Proc. of Digital Libraries '94 (Texas A&M University, College Station, TX) 74-79. Also available at http://atg1.WUSTL.edu/DL94
This proposal describes our plan, called QUEST (QUery Environment for Science Teaching), to meet the challenge proposed by these visionary thinkers. While we cannot perfect digital libraries within our four year multidisciplinary effort, we believe that our ten research projects and the ambitious testbed development, implementation and evaluation with active users will identify fruitful paths. Our design for QUEST emerged from a novel concept of future libraries, the communities they serve, and a theory of visual information seeking. We are dedicated to universal access and diverse usage, to enabling patrons to become contributors, and to facilitating retrieval and discovery. QUEST will contain massive multimedia resources and will be accessible by the many networks in the National Information Infrastructure. The contents will be automatically analyzed and indexed, thereby facilitating search by users who achieve mastery over the advanced user interfaces that we develop. To realize these goals, we have formulated ten interlocking QUEST research projects: four dealing with building and six with querying. These projects take advantage of established research expertise and reach beyond current paradigms. Our choice of research projects was guided by a desire to produce foundational results that are widely applicable. To validate the outcome of these research projects we will build an extensive testbed, and evaluate its efficacy with our identified user community. QUEST will meet critical library needs of students enrolled in the major testbed site - Prince George's Public Schools, one of the most multiculturally and socio-economically diverse regions in the country, located next to the Northeast sector of Washington, DC. QUEST will provide trained science teachers with networking and query subsystems, allowing them access to information with which to engage and motivate their students in problem-solving science projects_beyond anything possible in today's schools.