NEW TECHNOLOGY SETS INTERNATIONAL STANDARD FOR ONLINE EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS
In the two years since the Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM) project launched its virtual card catalog on the World Wide Web, the leading-edge technology and methodology developed by GEM researchers at Syracuse University has set the national standard for the collection and dissemination of educational resources on the Internet. GEM was recently cited as the model by which projects funded under the National Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education Digital Library program would be judged. In its request for proposals last February, the National Science Foundation encouraged applicants to coordinate their collections and services with the GEM project. Educators and nonprofit and commercial organizations in the United States and Canada have sought the expertise of GEM researchers.
GEM (www.thegateway.org) is a special project of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology, which is affiliated with the School of Information Studies. Both projects are part of the Information Institute of Syracuse. GEM, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, was designed to provide educators with easy access to thousands of Internet-based educational materials. “GEM tools give teachers and students timesaving methods for finding high-quality lesson plans mapped to local and state standards,” says information studies professor R. David Lankes, director of the Information Institute. “We see GEM increasingly leveraging its strengths and expertise for the nation’s entire educational system.”
In January, GEM formed a partnership with the MCI WorldCom Foundation to apply GEM’s technology to MCI WorldCom’s MarcoPolo project (www.wcom.com/marcopolo). MarcoPolo is a partnership between the foundation and six educational organizations created to produce discipline-specific educational content on the web for educators, parents, and children. “We are extremely proud and gratified that GEM was chosen by the MCI WorldCom Foundation for this collaborative effort,” Lankes says. “The GEM project has earned the respect of the world educational community for its metadata—‘data about data’—technology.”
GEM’s role in the project is to install search engine technology that enables users to search all six MarcoPolo partner sites from the MarcoPolo home page. GEM also unifies the educational resources into a single cataloging system. “The researchers who maintain the MarcoPolo site were looking for a way to pull all of the partner sites into one system,” says Nancy Morgan G’93, GEM project coordinator. “They came to us because of our digital cataloging experience and because they liked the Gateway.”
GEM also benefits from the partnership with MCI WorldCom, Morgan says. All of the resources on the MarcoPolo sites are accessible from the GEM Gateway. The Gateway currently includes more than 7,300 educational resources from the collections of 177 consortium members. “The concept of creating metadata is fairly new,” Morgan says. “We now have the tools to create specialty databases and specialty search engines that enable people to find resources that cannot be found using standard, Internet-based search engines.”
SYRACUSE LAW REVIEW CELEBRATES 50 YEARS OF SERVICE TO THE LEGAL COMMUNITY
For 50 years, the Syracuse Law Review has been a source of pride for the College of Law and a prestigious honor for its staff—SU’s top law students. “A law review is a unique organization,” says Editor-in-Chief Roy Gutterman G’00. “It’s an honor society, a book publisher, and legal scholarship all in one entity. The work is what many lawyers end up doing: research, writing, fact-checking. It’s useful for anybody who’s going into law.”
College of Law Dean Daan Braveman notes that, in the first Law Review’s foreword, Dean Paul Shipman Andrews outlined several expectations for the new publication: It should contribute to the law field and legal scholarship, be of aid and interest to the practicing lawyer, add to the prestige of the college and University, and serve as a tool for training law students in research and writing. “Those who pioneered the first issue would be pleased to learn that throughout its history, the Syracuse Law Review has met the challenges, achieving each of the stated goals,” Braveman says.
The quarterly legal journal comprises three general interest legal reviews and the Survey of New York Law, which tracks the latest developments in areas ranging from administrative law to zoning and land use. Each of the three general interest books contains two heavily documented articles and an essay, written by law professors, scholars, and practicing lawyers. There also are two articles written by the Law Review staff.
Students are eligible for Law Review membership after their first year of law school. The top 10 percent of the class is automatically invited to join the staff. Others become eligible through an annual writing competition, from which the top 14 students are selected. Gutterman says about 40 students are selected from each class, and they perform editing and fact-checking duties, and verify legal citations.
The golden anniversary was commemorated at an April banquet. The fourth book of Volume 50, published last spring, was dedicated to the anniversary. “We contacted a number of Law Review alumni, and they wrote the articles,” Gutterman says. “Most are on major developments in the law in the last 50 years as seen by professors and lawyers whose expertise is in the topic area.” SU law professors Peter Herzog G’55 and Thomas J. Maroney G’63 were among the alumni returning to the publication’s pages for the special edition.
Gutterman notes the publication has grown substantially over the years, in both physical size and scope. The first edition—published in 1949 and dedicated to Edmund H. Lewis G’09, who became chief judge of New York State—was a relatively slim tome of 540 pages. “Today we publish more than 1,000 pages per volume,” Gutterman says. “The Survey of New York Law used to be roughly a dozen articles about historical topics of law. Now it covers 20 topics, and the articles are about areas of law people didn’t even think about 50 years ago. It’s a more complicated world nowadays.”