The Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE) is an information system dedicated to the collection, enhancement, and distribution of materials that facilitate learning about the Earth at all educational levels. Connecting together the Earth system and education is a primary DLESE goal.
DLESE supports Earth system education along numerous dimensions by:
The Earth system can be broadly defined as the study of the processes, states, cycles and interactions among the atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere and space from a global to local perspective, across time scales. This includes the application of physical and chemical laws with mathematics to describe physical, chemical and biological processes and interactions of the spheres. DLESE's vision of the Earth system also includes environmental issues in policy, law, economics, health sciences, and engineering.
Education can be broadly defined as the process of learning, researching and teaching information in either formal or informal settings for the purpose of improving understanding. Education also includes making assessments of the understanding gained through learning, researching and teaching.
To support DLESE as an information system, the DLESE collection provides access to Earth system education materials with particular emphasis on interdisciplinary areas. The collection offers access to materials that bring the Earth system into the classroom or learning site, and that demonstrate the application of science to solving real world problems. All geographic areas on Earth are included in the scope of the collection, as well as the atmosphere and the solar system. DLESE users include educators, learners and researchers, at all educational levels, in both formal and informal education settings.
The collection favors materials that meet the goals of the DLESE collection and are well-documented, easy to use, fully operational, motivational for learners, pedagogically effective, scientifically accurate, and that foster mastery of significant understandings or skills. The collection provides access to a broad range of Earth system education materials, such as:
The format of the materials can be text, audio, animation, video, graphical (drawings and diagrams), tabular, visual (including photographic), virtual or real. This collection policy applies to both individual resources and to collections of resources.
DLESE does not hold the resource materials in its collection but provides access to materials by aggregating, organizing and disseminating information about them through discovery and delivery systems. This information is called metadata. DLESE holds this metadata in the form of digital records. These records are organized into groups called collections. Searching over the metadata records provides the access to the Earth system education materials residing across the Internet.
DLESE quality assurance criteria apply to both the resources accessible in its collections and the metadata that describes them. Criteria for resource and metadata requirements and quality are set forth in the DLESE Accessioning and Deaccessioning Policy. To ensure these requirements are met, the DLESE Program Center (DPC) works with collection builders to help them use DLESE metadata formats correctly and to convert their own (native) metadata into the appropriate DLESE metadata format. Metadata quality may vary depending on the method used to generate it and the amount of review a metadata record undergoes before becoming part of the DLESE collection. It is up to the collection builder to develop selection criteria, reasonable quality assurance mechanisms, and scope statements that describe the scope, purpose, and quality of their collections.
Once a collection is part of DLESE, further quality checks are performed. Library items that fail quality checks may be deaccessioned from the library in accordance with the DLESE Accessioning and Deaccessioning Policy. The collection builder is informed of the quality issues and encouraged to make appropriate changes. If DLESE users find errors or have suggestions for improvement for resources or for a collection's metadata, DLESE will share this information with resource creators and/or work with the collection builder involved to make appropriate changes.
The collection is expected to continue growing and remain accessible as long as funding is reliable. Currently, funding is available through August 2007. If the DLESE funding situation changes dramatically enough to impact operations, collection builders will be notified.
Please direct questions about the DLESE collection to firstname.lastname@example.org . Inquiries are answered within 48 hours.