A Vision for the NSDL
Howard Burrows, NSDL Policy Committee
The National Science Digital Library is launching a new industry, a knowledge industry, that relates to curiosity in the way the food industry relates to hunger. Like the food industry, the knowledge industry satisfies basic human needs, providing cures for disease and solutions to critical problems. Analogous to haute cuisine's elegant wines and fine pastries, the knowledge industry also has the ability to arouse uniquely human capacities, in this case capacities for scholarship and creativity leading to achievements of profound intellectual grace and beauty.
In the new NSDL knowledge industry, seeds of new ideas are planted and nurtured by the community of learners, scientists, and teachers. The resulting new knowledge provides a trained workforce and an informed citizenry; in turn, the new and renewed understanding generates new and improved policies and products. The return from this value is reinvested through NSDL to support a full knowledge production chain including students and teachers, mathematicians, technologists, engineers, and scientists.
The NSDL is a marketplace for education and research in STEM fields that brings the knowledge worker into the burgeoning information economy. This new library is more than a repository of knowledge, it is the transaction environment through which we organize questions and debate possible answers. This new marketplace elevates inspired learners who receive the esteem and rewards formerly reserved for our inspired sports figures, musicians, and film stars.