National Science Digital Library
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The United States' National Science Digital Library (NSDL) is an open-access online digital library and collaborative network of disciplinary and grade-level focused education providers. NSDL's mission is to provide quality digital learning collections to the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education community, both formal and informal, institutional and individual. NSDL's collections are continuously refined by an extensive network of STEM educational and disciplinary professionals. Their work is based on user data, disciplinary knowledge, and participation in the rapid evolution of digital resources as major elements of effective STEM learning.
Resource types available via NSDL include instructional matierals, activities, lesson plans, audio/video materials, images, web sites, simulations, visualizations, tools, and services. NSDL also provides annotation collection and paradata (usage data) collections: comments, ratings, or usage information attached to existing resources in the NSDL.
- Learning Registry: The NSDL is a key partner in the national Learning Registry project to facilitate the exchange of resources, metadata about resources, and paradata about their use in learning environments. NSDL is contributing to this multi-agency federal project designed to make learning resources produced by federal funding more accessible.
- NSDL STEM Exchange: a web service to capture and share social media-generated information and other networked associations about educational resources (tagged, recommended, commented, discussed, clicked, viewed, downloaded, favorited, shared, etc.)
- Learning Application Readiness - an NSDL initiative that refers to how closely educational resources, collections, and their related metadata are aligned to educational goals, curriculum, or professional development needs of users, and how readily those can be embedded in tools and services that teachers and students use.
- Repositioning NSDL for the Next Generation of Digital Learning - NSDL's present work is building on and leveraging the successes and lessons of current and prior work (NSDL network partners collaborations;STEM Exchange; Learning Registry collaboration; Learning Application Readiness; Common Core Mathematics collection) to bring pilot level projects to scale and to integrate new capacities in NSDL's value to STEM education. These efforts contribute to NSDL's long-term sustainability through diffusion and adoption of resources into a wider range of instructional settings and teacher peer-to-peer networks, and by increasing resource utility to educator communities of practice........
The National Science Digital Library (NSDL) was established in 2000 by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide an organized point of access to STEM content aggregated from a variety of other digital libraries, NSF-funded projects, and other national STEM stakeholder providers. Key collaborations with disciplinary communities and audience-focused providers grew out of the NSDL, providing a rich social and technical infrastructure for collaboration in the delivery and use of digital resources in STEM education  . NSDL also provides access to services and tools that enhance the use of this content in a variety of contexts. NSDL is designed primarily for K-16 educators, but anyone can access NSDL.org and search the library at not cost, and without creating a user account, although some content providers require a nominal fee or subscription to retrieve their specific resources.
From 2000 – 2011, the National Science Foundation sponsored an NSDL grant-making program in the Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) of the Education and Human Resources Directorate. The National STEM Distributed Learning (NSDL) program offered grants to support major collection-building efforts, services development, and targeted research that built and extended library services. In February 2011, the NSF announced its decision to conclude funding for the NSDL grant-making program, and did not issue an NSDL program solicitation for FY2011.
Originally a collaboration between Cornell University, Columbia University, and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), the NSDL is now entirely hosted at UCAR, in Boulder, Colorado, and continues its mission as an entity dedicated to the advancement of STEM education.
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- Multiple authors (2010). STEM for our Students. Knowledge Quest, Journal of the American Association of School Librarians, 39(2), 82.