Teach the Earth > Web-Based Resources > Before You Begin > Search First

Search to See If It Has Already Been Done

For many topics in the geosciences, multiple excellent web resources already exist. A few topics, such as plate tectonics, mineralogy, volcanoes, and El Nino seem to be particularly popular topics for web site development. Other topics are far less commonly developed, or are covered in only brief descriptive detail. Before you re-invent the wheel, it is worthwhile to search existing educational materials.


Is a resource close, but not quite what you're looking for? Often, the developer of a pre-existing site will be happy to share part or all of their resource for you to adapt, particularly if the developer is an educator who has designed the resource for their own students. Authoring and contact information will usually be easy to find on a site's home page. Check out other issues associated with reuse of resources.



Places To Look

  • Google is a good way to find all kinds of things, from web resources to books to kitchen sinks, and it was originally designed to look for scientific information on the web. There are also many other general purpose search engines available. Complimenting this approach are digital libraries and portals aimed specifically at education.
  • Digital Library in Earth Systems Education
    DLESE provides a catalogue of all kinds of digital resources for Geoscience, Earth Science, or Earth Systems Science education at all levels. The DLESE collection continues to grow, and is searchable by topic, portal type, resource type (e.g., text, map, web-based activity, video, photograph, etc.) and education level.
  • National Science Digital Library
    NSDL provides educational resources for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. Searches here cover several collections of resources, including DLESE. The records returned include title, description, resource format and the collection that originally cataloged the resource.
  • Earth Science Sites of the Week Archive. Mark Francek, Central Michigan University, has created this well-organized, browsable compilation of web resources for earth and environmental sciences. The site is updated frequently, and weekly updates are available via email. You are also encouraged to submit resources (your own or others') to the database. ( This site is likely no longer available. )
  • Eisenhower National Clearinghouse. The Eisenhower National Clearinghouse is a K-12 math and science teacher center. They have a variety of resources and services available on their site. ( This site is likely no longer available. )
  • Merlot. Designed for higher education, browsable by subject. Relatively few resources in the geosciences (58 in December 2003), but a few thousand links in Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Astronomy, and Engineering combined. (more info)
  • The Gateway to Educational Materials. A comprehensive database of educational materials, easy to search by subject and education level. Good browsing capabilities within subjects as well. Each resource includes a brief description. GEM includes extensive resource listings in Geology and Earth Science. Though not dedicated to Earth Science, as is DLESE, GEM is a good place to search for general educational materials. (more info)