Climate Change Collection > Climate Change Collection Scope Statement

Climate Change Collection Scope Statement


The Climate Change Collection provides access to high quality, digital materials relating to natural and human induced climate change and variability, including scientific, economic and policy issues of climate change. The ultimate goal is a robust collection of climate change resources useful for Earth system science educators built around a conceptual framework of key processes and issues.

The Climate Change Collection is funded by NSF Grant EAR-0435645 and is organized and overseen by the University of Colorado through the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.

To meet the overarching goals, the collection focuses on background resources and learning activities that communicate the principles that underlie climate change and variability, including the differences and links between weather and climate; the basics of the climate system including the greenhouse effect and energy balance; climatic processes that occur at varying time scales, including orbital cycles and forcing; how scientific research is conducted relative to measuring change and variability; and how human activities, including the combustion of fossil fuels and changes of land cover, impact the climate system.

The selected resources have been reviewed by a review team for scientific accuracy and currency, and annotated with comments and suggestions relating to their potential value to Earth system science teachers and their students, particularly at the Middle School level.

The collection's reviews and background materials are hosted by the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College, and the annotated records of the collection are cataloged within the Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE). The web resources described by and linked to through the collection are held by third parties.

Intended audience

The intended audiences for the Climate Change Collection are:

-K-12 teachers and their students

-Higher education faculty and students

-The science-savvy general public

Collection Policy
Resources for the collection have been chosen by two methods:

  1. The review team selected existing resources from the Digital Library for Earth System Education, (DLESE)
  2. The review team determined if gaps (scientifically or pedagogically) regarding climate change and climate variability exist in DLESE during the September, 2004 to January, 2005 timeframe. The team then located digital resources outside of DLESE to fill in these gaps which were subsequently cataloged by DLESE.
Both methods favor resources that:

  • Align with the National Science Education Standards (NSES) and geography education standards

  • Are authoritative and related to core climate-related concepts and issues

  • Foster mastery of important scientific and mathematical understandings and technology skills

  • Contain minimum of jargon, making them accessible to the widest possible audience

Review Team and Review Processes

The review team consisted of three middle school teachers, an atmospheric scientist and a cognitive scientist to create a tool for evaluating and selecting digital resources. The process was facilitated by the Principal Investigator, Mark McCaffrey, and evaluated by Dr. Tim Weston of ATLAS Evaluation and Research. Prior to reviewing and annotating resources, the team met on a regular basis to review several existing review rubrics for existing digital resource collections and, based on discussions and consensus, developed a revised rubric, which was called the "scorecard" by the team. The key information the scorecard was designed to capture from each reviewer are:

-Is the resource a resource within a larger site?
-Was it discovered through DLESE, and if so, what collection does it appear in?
-On a scale of 1 to 5, with one being low and 5 being high, how many stars do you rate this resource? (All selected resources for the Climate Change Collection received 3.5 stars or greater on average.)
-A narrative summary of the resource and its intended use (reference, computer activity, or non-computer activity)
-Intended audience (educator, learner, both) and whether there is evidence it has been formally evaluated.
-Is the level beginner, advanced, or both?
-Is it easily printed?
-Are there particular technical difficulties or bugs in accessing the resource?
-Does it appear to be scientifically accurate and current, and is there evidence it has been reviewed for accuracy?
-Which of the following pedagogical information does the resource provide: reference only, a teacher guide, a materials list, an assessment strategy, time requirements, standards alignment.
-Does the resource promote student learning?
-Is there appropriate and effective use of multimedia design?
-What is the visual appeal?
-What teaching tips can you offer?
-How would you recommend the developer improve the resource?

All resources in the collection have been reviewed by the two or more members of the team, with one being familiar with climate science in order to access the accuracy and currency of the resource. In the few instances where significant disagreements between reviews occurred, discussions resolved the differences in perspective.

Cataloging Protocol
The overall cataloging philosophy is to describe resources with sufficient detail to support discovery, comprehension and reuse. All resources have been cataloged into DLESE and their metadata is being augmented with annotation information.

When a teacher or learner conducts a search for a specific item, the resulting list of records should be both relatively small and highly focused. Therefore, the collection's resources have been cataloged at a fine level of granularity.

Resource Terms of Use

Most of the resources in the collection are held by third-parties. Therefore, the collection does not own, serve up or directly maintain the resources in the collection. Copyright information or information on how resource may be lawfully used is available through the DLESE catalog. Library users are encouraged to read such information or go directly to the cataloged resource to obtain the latest copyright or terms of use information for a resource. If a copyright statement cannot be determined readily, the collection follows the DLESE protocol by trying to indicate this by including the following statement: Copyright and Other Restrictions Information is Unknown.

Metadata Terms of Use
For those learning resources and annotation information that the project directly catalogs, the metadata copyright is held by the University of Colorado. Resource metadata gathered from DLESE may have a metadata copyright of the individual DLESE collection. Metadata may be used as long it is consistent with the previously established DLESE Intellectual Property Policy, which can be found at: This allows for the redistribution of metadata records. Individual metadata records are available for harvest from DLESE.

Quality Assurance of Resources

The review team selects the resources for inclusion in the collection using the previously described selection criteria. Since most of the collection is held by third-parties, the review team has made a special effort to make sure the quality of the resource is appropriate for the life of the project.

Quality Assurance of Metadata

The collection review team has final responsible for cataloging and metadata quality assurance. To ensure quality, resources are cataloged have been reviewed for completeness of required metadata, educational standards information and appropriate audience information.

Persistence Plan

Access to the annotations and reviews supporting the educational use this collection will be maintained by Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College. If the SERC website ceases to operate, partners will be sought to ensure the persistence of the annotations and reviews. The availability of the actual web resources in the collection is subject to the considerations of the owner of the resource since the resources are held by third parties.

Collection Contacts

For questions regarding this collection, please contact Mark McCaffrey (Mark (dot) McCaffrey (at) colorado (dot) edu) or support (at) dlese (dot) org .

Other Collection Documents

Also see Building the Collection.