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

The Whiteboard Report
March 2006, Issue #92



Introducing Reusable and Shareable Courseware: NSDL-funded Topic Maps for e-Learning
Digital course libraries are educational Web applications that contain instructional materials to assist students' learning in a specific discipline. They play a vital role in out-of-class learning, especially in project-based and problem-based learning, as well as in lifelong learning. TM4L is an e-learning environment developed at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, which enables the creation, maintenance, and use of ontology-aware learning repositories based on Topic Maps. The system provides support in designing and maintaining a conceptual structure of a collection of resources through its functionality for editing, browsing, and combining such structures, coupled with support for relating concepts, linking concepts to resources, merging ontologies, etc. The TM4L environment consists of an Editor and Viewer, available for download at

A number of individuals and projects including the National Institute of Informatics, Japan, the Library and Documentation Department, University Carlos III of Madrid, Spain, the Library and Information Department, National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan have already expressed interest in using TM4L. Those users requested internationalization of the TM4L interface and helped translate it into their native languages. The new release of the TM4L Editor provides translations in Spanish, traditional and simplified Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Nepalese.
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MERLOT 6th Annual International Conference (MIC06): Working With and Learning From the World's Best
The MERLOT International Conference is designed to foster learning, innovation and practice in the use of information and communications technologies in higher education. This year MIC06 will be held in Ottawa, Canada from August 8-11, 2006. Educators, administrators, and technologists who have interests and expertise in technology-enabled teaching and learning and who recognize the need to remain current in the rapidly advancing field of educational practice and theory are invited to attend the conference in the Congress Center in the Canadian Capital.

MIC06 proposals are due March 27, 2006. View the call for proposals here:
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NSDL Highlight in eSchool News
In a special report about using digital resources in the classroom, eSchool News refers to the Education Development Center's (EDC) Effective Access project and TERC's "Infusing Web-based Digital Resources into the Middle School Science Classroom."

Read the article at:
--eSchool News Special Report, March 2006
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SAVE THE DATE For the NSDL Annual Meeting
The NSDL 2006 Annual Meeting will be held October 18-20 in Washington, D.C. at the American Association for the Advancement of Science building at 1200 New York Avenue, NW. The event will launch on the afternoon of the 18th with a poster session and reception. General and concurrent sessions will be held throughout the day on the 19th, and the meeting will conclude by early afternoon on the 20th. Additional information including schedule and hotel details will be posted to the annual meeting website (, as they become available. Please direct questions to Susan Van Gundy ( Many thanks to AAAS for hosting this year's meeting.
Related Link: Feature Watch
This week's homepage encourages visitors to take part in viewing a live eclipse Webcast, as well as a telescope-only feed, from a Roman amphitheater in Side, Turkey thanks to an Exploratorium camera crew who will transmit images, weather permitting, during the eclipse on March 29, 2006. Exploritorium Senior Scientist Dr. Paul Doherty and NASA's Dr. Isabel Hawkins, will explain what to look for before, during, and along the Path of Totality.

Community pages at have been updated to make resources easier to find. Submit news, information and calendar events for inclusion in NSDL Whiteboard Report, and in Community News at
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BEN at the ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators: How To Develop Undergrad Curriculum Resources
The American Society for Microbiology (ASM), a partner in the BioSciedNet Collaborative (, is offering a "how-to" session for undergraduate faculty in the biological sciences. The focus of the session will be "how to" develop curriculum resources for publications in the MicrobeLibrary ( and/or BEN. A "call for your best laboratory or classroom activity" has been sent to 2000+ undergraduate biology faculty. Biology faculty whose submissions have been selected for review will learn practical tips for improving, tailoring, and/or adapting these activities for multiple learning environments and final publication in MicrobeLibrary. In 2004 and 2005, a similar program was offered generating 20+ new submissions within 3-6 months after the initial training.

If you are interested in submitting a resource, visit The session will be presented at the ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators on May 19-21 at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. The MicrobeLibrary and BEN Collaborative, along with other publishers and professional life sciences societies, will be exhibitors at the Conference. For general information, visit Advance registration deadline is March 17; final registration is April 14.
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NSF's Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge
The ability to convey the essence and excitement of research in digitized images, color diagrams, multimedia and animation has given researchers the perspective needed to set new research directions and equipped other citizens to see and understand complex science concepts.

The National Science Foundation and Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, invite you to participate in the fourth annual Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge. The competition recognizes scientists, engineers, visualization specialists, and artists for producing or commissioning innovative work in visual communication.

Award categories: Photographs, Illustrations, Interactive Media, Non-Interactive Media and Informational Graphics. Winners in each category will be published in the September 22, 2006 issue of Science Magazine and Science Online and displayed on the NSF website. The deadline for entries is May 31, 2006.
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Student Competition Part of TeraGrid '06: "How Will Cyberinfrastructure Impact Students' Lives"
The first annual TeraGrid '06 Conference: Advancing Scientific Discovery to be held June 12-15 at Purdue University in Indianapolis is conducting two student competitions--one for high school and one for undergraduate and graduate students. High school students will be asked to describe how cyberinfrastructure will impact their lives. The second competition is for undergraduate and graduate students who will provide posters about their research efforts.

The conference will offer an in-depth introduction to the TeraGrid community and its technologies for prospective new collaborators. Deadline for 250-word technical paper abstracts, posters, demonstrations and birds-of-a-feather submissions is March 29. Full papers are due on April 19.
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Business Campaign to Promote Math and Science Reform Initiative
The Tapping America's Potential ("TAP") campaign has launched a website designed by the business community to make improving the U.S. math and science talent pipeline a national priority as a key component of U.S. competitiveness. The fifteen business organizations that comprise TAP represent every sector of the U.S. economy and include America's largest and most innovative companies. The site provides national and international data -- including state-specific information--drawing a clear picture of the competitiveness challenges facing our country. Also included are links to key reports, news coverage of the issue, and the results of public opinion research on competitiveness and innovation conducted in the second half of 2005. In addition, the site offers information on how everyone--businesses, policymakers, employees, parents, educators, and students--can join the campaign and play a part in achieving the TAP goal.
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Contribute Your Knowledge for Earth Week as an AskNSDL Expert
In preparation for National Environmental Education (EE) Week, NSDL, NSF, and the National Environmental Education & Training Foundation (NEETF) will collaborate through the AskNSDL service by growing the base of experts who answer user questions. National EE Week takes place the week of April 16-22, 2006.

"Experts" can sign up to answer questions related to specified areas of science, mathematics, or technology; educational resources and practices in these disciplines. Scientists, graduate students, junior and senior undergraduates, librarians, educators, and others are encouraged to share their knowledge with the students and teachers and general public who will be sending their inquiries during National EE Week and beyond. It is easy to register as an expert and requires only as much time as you prefer to commit in responding to the questions that you choose to answer. You choose to see questions from only the audience you wish to assist combined with the categories you wish to respond to.

To register, go to and click on the "for experts" link. Select "register as an expert" and follow the instructions. To facilitate your approval as an expert, please mention your affiliation in the "Credentials/Bio" field.

Contact Susan Van Gundy (303- 497-2946 / or Blythe Bennett ( for more information.
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Cyberinfrastructure Training, Education, Advancement, and Mentoring for Our 21st Century Workforce
The CI-TEAM program supports projects that position the national science and engineering community to engage in research and education activities promoting and leveraging cyberinfrastructure. CI-TEAM awards will:
--Prepare current and future generations of scientists, engineers, and educators to use, support, deploy, develop, and design cyberinfrastructure; and
--Foster inclusion in cyberinfrastructure activities of diverse groups of people and organizations, with particular emphasis on traditionally underrepresented groups.
Full CI-TEAM proposals are due on June 5, 2006.
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New in the Library: The Annals of Research on Engineering
The Annals of Research on Engineering (AREE) welcomes web site visitors to an experiment in collaborative scholarship. Seeking to ultimately "advance research through communication" AREE invites users to participate in dialogs about interdisciplinary-focused engineering resources to encourage critical thinking and to share insights on themes, discussion topics and reflective essays.
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Einstein's Voice
"The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility" is an Albert Einstein quote that NSDL has adopted to illustrate the aggregate educational value of STEM resources in the NSDL collection. Listen to the same soft voice that uttered those words briefly explain energy and mass equivalence in this one-minute recording
--Simon Singh Newsletter, January 2, 2006
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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