achievements related to the MBP, including parsing Arabic script so that it can be OCR'd and transliteration schemes that could be used for the many different languages spoken in India. These are only a few of the intellectual challenges posed by the MBP; there are other technical, political, and cultural challenges as well-including sending books and files between China and the United States!

The scope of the digital MBP collection is very broad, but recently the team has decided to focus on agricultural materials. Cornell has been asked to coordinate this effort, and we will work with the National Agricultural Library, the FAO library, and other land-grant institutions to develop the agricultural collections in MBP."

For more information please read the "Report on the 1st International Conference on Universal Digital Library" by Karen Calhoun, Janet McCue, and Xin Li at
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What is Scientific Teaching and How Do You Do it?
"Scientific teaching involves active learning strategies to engage students in the process of science and teaching methods that have been systematically tested and shown to reach diverse students."Learn more in the full article by Jo Handelsman, Diane Ebert-May, Robert Beichner,Peter Bruns, Amy Chang, Robert DeHaan, Jim Gentile, Sarah Lauffer, James Stewart,Shirley M. Tilghman, William B. Wood in the April 23, 2004 article in AAAS Science magazine.
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Geoinformatics 2006
The Geoinformatics meeting will be held May 10-12 at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Headquarters in Reston, VA. This meeting is being hosted by USGS and NSF's Geosciences Network (GEON), and co-sponsored by the Geological Society of America and National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

This meeting will include both oral and poster sessions, selected to encourage and stimulate the exchange of current research results that bear on advancing the broad goals of Geoinformatics. The current format of Geoinformatics 2006 includes three half-day oral sessions comprised of accepted abstracts, along with a half-day session dedicated to posters and technology demonstrations. Abstracts are invited on a broad range oftopics such as advanced computation and visualization technologies, application of knowledge engineering for discovery and integration of complex databases, innovative educational methods as they relate to the development of cyberinfrastructure for the Geosciences.

Interested participants are encouraged to register promptly for the Geoinformatics 2006 meeting, as space is limited to 250 attendees. Click here for online registration and abstract submission, as well as hotel and other information.
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Nesta Futurelab: A New Learning Landscape
NESTA Futurelab is helping to transform the way people learn using new and emerging technologies to create learning resources that are involving, interactive and imaginative. NESTA Futurelab mobilises collaboration among UK experts in the areas of education, technology and creative sectors to provide an environment that stimulates new approaches to learning with technologies.
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Science and Design: The Powerhouse Museum
By the time the Powerhouse Museum, Australia's largest and most popular museum, opened in 1988 the government of Australia had been collecting objects for over a hundred years. The Powerhouse Museum is located in Darling Harbour, Sydney. Its unique and diverse collection of 385,000 objects spans history, science, technology, design, industry, decorative arts, music, transport and space exploration. Online resources include Teachers guides and games as well as access to museum exhibits.
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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