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Digital Library for Earth System Education
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Welcome to the Digital Library for Earth System Education

A free service

Thank you for your interest in DLESE. This overview is intended to provide you with very general information about DLESE and the library's organization. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions. Please direct them to support@dlese.org.

What is DLESE?
Major areas of the site
A brief guide to searching the library
FAQ page


What is DLESE?

DLESE is the Digital Library for Earth System Education, a free resource that supports teaching and learning about the Earth system. DLESE's development was funded by the National Science Foundation and continues to be built by a distributed community of educators, students, and scientists to support Earth system education at all levels.

DLESE is operated by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Computational and Information Systems Laboratory and the NCAR Library on behalf of the education community.

DLESE provides:

Resources in DLESE include lesson plans, scientific data, visualizations, interactive computer models, and virtual field trips - in short, any web-accessible teaching or learning material. Many of these resources are organized in collections, or groups of related resources that reflect a coherent, focused theme. In many ways, digital collections are analogous to collections in traditional libraries.

All resources in DLESE have been contributed by community members, are relevant to Earth system education, and are checked periodically for technical stability. The Reviewed Collection includes those DLESE resources that have been more closely examined and are considered exemplary.

Finally, DLESE serves as the geoscience pathway in the National Science Digital Library (NSDL). NSDL serves the broader communities of science, technology, engineering, and math education.


Major areas of the site (accessible via the golden tabs at the top of each page)

Educational Resources

This area is devoted to finding and reviewing library resources and contributing resources, collections, or services.

Earth Science Literacy Maps

This area is a tool for teachers and students to find resources that relate to specific Earth science concepts. These maps illustrate connections between concepts and how they build upon one another across grade levels. Clicking on a concept within the maps will show DLESE resources related to the concept, as well as information about related AAAS Project 2061 Benchmarks and National Science Education Standards.

For Developers

This area features a detailed discussion of the DLESE metadata framework, information on DLESE's integration with the National Science Digitial Library, documentation on how to use DLESE's web service, and downloadable tools to help build, manage, and share a DLESE collection.


A location that documents DLESE policies, and archives key documents about DLESE. It also provides links to ways the science education community can help with DLESE outreach and how to contact DLESE staff.


A brief guide to searching the library

What do you get when you search DLESE?

The value of DLESE is in its careful descriptions of its resources and services. These descriptions are created by Earth system educators, scientists, and librarians. These descriptions are analogous to the ones you find in your local library. DLESE descriptions also include grade-level, technical requirements, creator, publisher, and for a subset of the collection, educational standards.

A search in DLESE is easy. In response to your search, you get a set of descriptions of materials that match the criteria you searched over. These descriptions let you quickly decide which resource will best meet your needs. Then you can follow a link to the resource. Although DLESE doesn't host any resources, we do check to be sure that the resources remain accessible and functional.

DLESE Reviewed Collection

As you view your search results, you may see a DRC DLESE Reviewed Collection Icon icon beside some of the resources. This indicates that they have successfully passed through DLESE's review system (the DLESE Reviewed Collection or DRC). The DRC highlights those resources that have been peer-reviewed and are considered exemplary.

How do you set criteria for searching? What criteria can you set?

Home page search

To do the most basic search, just type a keyword or two in the text box (as shown below), then click the Search button.

Screen capture of the front page search

Refining a search on the home page or the search results page

You can narrow your search to specific criteria. These criteria include: grade level, resource type (e.g., classroom activity versus illustration), collection, and standards (currently, the National Science Education Standards and the National Geography Standards). To refine your search from the home page, use the blue drop-down menus in the search box. Click Search and the results page will display. As you add criteria on the search results page, your selections will appear in the gold bar immediately below the blue drop-down menus.

Screen capture of the search results page

Search tips

Here's some basic information on conducting a search:

For more help, please see the search tips page.

How are results ordered?

Resources from the DLESE Reviewed Collection are displayed first, followed by those that are most relevent to your search. You can change any of your criteria on the results page and redo your search.



Frequently Asked Questions

Top   Last February 18, 2011.