This proposal will capitalize on innovations in shared viewing and control over the wide area networks that have been developed under NSF Cooperative Agreement IRI-9216848, "A Scientific Group Communications and Collaborative Testbed for Upper Atmospheric Research," (also called the UARC Project). The techniques for shared viewing and control that have been developed under that grant to support remote science activities will be used in this effort. Turn of the Century Software (TCS), the company that will advise on software design and development and provide system installation and maintence support for this project, is a partnership founded by the principle programmers from the UARC project, Dr. Weymouth and Dr. Rasmussen.
The School of Information and Library Studies (SILS) at the University of Michigan is engaged in numerous interdisciplinary information technology projects designed to develop and increase access to digital libraries. The Digital Library Program (DLP) is a joint undertaking of the University of Michigan Information Technology Division, the University Library, and SILS to address the campus environment for electronic information resources. Selected DLP projects include: Campus Mosaic "Gateway", TULIP (access to selected scientific electronic journals), Electronic Table of Contents Service, and a Social Science Data Interface through MOSAIC. Several advanced classes offered through SILS focus on the Internet, and many students create HTML documents and incorporate the use of MOSAIC, Gopher and other tools into their other classes. Faculty are engaged in organization research on the Internet, and SILS has just received a $4.3 million grant from the WK Kellogg Foundation to continue and increase this work. SILS has also recently received $5 million from the NSF to develop Digital Library technologies with a topic focus on the Earth and Space Sciences. We will work closely with individuals participating in this NSF sponsored project, including Dr. Joan Durrance, a Co-I on this effort, to expand the exposure of Windows to the Universe to the general public at additional sites made available through the NSF project. In addition, we will investigate possible modes of collaboration with Dr. Pat Reiff, PI of the "Creating the Public Connection" project (another NASA CAN funded effort). This effort is also focused on providing Internet access to the Space Sciences in the museum setting.
The University of Michigan is also the home of an NSF funded effort, entitled the "Weather Underground", to link scientists and facilities of the University to a network of teachers and students of primary and secondary education in the State of Michigan. A UNIDATA-based weather display system "Blue SkiesTM", has been created that allows interactive access to weather and environmental images and animations over the Internet. We expect that "Windows to the Universe" will be an extremely valuable expansion in the content areas that are currently developed in "Blue SkiesTM". In view of this obvious synergy, we will work to develop this RSDB application so as to address curriculum content concerns, in conjunction with discussions with the PI (Dr. Samson), Mr. Mastie and colleagues, and to collaborate effectively to the mutual benefit of both projects.