MatDL: Integrating Digital Libraries into Scientific Practice

Laura M. Bartolo, Cathy S. Lowe, Louis Z. Feng, Brook Patten


Digital repositories can be catalysts for new knowledge by providing information space and tools to facilitate the work of students, educators, or scientists. The NSF NSDL Materials Digital Library (MatDL) is adapting existing open source "tools", such as an image gallery and a version control system, to meet the needs of users within the materials science community. The tools are being modified to make submission to MatDL an easy step within a user's existing workflow and to avoid redundant effort. These satellite services provided by MatDL are intended to become an integral part of the user's "laboratory or workspace". The paper investigates whether digital repositories can expand their communities and collections by building tools that integrate a digital repository into researchers' workspaces. In the long term, it is anticipated that making submissions to MatDL an easy part of users' regular workflow will increase the likelihood that users will submit resources to the repository. Ultimately, the goal of integrating a repository into users' workspaces is to enhance the impact between research and education. Initial experience of providing these tools and responding to user feedback through MatDL is discussed.

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