Columbia University's EPIC Awarded $3 Million NSF Renewal Grant for National Science Digital Library Core Integration

NEW YORK, February 7, 2003 - Columbia University's Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia (EPIC) has been awarded a four year renewal grant of $3,036,576 from The National Science Foundation (NSF) as one of three partners who are building the Core Integration components of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL). Cornell University and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) are the other two Core Integration partners of the four-year grant which totals almost $26 Million. NSDL project information is available on the Web at: <>.

Led by Kate Wittenberg, Director of EPIC, and David Millman, Director of R&D for Academic Computing Systems (AcIS), the Columbia team is working with their Cornell and UCAR partners to build the infrastructure that will support the entire NSDL. Columbia is contributing two important aspects of the Core Integration strategy. It is building the NSDL access management system, in a project that is directed by Millman and managed by Walter Hoehn at AcIS. Columbia is also managing relations between the NSDL and the scientific publishing community, through a project being managed by Michael Luby, at EPIC.

Wittenberg said, "As member of the Core Integration team for the NSDL, Columbia will continue to play a large role in the creation of the organizational, technical, editorial, and business models that will shape this project going forward."

In order for the NSDL to become a resource of choice for the science education and teaching community, it must include partnerships with the publishers, museums, and professional societies that hold much of the most valuable scientific content. Wittenberg explained, "In order to engage these partners, the Columbia team will build on our experience with partnerships with these organizations through our other online publications, Columbia International Affairs Online, and Columbia Earthscape, which contain content from both commercial and non-for-profit publishers, societies, and museums. Columbia's work in this area will create models for participation in the NSDL that provide protection of the intellectual property of these organizations while bringing them new audiences for their resources."

The access management system uses an innovative federation model to accommodate the many NSDL contributors and also provide new privacy protections to the patrons of the library. Columbia is developing this technology in collaboration with the Internet2 consortium of higher-ed institutions who share these privacy and scalability questions.

James G. Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian at Columbia, said, "Columbia will bring the expertise of its academic computing and electronic publishing divisions to the collaborative expansion of the NSDL enterprise and the strengthening of its technologies and capabilities in service to educational research."

The purpose of the Core Integration (CI) effort for the NSDL is to bring together the many efforts already underway and expand them into a very large-scale digital library. The effort centers around three main areas: engaging the community, providing technology, and providing core services. More information about the CI effort is on-line at the NSDL's website: <>.

Academic Information Systems (AcIS) is the central organization supporting academic use of technology at Columbia University. It is a service organization whose mission is to improve the quality of instruction and research at the University through the strategic use of computing and communications technologies. AcIS also provides several core services to all faculty, students, and staff at Columbia including Email services, network services and Internet access, central Web servers, and a central ID system for managing access to computing resources.

The Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia (EPIC) is a groundbreaking new initiative in digital publishing at Columbia University that involves Columbia University Press, the Libraries, and Academic Information Systems. Its mission is to create new kinds of scholarly and educational publications using new media technologies in an integrated research and production environment. Working with the producers of intellectual property at Columbia University and other leading academic institutions, it aims to make these digital publications self-sustaining through subscription sales to institutions and individual users.

EPIC is part of the Information Services Division at Columbia University, which also includes Academic Information Systems (AcIS), the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL), the Center for Research on Information Access (CRIA), and the University Libraries. James G. Neal is the Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian at Columbia University. Information Services and University Libraries News can be found on-line at: <>.

For More Information:

Kate Wittenberg
Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia (EPIC)
Tel: 212 854-0167