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Projects add user-tailored access to resources for research and education

National Science Foundation : 07 October, 2004  (Company News)
Philadelphia kindergarten teacher, Varnelle Moore, is teaching her youngest students to understand spatial experiences, story content and how to talk out ideas. Moore is able to do this because of her access to resources and hands-on support from the Math Forum at Drexel University, a partner of the Mathematical Association of America's Mathematical Sciences Digital Library. Part of the National Science Foundation's National Science Digital Library, the project makes it simple for Moore and other teachers to take full advantage of a new bridge between math, science and education.
NSF has awarded funding four large, new NSDL Pathways Projects, one of which is an expanded MAA effort, to provide better 'user-tailored' access to the NSDL's online library of resources for research and education. NSF has also funded 19 new, smaller nationwide NSDL projects.

'We are committed to public education in this country and know that education has always gone out from the great libraries,' NSDL director Kaye Howe says.

The major new projects, receiving NSF grants ranging from $2.0 million-$2.8 million over four years, include:

University of Wisconsin, Madison, Internet Scout Project (
Since 1994, the Internet Scout Project has focused on developing better tools and services for finding, filtering, and presenting online information and metadata with Web-based information and software for educators, librarians and researchers. Scout's Web-based reports now reach over 350,000 readers a week, helping guide educators and others to high-quality online resources. Scout's newest project is the Applied Mathematics and Science Education Repository, a collaborative project that will consist of a repository housing information about national applied math and science resources, and a variety of integrated services, especially for community and technical college students, and their instructors.

WGBH (Boston) Teachers Domain, Multimedia Resources for the Classroom and Professional Development (
WGBH Radio debuted in 1951, and over time has evolved into a world-renowned public service organization. With WGBH-TV, it produces programs seen and heard across the United States and Canada. The PBS station produces more prime-time programs and Web-based products than any other. Its 'Teachers' Domain Pathway to NSDL Mulitmedia for K-12 Teachers and Students' will be expanded under its new NSF award. Already it is a multimedia digital library for K-12 teachers and students housing an extensive collection of classroom-ready resources. As an NSDL Pathway, Teachers' Domain, will make these rich resources and services available through NSDL.

The Mathematical Association of America, Washington, D.C., Pathway to NSDL Mathematics Resources (
In nearly 100 years, the MAA has evolved to serve large segments of the public and some 27,000 members with peer-reviewed journals, a magazine and newsletter, and a variety of educational outreach initiatives, including courses, workshops and a digital library of classroom resources. MAA's Pathway to NSDL Mathematics Resources will expand the current features of the Math Digital Library by incorporating new materials and services into those available to the general mathematics user and enhancing features of particular importance to MAA members, such as MAA Reviews, an online continuation of Telegraphic Reviews appearing in the American Mathematical Monthly, and online access to the best of more than a century of Classroom Capsules.

Shodor Education Foundation, Inc., Durham, N.C., Pathway to NSDL Computational Science Education Resources (
Since 1994, the Shodor Foundation has conducted research and educational outreach to advance science and math education through the use of modeling and simulation technologies. Shodor's Pathway to NSDL Computational Science Education Resources Reference Desk will identify and develop materials for computational science, technology, engineering and mathematics. New partners will bring in expertise to create and maintain resources in computational science education, such as easy navigation tools to find and use numerical models to teach and explore concepts in science and mathematics, and resources for teaching how to build and validate computational models.

The NSDL holds a wide range of materials to support learning at all levels. Pathways partners provide portals and user services, and act as reference librarians for their communities.

'The social and technical capital generated by the pathways will be reused to facilitate completion of all the moving parts of the library over time,' says Lee Zia, NSF program manager for the NSDL.

The other 19 projects, varying in amounts of $450,000 to $850,000 are for two to three years. Institutions receiving those awards include: Washington and Lee University (Lexington, Va.), Kennesaw State University (Kennesaw, Ga.), Cornell University (Ithaca, N.Y.), University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc. (Lawrence), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Foundation at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (two awards), University of Wisconsin, Madison (two awards), Villanova University (Philadelphia), Oregon Health and Sciences University (Portland), Syracuse University (Syracuse, N.Y.), Eastern Michigan University (Ypsilanti), and Utah State University (Logan). Awards also were made to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Psychological Association, both in Washington, D.C., McLean Media (Grass Valley, Calif.) and New Media Studio (Santa Barbara, Calif.).

NSF established the National Science Digital Library, which opened in the fall of 2000, as an online library of resources for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and research. The NSDL provides access to collections and services from both public and private institutions, including universities, museums, commercial publishers, government agencies and professional societies. This national resource supports teaching and learning at all levels, from preschool through adult, with materials ranging from journal articles and lesson plans to interactive animations, and from real-time data sets to technology based tools. Access to NSDL collections and services began with the launching of a website in December 2002. ( There are now more than 150 NSF-funded projects that contribute to the NSDL, as well as partners from education and industry.

'There are some exciting possibilities for new library services,' Zia maintains. 'They may include one-stop user access to personalized resources, improved student and teacher access to expert knowledge, with the pathways projects serving as discipline area experts.'

NSDL directors also believe that pathways may also serve as resources for all NSDL projects engaged in solving research and operational issues common to digital library communities. Those include ongoing development and adoption of basic standards for interoperability, reusability, reliability, and stability of resources and services.
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