published September 4, 2008

SENCER Launches Digital Library at SSI 2008

In 2008, the SENCER national office began an initiative to identify, categorize and deliver digital content via the web to all project members. Our goal was to make SENCER materials - model courses, backgrounders, essays published in the e-Newsletter - more easily available and useful to members of the SENCER community. Resources in this system will be automatically connected to the National Science Digital Library (NSDL).

The SENCER Digital Library was officially launched at SSI 2008, and we were happy to have several members of one of the teams responsible for the creation of the digital library on hand to discuss the new resource with SSI 2008 participants. Krista White, Kerri Hueftle, and Melody Townley of Rutgers University were part of the Controlled Vocabularies Project led by Claire McInerney. The team identified the metadata for the documents, created controlled vocabularies, and entered in all data to the system. At SSI 2008, Kerri and Melody presented a poster on their experience, and Krista offered a presentation on how information is organized in a digital library. The other major team involved in the creation of the digital library was composed of Cathy Manduca and Sean Fox of the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College. They are responsible for the creation and maintenance of the content management system that "stores" all documents digitally and allows the digital library to exist. Chuck Gahun, consultant to the SENCER project, manages this initiative.

The library supports search and browse of new and existing SENCER materials. A bonus to this system is that it will allow authors to easily update their materials with new information so that users can easily see the evolution of the courses and resources. Currently, all backgrounders and model courses through the 2007 series are accessible in this new format. The seven additions to the SENCER model series are in the process of being added in their entireties. We also expect to have essays and featured reports from archived e-Newsletters available in the digital library early in this fall semester.

The next phase of this project is the creation of a simple online form that will allow any member of the SENCER community to submit resources for inclusion in the library - including proposed models, backgrounders, essays, opinion pieces, syllabi, labs, and other course materials. Posting will be subject to approval by a member of the SENCER core staff. We hope that this feature encourages greater resource sharing by all educators.