Federal

ERIC Education Library’s New Look Debuts Online

By Debra Viadero — September 28, 2004 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The newly revamped version of the nation’s largest electronic education library quietly made its debut this month, with promises of more offerings to come from the federal project.

In what the Department of Education called a move to upgrade and streamline the 39-year-old Educational Resources Information Center, the department last December shut down the 16 clearinghouses that once made up the ERIC system’s backbone. (“ERIC Clearinghouses Close; New System in Works,” Jan. 14, 2004.) In place of that far-flung system, the department has erected a more centralized one that operates like popular commercial Web-search engines such as Google and Yahoo.

Visit the newly re-launched Education Resources Information Center, from the U.S. Department of Education.

The new system, which went online Sept. 1, is essentially a bare-bones operation so far. Full texts, for instance, of the 1.1 million reports, articles, speeches, hearings, and other documents housed in ERIC’s massive archives are not yet available.

But department officials say they will add features next month to make the database more useful and user-friendly. The biggest change, set to begin Oct. 1, calls for providing free access to the full texts of 107,000 documents that entered the system after 1993. Under the old system, users paid small fees for full text documents.

“Much of the underpinning for this new system was to make as much full text free as possible,” said Luna L. Levinson, ERIC’s director, who said the department will add more free documents as the system develops.

In its current form, ERIC also provides a free online thesaurus, a feature for which users previously had to pay, and a new function that allows users to save searches and come back to them later. And, while the system still contains all the old ERIC digests summarizing research on particular topics, the department has no plans yet to publish new ones.

New Materials Coming

By December, the system will begin once again to accept new materials. It stopped indexing such materials after the overhaul began this year. Ms. Levinson said the Education Department’s aim is reduce the time it takes for new documents to enter the system from six to eight months after publication under the previous system to one month.

“You’ve basically got everything you had in the old ERIC, but a whole new way of getting to it and getting new materials,” said Phoebe H. Cottingham, the commissioner of the National Center of Educational Evaluation and Regional Assistance in the department’s Institute of Education Sciences.

The department’s plans to centralize ERIC were controversial when they were unveiled last year. Last week, some of the former system’s heaviest users said they were still skeptical of the changes.

“This may be useful for parents or teachers who want to quickly identify a few things,” said Kate Corby, a Michigan State University librarian who has kept close tabs on the renovation. “Right now, it’s not something researchers are going to want to use.”

Ms. Levinson said that reluctance may change after December, when the system introduces more sophisticated descriptions for its search and sorting system.

A version of this article appeared in the September 15, 2004 edition of Education Week as ERIC Education Library’s New Look Debuts Online

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Trauma-Informed Practices & the Construction of the Deep Reading Brain
Join Ryan Lee-James, Ph.D. CCC-SLP, director of the Rollins Center for Language and Literacy, with Renée Boynton-Jarrett, MD, ScD., Vital Village Community Engagement Network; Neena McConnico, Ph.D, LMHC, Child Witness to Violence Project; and Sondra
Content provided by Rollins Center

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Feds to Probe Whether Texas Ban on School Mask Mandates Violates Disability Rights Laws
The Education Department has already opened investigations in six other states that ban universal school mask requirements.
2 min read
A staff member holds the door open for kids on the first day of school at Goodwin Frazier Elementary School in New Braunfels, Texas on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020.
A staff member holds the door open at Goodwin Frazier Elementary School in New Braunfels, Texas in 2020. This year, Texas has prohibited school districts from requiring all students to wear masks.
Mikala Compton/Herald-Zeitung via AP
Federal New Federal Team to Work on Puerto Rico School Improvement, Oversight
The Puerto Rico Education Sustainability Team will focus on creating better learning environments and improving financial management.
3 min read
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visits the Emilio Delgado School in Corozal on June 30, 2021 during a visit to Puerto Rico.
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visits the Emilio Delgado School in Corozal on June 30, 2021 during a visit to Puerto Rico.
Teresa Canino Rivera/GDA via AP
Federal Pandemic Tests Limits of Cardona's Collaborative Approach as Education Secretary
He's sought the image of a veteran educator among former peers, but COVID has forced him to take a tough stance toward some state leaders.
10 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter speak to Mia Arias, 10, during their visit to P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021 in New York.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter speak to Mia Arias, 10, during a visit to P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school, last month.
Brittainy Newman/AP
Federal White House Launches Hispanic Education Initiative Led by Miguel Cardona
President Joe Biden said his administration intends to address the "systemic causes" of educational disparities faced by Hispanic students.
2 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona writes down and draws positive affirmations on poster board with students during his visit to P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021 in New York.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visits students in New York City at P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school in the Bronx last month.
Brittainy Newman/AP