Schwerdtfeger Library News -- July 2003

Schwerdtfeger Library News - July 2003

By Jean Phillips



Schwerdtfeger Library Receives Grant

The Schwerdtfeger Library is the recipient of a grant from the Friends of the UW-Madison Libraries which will be used to process and preserve Verner Suomi's papers. Dr. Suomi left behind a wealth of information and history in the form of his papers, correspondence, committee work, awards, inventions and patents. Library staff will organize his papers and create a web-accessible database, provide some materials in full-text where copyright allows, and transfer all files to environmentally sound storage.

Suomi's papers have already been used to compile a Meteorological Satellite History, a subset collection of papers, letters and memos documenting the history, major programs and policy decisions of those early years. His files are routinely consulted to answer reference questions and were recently used by NASA to document the history of atmospheric science research. Their use will increase once they are more readily available. This collection is an important contribution to the history of atmospheric science by one of its key players.

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U.S. Government Geospatial Data Portal Released

On June 30, 2003, the U.S. government launched its Internet portal allowing users to share geographic information. The goal of is to provide one-stop access to maps, data and other geospatial services. It is one of 24 electronic data-sharing initiatives announced by President Bush in August 2001 intended to set common standards for geospatial data and make access to that data faster, easier and cheaper.

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Science Policy: Measure Calls for Wider Access to Federally Financed Research

Should the results of research financed by taxpayers be freely available to all? Congressman Martin Olav Sabo (D-MN) introduced the Public Access to Science Act (H.R. 2613 or PASA) of 2003 on June 26. The act would amend copyright law to require federally funded research be made available to the public. The Minneapolis
Congressman said, "Common sense dictates we provide the most cutting-edge research to all who may benefit from it - especially when they've already paid for it with their tax dollars, and my legislation will do just that."

H.R. 2613 would require research substantially funded by the federal government to be made available in the public domain. Sabo indicated today's advances in science and medicine, combined with the Internet's capability to disseminate information far and wide, make the applicability of his legislation all the more timely. "The United States government funds basic research with the intention and the belief that the new ideas and discoveries that result will improve the lives and welfare of the people at home and around the world," explained Sabo." Our government spends $45 billion a year to support scientific and medical research whose product is new knowledge for the public
benefit. Via the Internet, it could be made available to everyone at home, work or a public library. We must remember that government funded research belongs to, and should be readily available to, every person in the United States." "It defies logic to collectively pay for our medical research, only to privatize its profitability and
availability," Sabo concluded. [26 June 2003: Press Release from Rick Jauert, aid to Congressman Sabo]

A group called the Public Library of Science, which includes scientists, doctors, and researchers supports the proposed legislation."The group's objective is an open system of scientific publishing that would bypass the current system, which centers on journals that charge, through their subscriptions, for access to results. The measure places results of research financed primarily by the government into the public domain so access cannot be prohibited by copyright," said Dr. Michael B. Eisen, a co-founder of the library, and a biologist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The bill also calls on federal agencies to improve access to their research results.

Read the Public Library of Science (PLoS) News for other reporting on this issue.

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Finding Information Published by NASA

The CASI Technical Report Server (CASI TRS) contains selected bibliographic citations and abstracts of NASA produced technical reports and aerospace-related open literature, and citations from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) collection dating to 1915. The complete report or article for citations in the
CASI TRS are available for purchase in hardcopy or microfiche from the NASA Center for AeroSpace Information. Most of the literature is not available on-line.

The CASI TRS is part of the online resources available from the NASA STI Office and the NASA Technical Report Server (NTRS). The NTRS collects scientific and technical information from NASA's technical report servers and non-NASA sites using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH).

Contact the Library for help finding government reports or any other technical literature.

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AAAS Launches Public Outreach Initiative Focused on Science Literacy

"Science. It's Everywhere" is the message of a new public outreach initiative announced earlier this month by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Designed to help parents and families play a more active role in their children's science education, the Partnership for Science Literacy initiative includes television, radio, magazine, and newspaper advertising endorsed by the Advertising Council and a web site to help motivate parents and families to take action in helping their children learn science. The initiative focuses special attention on minority and Hispanic audiences and will feature Spanish language versions of the web site and other materials.

Funded by the National Science Foundation through a grant to AAAS's science education initiative, Project 2061, the Partnership for Science Literacy is a collaborative effort involving AAAS and many other organizations. The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) supports the effort and is helping to spread the news about the campaign. The initiative's web site is hosted by and offers great information for parents and others, including a brochure, "Family Guide to Science." Visit the web site at

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Madison Public Library Booklists

Looking for something to read this summer but would like a recommendation? Staff of the Madison Public Library have created a series of booklists for everything from "beyond bestsellers" to the "100 best women writers" to"World War II fiction." Many of the lists include annotations.

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