ERIC gets $34.6 million upgrade

Existing ERIC database

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The Education Department will spend $34.6 million to overhaul its nearly 40-year-old bibliographic database known as ERIC.

Computer Sciences Corp. will receive payment for consolidating ERIC's resources into a single database, creating a new search engine and offering access to the full text of articles.

ERIC, which stands for the Education Resources Information Center, is a repository of 16 separate clearinghouses for educational journals and abstracts. Under a five-year contract, CSC will work with technology subcontractors from CurrenTech Inc., DB Consulting Group Inc., Natech Corp. and Research Triangle Institute to revamp and run the system for the department.

Education Secretary Rod Paige said the ERIC modernization project would help the No Child Left Behind education initiative by providing Internet access to the most current research about education.

Initial work on the project will begin this month and be completed later this year, Education officials said.

The department says it will ask for ideas from educators, education researchers and the public on how to improve ERIC. Improvements already planned include creating electronic mechanisms for acquisition and copyright clearance. Although many education research materials are free, the new database will also offer links to commercial resources that education researchers can buy online.

Researchers can go online to submit unpublished conference papers for inclusion in the new database. As a rule, new articles and journals will be added to the database within a month of their release, an improvement over current update procedures, officials said. The repository of education literature includes more than a million bibliographic entries.

Last December, the department discontinued its support for AskERIC, a Web site and question-and-answer service for educators. But Syracuse University has agreed to continue the service under a new name, the Educator's Reference Desk, at www.eduref.org.

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