2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 10:00 AM


AIVAZIAN, Bryan L., DWEL Project Manager, Natrona County School District, 1425 S. Ash, Casper, WY 82601, GEARY, Edward, CSMATE, Colorado State Univ, SUMNER, Tammy, Department of Computer Science, Univ of Colorado - Boulder, IRETON, Shirley and KHOO, Mick, Department of Communication, Univ of Colorado - Boulder, bryana@trib.com

The Digital Water Education Library (DWEL) is a collection project that supports the Digital Library for Earth Systems Education (DLESE). The focus of the DWEL project is to locate and catalog a minimum of 500 “exemplary” K-12 water resources (scientific, economic, and policy) that can be used to investigate and learn about important water concepts, processes, and issues.

The idea for a DWEL collection grew out of a real need voiced from the K-12 education user community at the 2000 DLESE Annual Meeting. Quick access to the “best of the best” was a trait that many K-12 teachers identified as a desirable attribute of a useful digital library collection. Since education today has taken a strong emphasis on meeting standards, providing search capabilities on the national education standards was another identified community need. An informal needs-assessment of K-12 teachers identified water as a major concept that has wide application to teaching and learning at a variety grade-levels and subject areas.

The DWEL project utilizes small groups of teachers and informal educators working together to create a targeted, comprehensive collection. Although the greater user community does not contribute directly to cataloging resources for inclusion into the collection, they are critical in suggesting sites for consideration, reviewing products of the formal working groups, and evaluating overall progress of the project and character of the emerging collection. The ultimate purpose of this project is to develop a collection that has strong community guidance, even though the actual evaluation and cataloging effort is conducted only by a few dedicated volunteers from the education community.

The resulting collection will address many needs of the user community. At the most direct level, users will be able to access resources by concept (key word searches) grade level, and resource type (text, data set, image, etc.), but in doing so they will only be searching a relatively small, highly focused, collection. At another level, the organizational lessons learned related to collection building will hopefully serve as guides for additional collections. And finally, the content and structure of the DWEL collection has real potential to guide future curriculum development efforts.