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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The Strand Map Service (SMS) provides an interactive graphical interface that helps K-12 teachers and students understand the relationships between science concepts and how they build upon one another across grade levels. The interactive maps are generated through a Web 2.0 JavaScript API or REST API that lets developers embed the maps in Web sites and display educational resources and other information in the maps.

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).

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

API Overview

Prerequisites End-user

  • Javascript enabled browser DeveloperRequirements 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 code.


  • Overview - Overview of the SMS technology including how to harvest the benchmarks using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting.
  • Javascript API - The SMS JavaScript API lets Web developers insert interactive Strand Maps into Web pages using JavaScript and place custom content into the maps.
  • CSIP REST API - The Concept Space Interchange Protocol (CSIP) is a REpresentational State Transfer (REST) service API that lets developers search through concept maps and find digital library resource supporting concept maps. Developers can access concept maps in number of formats e.g. 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.

Examples and Demos in Use

Additional Information



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