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Session I: Presentations

The first session presentations were given by:

William Arms, Corporation for National Research Initiatives

Miriam Masullo, T.J. Watson Research Center, IBM Research Center

Michael Raugh, Interconnect Technologies Corporation

Lee Zia, Department of Mathematics, University of New Hampshire

William Arms spoke on three themes:

First, although he believes there is a need for a resource such as a digital National Library, Arms concluded that the commissioned papers collectively had not yet made a convincing ease for how any NL initiative could benefit undergraduate education and urged participants to focus on this issue during the workshop. He pointed out that some of the commissioned papers suggested that libraries traditionally have not been central to undergraduate science education in many institutions of higher education. In trying to decide how to make the case for an NL, Arms provided two examples of how technology has added value to undergraduate education, sometimes in ways that were unexpected and unanticipated. In both examples (a distance learning program at the British Open University and the introduction of technology to all facets of undergraduate education at Carnegie-Mellon University), success was realized, Arms said, because the faculty at both institutions (the users) took control of the projects and shaped them to fit user needs. In both eases, faculty emphasized how the technology could best be employed to abet teaching and learning. Subsequent studies have indicated that these tools also have enabled teaching and research to be more closely conjoined than in the past because faculty have found they can use the same tools for teaching as for research. Arms emphasized that the undergraduate SME&T community must articulate a vision of how computing can be best employed in undergraduate education and that such a vision could be best articulated by teaching faculty. He noted that teaching faculty were underrepresented at the workshop.

Second, Arms addressed the issue of a "library without collections." He suggested that, unlike contemporary, libraries and electronic databases where information is housed in a building or stored and distributed from a central computer, an NL project should look seriously at a structure that would guide users to collections of materials that are located and maintained elsewhere. Pointers might refer to commercially available materials, online collections, curricula (e.g., the online collection of curricula provided by the Mathematics Department at Dartmouth College5), and course notes and modules. The function of an NL would be to identify, evaluate, review, and index these materials.

Third, Arms emphasized that developing and maintaining an NL will be technically difficult. If an NL is to provide a high-quality service to users, it will be absolutely necessary to find people who are dedicated to the service aspects of putting the technology together. Users must define how the technology is employed; technology must not dictate how a library can and cannot be utilized.

Miriam Masullo continued the discussion of the role of an NL with respect to teaching and learning. She agreed with several authors of commissioned papers that the term "library," as applied to an NL project, places limitations on what this entity might become and how it might evolve. In contrast, if a digital library is defined as "a class of tools that includes capturing, authoring, storing, managing, searching, organizing, retrieving, indexing, sharing, and collaborating, we are probably talking about computer science and several other disciplines as well."

Masullo next described some of her experiences with digital libraries in K-12 education in the United States and similar projects around the world. Her experience convinces her that such entities will be butt in unexpected places and in the near future because the enabling technology is now available. She thinks that it is justified to associate a sense of urgency with the proposed NL project.


were made during the discussion period following the second set of plenary presentations, resulting in overlap of issues between the plenary sessions. For the sake of clarity, comments from general discussions following both plenary sessions are summarized in a single section of this report. Comments are grouped by the issue raised rather than by the session during which the comment was offered.


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