NSF/NSDL support 2002-2004
KMODDL was developed with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of the National Science Digital
Library (http://nsdl.org), whose goal is to bring together in one place access to all quality information and learning
resources pertaining to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics for all age levels. KMODDL was conceived
and built in a collaborative effort of Cornell University librarians and faculty in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics.
Professor Francis Moon, curator of Cornell’s Reuleaux Collection of Kinematic Mechanisms and an authority on kinematics
and the history and theory of machines, had long sought Cornell Library’s assistance in making the models more accessible
to the public. Conversations with the Director of Cornell’s Engineering Library, John Saylor (now on leave and serving
as Director of Collection Development for NSDL) led to a project to photograph and catalog the collection, to experiments
with a simple online database, and finally to a proposal to the NSF to build an extensive digital resource that would
return the Reuleaux Collection to its original use – as a set of tools for teaching about mechanical motion.
Moon’s colleague in Mechanical Engineering, Professor Hod Lipson, brought his 21st-century expertise in artificial intelligence, robotics, evolution,
and design automation to the project built on 19th-century machines. Professor David Henderson and Senior Researcher Daina Taimina, Cornell
mathematicians who have collaborated extensively on mathematics education research and teaching, broadened the project perspective by emphasizing
the mathematical significance of Reuleaux’s kinematic mechanisms. John Saylor directed the NSF/NSDL project as Principle Investigator. Kizer Walker,
also of Cornell University Library, served as Project Manager. Library staff supplied programming, metadata, and book digitization expertise.
See K. Walker, et al., “Building a Digital Library of Kinematics,” RLG DigiNews 7.4 (15 Aug. 2003): http://www.rlg.org/preserv/diginews/diginews7-4.html#feature1.