Educators of all levels and students studying education will be interested in using GEM the Gateway to Educational Materials. Librarians interested in the developments of cataloging the World Wide Web should also look at this resource. Beginning in 1996 and sponsored by the National Library of Education and U.S. Department of Education, GEM is a joint project led by Michael Eisenberg, Director of the ERIC Clearinghouse, along with Stuart Sutton and Ruth Small of Syracuse University's School of Information Studies. Eisenberg says "The project's goal is to provide a new set of tools to get information into the hands of educators quickly and easily so children can learn". GEM accomplishes this easily and is gaining strength with each additional resource.
GEM is a consortium effort to collect, catalog and upload educational materials from government, non-profit and commercial sites into a one-stop searchable GEM Gateway for educators. As of August 1999 the GEM Consortium included one hundred and thirteen organizations and thirteen individuals. The Gateway included over six thousand Internet educational resources divided into eighteen resource types from forty collections. The Gateway is searchable using the PLWeb a product developed by Personal Library Software (Ask ERIC also uses this software). It is browsable by both keyword and subject lists with help available on each search page. Comments and feedback can be sent via a "Tell us what you think" button located on many of the GEM web pages. Materials are accepted from individuals by the GEM Administrative Group based on GEM criteria of authoritativeness, significance, and availability and then cataloged by the resource creator using GEMCat tools located under the Workbench section of the web site. Cataloging and searching is enhanced by the use of the GEM profile that is a Dublin Core based meta-data element set with an added 15 elements designed by GEM. GEM designers have also added 6 sets of controlled vocabularies to work with these elements. The end result is a virtual catalog of educational resources that teachers can search by traditional access points as well as student grade level, special needs and other criteria.
Consortium members include the GEM Users Group; organizations that use and promote GEM and the GEM Collection Holders; organizations who have collections that are or will be added to the GEM Gateway. To participate in the GEM Consortium interested organizations can contact GEM using the application form located under GEM's participation page www.geminfo.org/Participation/index.html
University of Rhode Island