Columbia Libraries and the Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia Host NSF / NSDL Workshop "Synergies between the NSDL and Educational Publishers"

New York, October 17, 2002 - Over 40 people attended a one-day National Science Foundation (NSF) / National Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education Digital Library (NSDL) workshop held at Columbia University on October 8, 2002. The workshop, which was designed to explore issues related to science publishers' participation in the NSDL, was hosted by the Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia (EPIC) at Butler Library on Columbia's Morningside campus.

The meeting, "Synergies between the NSDL and Educational Publishers," opened with a welcome from Kate Wittenberg, Director of EPIC, and Dave MacArthur, chair of the sustainability standing committee of the NSDL. This was followed by NSDL presentations by Dave Fulker from University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Carl Lagoze from Cornell University, and David Millman from Columbia University, who gave an overview of the NSDL, an overview of the Core Integration (CI) System, and spoke about the technical aspects of the CI and the access management system in the NSDL.

A publisher-led plenary session finished out the morning, when Karen Hunter from Elsevier, Jake Schlumpf from, and Lawrence Grossman from the Digital Promise Project, spoke about traditional and new publisher business models, and discussed possible opportunities and risks of contributing publisher's content to the NSDL.

In the afternoon, breakout groups discussed two topics: Sharing content services between NSDL and publishers and business models for NSDL. The groups reported their work and discussions back to all participants.

Columbia University plays a major role in the NSDL. David Millman, Director of AcIS Research and Development, and Kate Wittenberg, Director of EPIC, are the Principal Investigators from Columbia on the Core Integration team of the NSDL.

Millman explained, "Our participation in the NSDL means that Columbia's leadership role in applying these new technologies can have a national impact on the relationship between the publishing industry and higher education."

"The National Science Digital Library is an exciting and ambitious experiment in collaboration among scientists, publishers, and information technologists," said Kate Wittenberg. She continued, "The overall goal is nothing less than to improve scientific literacy among learners at all levels. Our involvement in this project in both the editorial and technological development of the digital library represents precisely the kind of research and publishing strengths that EPIC has developed in its recent work."

According to the NSDL web page About the NSF National Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education Digital Library (NSDL) Program, "To stimulate and sustain continual improvements in the quality of science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (SMET) education, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has launched the National Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education Digital Library (NSDL) program. The resulting digital library is intended to serve the needs of learners belonging to a broad user audience--K to 12, undergraduate, graduate, and life-long learning--in both formal and informal settings. Envisioned as the premier portal to current and future high-quality SMET educational content and services, this virtual facility will enable seamless access to a rich array of interactive learning materials and resources, distinguished by the depth and breadth of the subject matter addressed, and valued for its authority and reliability." [, Accessed October 14, 2002.]

The prototype, SITE for Science, is on the web at

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.

AcIS and EPIC are both part of the Information Services Division at Columbia University, which also includes 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.

written: 10/17/02 KRS