NSDL Documentation Wiki

Announcement: The operation of NSDL has been transferred to ISKME's OER Commons (effective December, 2014) - Read the news release.

This documentation describes the policies, procedures, and services that existed while NSDL was operated by UCAR.

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titleNote to developers: The Strand Map Service has Moved!

As of December 2014, the SMS APIs have moved to a new location.

The JavaScript API is now located at:
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://strandmaps.dls.ucar.edu/cms1-2/jsapi/maps?api=v1"></script>

The CSIP API baseURL is now located at:

Please update your client implementations to point to this new location. The old location at strandmaps.nsdl.org/cms1-2 will be retired in early 2015.


The Strand Map Service (SMS) APIs provide the ability to embed interactive strand map interfaces into Web sites and other applications - see the NSDL Science Literacy Maps for an example. The Javascript API lets developers insert interactive Strand Maps into Web pages and customize the maps in a number of ways, and the CSIP REST API lets developers search and navigate the Strand Map information space and access object's metadata and visualizations in a number of formats including XML, JSON, OWLLite, SVG, PDF, PNG, TIFF, and JPEG.


The SMS is produced by researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder and Digital Learning Sciences, and is based on the strand maps developed by Project 2061 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science and published in the Atlas of Science Literacy, Volumes 1 and 2 (2001 and 2007, AAAS Project 2061 and the National Science Teachers Association). The Benchmarks for Science Literacy and all other AAAS content copyright American Association for the Advancement of Science, all rights reserved.



What's Happening

See it in Action

Latest Releases

SMS v1.2.9

Development Team

  • Tamara Sumner, Executive Director and Associate Professor
    • DLS, Institute of Cognitive Science - University of Colorado at Boulder
  • John Weatherley, NSDL Technical Lead
    • DLS and NSDL at UCAR
  • Sharon Clark, Web Developer
    • DLS and NSDL at UCAR
  • Lynne Davis, HCI Engineer and Instructional Designer
    • DLS at UCAR

Get Involved

  • For suggestions, questions, and more information, please send your inquiry to NSDL via the contact form


  • Overview - Overview of the SMS technology including how to harvest the benchmarks using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting.
  • Javascript API - The JavaScript API lets developers insert interactive Strand Maps into Web pages and place custom content into the maps.
  • CSIP REST API - The Concept Space Interchange Protocol (CSIP) REpresentational State Transfer (REST) API lets developers search and navigate objects and visualizations in the the Strand Map information space. Developers can access objects in the concept map space in number of formats including XML, OWLLite, SVG, PDF, PNG, TIFF, and JPEG.
  • Resource Alignment - How to align resources to benchmarks so they will be discoverable from the Science Literacy Maps.
  • Technical Training - All available technical training documentation including an FAQ.



  • Javascript enabled browser


  • Requirements are dependent on intent. Since the API is called from a central location on NSDL servers, it is possible to make a functional interface with a server to host the webpage, HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. More complex functionality may require a server-side web technologies and/or a database. For more information see theSMS JavaScript API implementation instructionsand theexample instructions and the example code.

Additional Information