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Downloading science

Community content now available on iTunes

iTunes may be best known as a place to download music and videos, but the Apple software offers more than the latest pop hit.

At iTunes U, users can access more than 30,000 audio and video files from colleges and universities around the country, encompassing everything from tutorials on physics to video lectures on global affairs. The Beyond Campus section includes material from museums, public radio and television stations, and other educational organizations. Users can search, download, and play all content for free.


In early March, the NSF-funded National Science Digital Library (NSDL), whose core integration office is based at UCAR, jumped into the fray. NSDL now offers a variety of material on iTunes U drawn from UCAR/NCAR and UCAR members. Users can download a teacher’s guide on the Sun-Earth connection, listen to a podcast about Project BudBurst (see the winter 2007–08 UCAR Quarterly), or watch NCAR scientist Kevin Trenberth explain the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change process.

The NSDL site on iTunes U saw more than 54,000 visitors in its first month, according to Susan Van Gundy, who led the initiative along with colleagues in NSDL and UCAR Communications. She hopes to add new material to iTunes as frequently as possible, including a series of video podcasts related to the International Polar Year.

University partners who have multimedia material that may be appropriate for inclusion on the site are encouraged to contact Van Gundy (, 303-497-2946).

To access NSDL’s content on iTunes, follow the link provided at Or launch iTunes software (for PC or Mac), enter the iTunes Store, and look for iTunes U. The heading “National Science Digital Library” is listed under “Beyond Campus.” Alternatively, enter “NSDL” or “NCAR” in the search box to go directly to those content areas. ♦


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