Story Starters

LogoWe’re in the process of developing a service called “Story Starters.” It is sort of a fun idea that grew out of an immediate need. The immediate need was a way to connect Blogs with our QABuilder software. Where we’ve ended up (for now) is a general blog starting service. A person or organization posts some list of items they want to be blogged about, and from within blogging software (WordPress to start with), can browse lists and pick the ones they want to blog about. The resulting blog entries are then aggregated and sent back to the posting agent…read more to see why this might be useful.
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NISO Rises from the Ashes

So as I mentioned I’m working on linking blogging and digital reference, and trying to figure out how to pass messages between the two without doing a major re-work on QABuilder. Then it hit me (I’m slow sometimes)…this is what we built NISO AZ to do, and why we integrated it into QABuilder. It should be a simple matter to get questions and answers into QABuilder using NISO AZ.
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Gateway to Educational Materials Portal to Expand

Information Institute of Syracuse forms transition team to manage and develop new web site features and member services

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Syracuse Mar 25, 2005 The Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM), already one of the Internetâ??s most popular destination web sites for teachers, will introduce new options and services in the coming months designed to provide better searching, added flexibility and personal interaction, according to officials from the Information Institute of Syracuse, GEMâ??s home since 1996. The new features are part of a reorganization process that will also improve and expand services to groups hosting or contributing to the rapidly growing collection of high quality lesson plans, reference materials, and other exemplary educational resources.

Originally developed with funding by the United States Department of Education, GEM has grown from a collection of 700 lesson plans in 1998 to a digital library featuring over 42,000 resources today from over 700 providers including PBS, NASA, The Smithsonian and many others. The GEM websiteâ??s popularity among teachers is due to the quality of resources it houses, its organization of educational materials, and search technologies that provide much more precise and relevant results for teachers than general Internet search engines.

â??The Gatewayâ??s success and growth over the past three years encouraged us to reconsider how the project should be funded and managed,â?? noted R. David Lankes, director of the Information Institute of Syracuse. â??We need to transition to a consortium model that embraces a wide range of funding sources, that facilitates rapid development of new technologies and capabilities, and that reflects an increasing emphasis on academic standards as an integral part of the Gatewayâ??s search and retrieval functions,â?? he continued.

The transition to the next version of The Gateway to Education Materials Portal will be directed by the GEM Exchange, a partnership of JES & Co., a non-profit organization with extensive experience in academic standards and organizational management, the Information Institute of Syracuse, and the Information School at the University of Washington, who will continue to oversee the development of new services provided by the Gateway on behalf of the consortium members. The next release will include an individual personalization space for teachers and the ability to create and share information about the available resources including alignment to state and national standards. Access to the GEM portal by teachers will continue to be free.

For more information, see, or visit JES & Co.â??s website at

Nicholson and Lankes’ Research to be Featured at ALA


Nicholson and Lankes’ Research to be Featured at ALA
By: Virtual Dave on: Mon 24 of Jan, 2005 [07:45] (325 reads)

Nicholson and Lankes’ work in digital reference knowledge bases and the Digital Reference Electronic Warehouse (DREW) will be one of three research projects presented at the RUSA Research Roundtable.

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From the letter of acceptance:

The RUSA Reference Services Section’s Research & Statistics Committee has selected your paper proposal to be one of three presented at the 2005 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois. The committee was very impressed with your submission and we’re looking forward to having you on the program.

Lankes Part of IMLS Study Team

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has announced an award of $994,369 to a team of researchers at University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, Syracuse University, SLA, ARL and ASIS&T for a national research study on the future of librarians in the workforce. The two-year study will identify the nature of anticipated labor shortages in the library and information science (LIS) field over the next decade; assess the number and types of library and information science jobs that will become available in the U.S. either through retirement or new job creation; determine the skills that will be required to fill such vacancies; and recommend effective approaches to recruiting and retaining workers to fill them.

Lankes to be a provisional member of a TRB study into transportation information infrastructure.

The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Science has invited Lankes to be a provisional member of a TRB study into transportation information infrastructure. The study will:

“…provide strategic advice to the federal government and the states regarding a sustainable administrative structure and funding mechanism for meeting the information services needs of the transportation sector. The committee will define the core services that need to be provided, identify how they should be provided, and suggest options for funding.”

Lankes Opens Workbench

There is a long tradition of scientists â??going to the benchâ?? to conduct hands on experiments to flesh out a theory and gain invaluable empirical evidence. In that light, Lankes launches a new feature on his website, the Research Workbench. This section of the site will provide access to ongoing experiments and ideas in their very earliest stages.

This area is part of Lankesâ?? â??open effortâ?? initiative. The workbench, in conjunction with â??Ideaâ?? postings to his blog are attempts to share ideas at their earliest stages of development with the research and practice communities. The hope is to spur ongoing conversations about digital library and digital reference research and development.

Currently â??on the benchâ?? are the Bibliomancer, a digital reference based search engine, and information on the Bibliocasting podcasting listserv.