National Science Digital Library Creates "New Pathways"
Projects add user-tailored access to resources for research and education
Arlington, Va.—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 (MAA) Mathematical Sciences Digital Library. Part of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) National Science Digital Library (NSDL), 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 (http://scout.wisc.edu/)
WGBH (Boston) Teachers Domain - Multimedia Resources for the Classroom and Professional Development (http://www.teachersdomain.org/)
The Mathematical Association of America, Washington, D.C., Pathway to NSDL Mathematics Resources (http://www.maa.org/)
Shodor Education Foundation, Inc., Durham, N.C., Pathway to NSDL Computational Science Education Resources (http://www.shodor.org/)
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 (STEM) 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. (www.nsdl.org) 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.
For more information, on NSDL Pathways Projects, see: http://nsdl.comm.nsdl.org
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
Useful NSF Web Sites: