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NSDL – A Tool for Teaching and Learning . Eileen McIlvain Pathways Liaison NSDL Core Integration BEN Scholars Workshop December 8-10, 2006. NSDL Pathways workshops goals…. Build awareness and use - spread the word…about BEN, about NSDL Connect to user communities

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NSDL – A Tool for Teaching and Learning

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nsdl a tool for teaching and learning

NSDL – A Tool for Teaching and Learning

Eileen McIlvain

Pathways Liaison

NSDL Core Integration

BEN Scholars Workshop

December 8-10, 2006

nsdl pathways workshops goals
NSDL Pathways workshops goals…
  • Build awareness and use - spread the word…about BEN, about NSDL
  • Connect to user communities
  • Give NSDL the opportunity to learn in a direct way about unique PW issues and needs
  • Explore different models for professional development and capacity-building workshops – evaluate for efficacy, share for replication
  • Build capacity - capitalize on partnership opportunities – shared audiences, shared resources, services, expertise
  • Build long-term support; sustainability
the national science technology engineering and mathematics education digital library
The National Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Digital Library

The National Science Foundation’s online library of resources for education and research …

…established to catalyze and support continual improvements in STEM education at all levels (K-12, higher education, lifelong learning)

nsdl overview
NSDL Overview

Funding Agency:National Science Foundation

  • Education and Human Resources Directorate
  • Initiated by NSF in 2000 as R&D project, now part of NSF’s educational cyberinfrastructure

Scope:Education at all levels (K12, higher ed, lifelong learning, research)

  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)

Structure:A digital library describing:

  • 2M+ selected online STEM resources from hundreds of distributed collections and services, provided and maintained by many organizations.
  • 10 Pathways portals and over 200 NSF-funded NSDL grantees
  • All joined by a Core Integration team

Columbia University

Cornell University

University Corporation for Atmospheric Research(UCAR)

what is a digital library
What is a Digital Library?







of Practice




Data Sets











where we were where we are
Where we were… Where we are…
  • NSDL 1.0 (2002-2004)
    • integrated access to NSF-funded NSDL projects that had released collections
    • two levels of searching and browsing
    • community governance and organization
  • NSDL 2.0 (2004-present)
    • Building the foundation for educational partnerships - move from a general purpose digital library to a federation of portals each with its own focus (one library, many portals) -> Pathways strategy – discipline-specific or audience-specific portals of NSDL. FEDORA-based technical infrastructure enabling contextualization of resources.
technical infrastructure
Technical Infrastructure


Modified Dublin Core with crosswalks to other schema. Metadata are harvested through OAI and NSDL’s repository API

Repository Architecture:

Migrating from metadata-centric Oracle database to resource-centric, object-oriented, FEDORA-based repository (Flexible Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture)


New resource-centric search based on Lucene


Working toward community sign-on using Shibboleth (single login across multiple portals)


Persistent archive provided by San Diego Supercomputing Center

nsdl pathways
NSDL Pathways


  • Educational level and discipline-specific portals to NSDL resources
  • Built by leading organizations who are trusted by their target audiences
  • Provide resources, tools, services, and professional development
  • A method for professional organizations to engage and serve their membership communities
nsdl offers educators
NSDL Offers Educators…

An organized point of access to the Internet for high quality resources supporting STEM education

A source for accurate, appropriate, and relevant information for educators and learners at all levels

Peer reviewed materials

Resources that supportstandards

why not just use google
Why Not Just Use Google?

The NSDL Value Proposition…

  • Relevant search results
  • Trusted providers
  • Appropriate for students
  • Contextualized resources
  • User-contributed content
  • Peer reviews and other annotations
  • Aligned to educational standards
  • A bridge between the education and research communities







publisher partnerships
Publisher Partnerships

Established agreements:

Scientific American

Oxford University Press Journals

HighWire Press

McGraw-Hill Higher Education


Elsevier (books)

John Wiley


Tool Factory

Cambridge University Press Books

Cambridge University Press Journals


Nature Publishing Group

Tom Snyder


National Academy Press

Negotiating agreements:

Bedford, Freeman & Worth

Oxford University Press Books

Taylor & Francis

SAGE Publications

O'Reilly Media/Safari

Exploratory discussions:

American Psychological Association

Riverdeep Interactive Learning

Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

Institute of Physics Publishing

American Physical Society

expert voices
Expert Voices


  • Models scientific inquiry and exposes the processes of scientific research
  • Promotes and facilitates conversations between research and education communities
  • Brings content expertise into the classroom to support out-of-field teachers
  • Allows scientists, teachers, and media specialists to collaboratively develop instructional context around NSDL resources
how much time do you have
How Much Time Do You Have?

Assemble a links list

Create a module

Ask a question

Run a simulation

Blog on Expert Voices

Download a resource

Find a website

Use an existing module

nsdl and ben
  • What are your needs?
  • What kinds of outreach are you engaged in? Teacher training? Professional development workshops? conference attendance and booth events?


  • Add NSDL to lists of recommended resources
  • NSDL search box on portals and partner sites
  • NSDL toolbar on university department, school, and library browsers
Eileen McIlvain

Pathways Project Liaison