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Learning Across Disciplines: Aerospace Digital Library

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.425.1 - 5.425.11



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Paper Authors

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Marilyn J. Smith

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Bethany Bodo

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2793

Learning Across Disciplines: Aerospace Digital Library

Narayanan Komerath, Marilyn J. Smith and Bethany Bodo Georgia Institute of Technology


The Aerospace Digital Library, is a resource used by learners at all levels, to solve engineering problems by learning across disciplines. At its core is a growing body of basic technical knowledge, used by college students to explore far beyond the normal reaches of engineering courses. A learner-centered gateway, set at the level of a college freshman, links the fundamental logic of technical disciplines. A set of succinct, hyperlinked Concept Engines (CEs) forms the intellectual heart of ADL, giving the learner the best of knowledge as well as information. The CEs are the hubs of ADL, providing natural starting points for knowledge searches, and natural integrators of knowledge. They open exciting avenues of DL research, and a new way of integrating technical knowledge between the classroom and the research leading edge. The beginnings of ADL are in use by students and researchers today, linking to the detailed technical content of over 70 courses across engineering and science, and to a superset of DL resources worldwide. Assessment of the impact of ADL is underway to determine its impact on both graduate and undergraduate learning. The paper describes the genesis, motivation, evolution and opportunities of ADL, including its synthesis, synergistic growth, adaptive guidance, and assessment.

I. Introduction: The Genesis of ADL

Professor Hawking1 succinctly identifies the conflict between breadth and depth that limits curricular advancement in technical disciplines. The Aerospace Digital Library (ADL) seeks to accelerate out of this predicament. The ADL is a growing resource that enables learners to solve problems that span many disciplines. The DL in this context2 is a resource which helps the human mind do what it does best: acquire, comprehend and condense knowledge, debate its validity, organize and save links to its sources, identify its relevance, find it quickly and accurately, and use it to solve problems. ADL originated in the School of Aerospace Engineering (AE) at Georgia Tech, where the needs for cross-disciplinary learning, and the limitations of present systems, are keenly felt at all levels of the curriculum and research. AE is ideal for such an experiment, being rich in cross-disciplinary issues, and focused on vertical and horizontal integration of innovative systems.

Figure 1: Knowledge across disciplines is crucial to reach grand aims. Mars habitat, courtesy NASA HEDS.

Smith, M. J., & Bodo, B. (2000, June), Learning Across Disciplines: Aerospace Digital Library Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8535

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