Syracuse University awarded $5 million contract from the U.S. Department of Education for digital library services
Syracuse University awarded $5 million contract from the U.S. Department of Education for digital library servicesJuly 08, 2002Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
The Information Institute of Syracuse at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies has been awarded a $5 million, five-year contract from the U.S Department of Education to operate the department’s Education Digital Library Initiative.
The contract combines the work of the institute’s Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM) and Virtual Reference Desk (VRD) projects. Both nationally acclaimed projects-designed for educators, parents and students-were founded at Syracuse University as special projects of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology, which is housed in the Information Institute of Syracuse. The new contract brings GEM and VRD under the sponsorship of the Department of Education’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO).
“The Education Digital Library Initiative will continue to set the standard in information tools for educators,” says R. David Lankes, director of the Information Institute of Syracuse and assistant professor in SU’s School of Information Studies. “The initiative will also serve as a hub for related education digital library developments that use the expertise of GEM and VRD, such as the National Science Foundation’s National Science Digital Library.”
GEM is internationally recognized for its metadata standards and for The Gateway Web site (www.thegateway.org), which provides access to some 25,000 Internet educational resources. VRD is renowned for its annual international conference on digital reference, for the Digital Reference AskA Locator and for the VRD Learning Center (www.vrd.org).
The Education Digital Library Initiative will enable educators, parents, students, researchers and policy makers to more efficiently find resources from among the wealth of information on the Internet. The initiative will also link information seekers with experts in the field who can answer specific questions.
The contract also cements a partnership between Syracuse University, the Information School at the University of Washington and the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) Institute.
“The University of Washington’s Information School is pleased to be part of the future development of the most successful, Internet-based education efforts to provide high quality information services and meaningful resources to educators-GEM and VRD,” says Michael B. Eisenberg, dean of the Information School at the University of Washington. “GEM has set the world standards for education metadata, and this project will expand GEM’s work and influence.”
The Education Digital Library Initiative is part of the Department of Education’s continuing efforts to establish technical standards for describing and finding Internet educational materials, coordinate digital reference services and develop cutting-edge portal gateways to a broad range of online education resources. The new project will better enable the department to assist the growing digital library and education portal communities, and help the education community make effective use of the Internet to improve teaching and learning.
The Information Institute of Syracuse (http://iis.syr.edu) is the umbrella organization for a number of highly visible and widely successful digital education information services. The institute fulfills an ambitious agenda of projects to improve learning and teaching across the United States and throughout the world.
The School of Information Studies at Syracuse University is a leading center for innovative programs in information policy, information behavior, information management, information systems, information technology and information services. The school has professional degree programs at the undergraduate and master’s levels and a research degree at the doctoral level. The school also has a distance education program at the graduate level.
Officially chartered in 1870 as a private, coeducational institution of higher education, Syracuse University is a leading student-centered research university. Syracuse’s 11 schools and colleges share a common mission: to promote learning through teaching, research, scholarship, creative accomplishment and service while embracing the core values of quality, caring, diversity, innovation and service. The 680-acre campus is home to more than 18,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and 90 countries.