SMETE-Lib Workshop July 21 to 23, 1998

National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA

Topic 2: Priorities for the SMETE Library

The agenda for the workshop concentrates on two topics, which have been identified by the Steering Committee and the staff of the National Science Foundation. The topic that will be addressed by the second set of breakout groups is:

The first breakout session listed many options for the SMETE Library and their educational impact. Since it is not possible to address all these options at the same time, what should be the priorities? What should be done first and why? It is particularly important to identify those features that have high priority because other features depend upon them.

Here are some of the issues that might be considered by the breakout groups. This is not an exhaustive list, and the breakout groups are invited to add or modify the topics.


A large, coordinated project, such as the SMETE Library, can be more than the sum of its parts. Are there separate activities that SMETE can bring together? Are there existing, fragmented activities that can be combined as the initial nucleus of SMETE?

Enthusiasm and imagination

How can SMETE build on the enthusiasm and imagination that the best faculty and students bring to education?

Building on existing efforts

Many desirable developments are already happening and will take place without the SMETE Library. If something will happen anyway, there is no need for a new initiative. Conversely, the core funding for the SMETE Library will come from the NSF and should concentrate on activities that will not happen without NSF funding.

Educational value

What are the most serious problems with existing educational resources on the World Wide Web and elsewhere? What can the libraries do that will increase their educational value and impact? What are the pivotal needs that can best be addressed by NSF's leadership?

Long term sustainability

The SMETE Library is intended to be a permanent part of the educational landscape in the United States. What can be done now that builds for the long term?


The reports from these breakout groups complete the workshop. Ideally, the session will articulate one or more strategies to create a digital library framework for scientific education, that will provide immediate benefit, with high potential to enhance the quality of education in the long term.