ATE 101: Managing Deliverables

During the course of your project or center's work, you’ll create deliverables: research reports, best practices guidelines, skill standards, and instructional materials, to name a few. These deliverables are a physical manifestation of your organization’s knowledge; as such, they ought to be effectively managed and shared with others. There are a number of options for organizing your resources; you may choose to create a searchable content collection, arrange resources on your web site, or entrust your materials to another group to maintain and disseminate. Your decision about how to best organize and manage your deliverables will depend on a number of factors, including the size of your resource collection, the availability of resources to effectively manage it, your intended audience, and much more.

The ATE Central Resource Portal

ATE Central aims to support projects and centers in managing and disseminating their resources to the ATE and greater STEM communities. The ATE Central resource portal is a free, searchable database containing metadata on the deliverables (data such as title, name of creator, resource type, etc.) created by ATE projects and centers, as well as information about the projects and centers themselves. Some examples of materials from the portal include curriculum, instructional videos, podcasts, journal articles, webinar recordings, conference presentations, and online courses; all were created by and for the advanced technological education community.

To find resources from other ATE initiatives, visit the ATE Central site. The portal can be searched by keyword, faceted search, or by conducting a more advanced search for a particular resource type, format, author, and more. Additionally, ATE Central has categorized the entire collection into seven broad areas:

  • Advanced Manufacturing Technologies (Additive, General, and Automotive)
  • Agricultural and Environmental Technologies (Agriculture / Aquaculture, Energy, Environmental, and Natural Resources)
  • Bio and Chemical Technologies
  • Engineering Technologies (General, Electronics, Marine, Materials, Space and Optics)
  • Information and Security Technologies (Information and Communications, Geospatial, Logistics, Security and Forensics)
  • Micro and Nanotechnologies
  • General Advanced Technological Education (Learning Research, Evaluation, Teacher Preparation, and Recruitment)

ATE Central Tip: Check the ATE Central portal for resources in your field by browsing by ATE Area

You can browse or search each ATE area to find materials that might be useful to you as your project or center matures; browsing the collection could also connect you to a potential collaborator or partner working in the same or related field.

ATE Central and Your Resources

Project and center deliverables are added to the ATE Central portal in a number of ways: we work closely with PIs to stay abreast of initiatives, actively scour project and center web sites for new resources, and accept entire collections to be archived at ATE Central upon completion of your project.

When a project or center maintains materials on its web site, ATE Central staff will seek out and catalog selected resources, thereby capturing information about who created any given resource, what it’s about, who benefits from it, what kind of resource it is, and more. In this way, ATE Central creates a valuable metadata library—one that may be utilized by projects and centers as dissemination tool or as a source of discovery for educators, students, and others interested in STEM research, study, or practice.

Additionally, we collect information on the projects and centers themselves, such as the project or center name and description, the name of the Principal Investigator, the award number, and the discipline in which the project or center is engaged. Through the ATE Central portal, users can find information about your project or center quickly and with minimal effort.

Help us make this process faster and more effective by passing along key information to ATE Central’s Metadata and Information Specialist at Share your web site’s URL, the location of resources on your site, and any new information regarding you and your goals. If your materials are already in the portal, feel free to send us feedback. 

ATE Central Activity Reports

All ATE project or centers receive quarterly Activity Reports from ATE Central. These reports communicate data about project and center presence and usage of project and center deliverables on the ATE Central site. Reports are generated at the end of each quarter and cover the previous three months. An annual report covering the previous year is generated every January.

Project and center Activity Reports contain:

  • Project/center information: the name of the project/center, the authorized contact, the website, the project/center description, and social media associated with that project/center.
  • Project/center activity: information about the resources and events from a project/ center collected by ATE Central.
  • Subject area activity: information about the number of current and new resources and events collected by ATE Central in your project/center's primary ATE Area
  • ATE-wide activity: information about the number of current and new resources and events within the entire ATE community

Although we do our best to collect information about all ATE community deliverables and events, we are constantly discovering new ones. Activity Reports, therefore, document only part of the community’s broader impact.


The ATE Central Archiving Service

Many ATE projects and centers rely on the web to disseminate the resources they create, though not all members of the ATE community have the infrastructure necessary to sustain online access to these resources over time. In order to preserve these and other resources created by ATE awardees—thereby broadening the impact and reach of the ATE community as a whole—ATE Central offers a digital archiving service designed to provide access to these valuable materials beyond the lives of those projects and centers that created them. 

Our Service

The ATE Central archiving service is available to all ATE projects and centers as part of the support provided to the ATE community in executing data management and digital curation efforts. ATE PIs who plan to archive with ATE Central at the onset of their funding can effectively prepare for easy ingestion into the ATE Central portal by:

  • Identifying important metadata to collect early on;
  • Constructing a logical hierarchy of resources through the use of folders and/or naming conventions that maintains existing relationships between related resources; and
  • Ensuring that all resource types—audio, video, visual, and textual—are saved in file formats that are accepted for archiving.

ATE Central preserves the integrity of all resources submitted for archiving. This means that contributors must make important decisions, prepare all materials according to ATE Central digital preservation guidelines (below), and be confident of the finality of their submission to ATE Central prior to ingestion. ATE Central ensures access to these materials—as curated by the ATE contributor—by enabling users to download archived materials.

The NSF ATE Archiving Requirement

New grantees that apply and are awarded funding are required to archive their deliverables, as described in their initial grant proposals, with ATE Central. 

According to the NSF ATE RFP:

…to support project and center sustainability and data management planning and help ensure that the valuable deliverables created through ATE funding remain available after funding ends, ATE projects and centers are required to work with ATE Central to ensure those resources are archived. Specifically, projects and centers that create resources that exist at all in digital form (e.g. curriculum, professional development, and recruitment materials) must provide copies of those resources to ATE Central for archiving purposes, in an archivable format and with clear intellectual property information. Details on archiving can be found on the ATE Central website. Projects and centers are encouraged to work with ATE Central early in their funding period to develop a plan for preparing and migrating copies of their materials for archiving.

The following sections—Collection Scope, Digital Preservation, and IP Rights—provide further details on:

  • Resources ATE Central collects;
  • Acceptable archivable formats; and
  • Intellectual property information necessary for archiving.

Collection Scope

Central to the ATE community are its deliverables, as initially defined in a project or center’s NSF grant proposal and created during the lifecycle of the grant. To ensure long-term access and discoverability, ATE Central collects an assortment of assessment, instructional, reference, and professional development materials that are created and/or collected by ATE-funded initiatives. These resources cover seven broad areas of advanced technological education including Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, Engineering Technologies, Bio and Chemical Technologies, Information and Security Technologies, Agricultural and Environmental Technologies, General Advanced Technological Education, and Micro and Nanotechnologies.

Additionally, the portal features information about individual ATE projects and centers and provides access to those materials generated by ATE-funded initiatives that may serve as samples or be otherwise of use to the ATE community in broadening their impact, developing leaders, recruiting students, educating technicians, managing programs, advancing innovation through research, or engaging industry. Samples include, but are not limited to, research reports, best practices, manuals and guides, policy or procedural documents, or data collection tools such as surveys. Project and center deliverables and sample resources are made freely available via the ATE Central portal. ATE projects and center PIs are, however, welcome to request restricted access to materials, when appropriate. For example, access to fee-based curriculum may be restricted as not to negatively impact the interests of the project or center that created it.

Finally, ATE Central maintains a subset of limited access materials that document the success of the project or center. These materials are not freely available to the public; rather, they are made available for research purposes or at the request of NSF. Such materials include internal reports and datasets. Participant data must be aggregated or otherwise altered to protect individual participant information.

Digital Preservation

Digital preservation efforts promote long-term accessibility of born-digital and digitized resources, thereby ensuring continuous access to these high-impact, web-based resources via a multitude of platforms, over an extended period of time. ATE Central’s digital preservation efforts are informed by the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) reference model standard and will evolve to reflect newer archival standards as they emerge.

To promote accessibility, ATE Central asks contributors to submit resources—those that fall within ATE Central’s collecting scope—in the following file formats:

  Allowable Formats Max File Size Notes
Text .rtf, .pdf  (preferred)
.docx, .xlsx, .pptx  (allowed)
Images .png, .jpg  (preferred)
.gif, .bmp  (allowed)
Video .mkv, .mp4  (preferred)
.avi  (allowed)
250MB videos must play on VLC Media Player
Audio .flac, .mp3  (preferred)
.alac, .aac, .ogg  (allowed)
250MB no copy-protected audio allowed
LMS .imscc    

LMS resources:
Materials housed in learning management systems, such as Blackboard or Moodle, must be submitted in accordance with IMS Common Cartridge (IMS CC) standards. Specifications are available at We ask that all errors are resolved prior to submission to ATE Central.

Intellectual Property (IP) Rights

The ATE Central portal provides access to those resources that ATE community members have already dedicated a substantial amount of time, effort, and funds to creating. While access is important, explicit permission to use these copyrighted materials for classroom instruction—or other noncommercial purposes—is vital in effectively supporting the needs of all STEM educators and students, both those within the ATE community and those who look to us for guidance.

In the NSF ATE RFP, the NSF states: is suggested that the developer of new materials license all work (except for computer software source code, discussed below) created with the support of the grant under either the 3.0 Unported or 3.0 United States version of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY), Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA), or Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) license.

These licenses allow subsequent users to copy, distribute, transmit, and adapt the copyrighted work and requires such users to attribute the work in the manner specified by the grantee. Notice of the specific license used would be affixed to the work, and displayed clearly when the work is made available online. For general information on these Creative Commons licenses, please visit the Creative Commons website.

It is expected that computer software source code developed or created with ATE grant funds be released under an intellectual property license that allows others to use and build upon the work. The grantee may release all new source code developed or created with ATE grant funds under an open license acceptable to the Free Software Foundation and/or the Open Source Initiative.

To complete your submission to the ATE Central resource portal, copyright holders must provide notice of any specific license used and affix this notice to the work itself. All Creative Common licenses fulfill ATE Central’s IP documentation requirement, but our staff will gladly review other terms on an individual basis.

Submission Guidelines

In order to successfully submit one or more ATE project or center resources to ATE Central for archiving, we ask that contributors follow the guidelines below. These guidelines are designed to help ensure that each and every resource in the ATE Central resource portal is:

  • A complete representation of the ATE project or center resource;
  • Stored with related resources that have been submitted by an individual ATE contributor;
  • Organized in a way that is understandable to all users regardless of their familiarity with any given ATE project or center; and
  • Consistently and uniformly ingested into and maintained within the ATE Central resource portal. 

Submitting individual resources

To submit an individual resource for archiving, simply complete our archive submission form (click "Create new submission" button in bottom-right). Please feel free to complete this form for as many resources as you like. If you have related resources that you'd rather not separate into multiple submissions, you may also submit a collection of related resources as described below.

Submitting a collection of related resources

For a collection of related resources (e.g. multiple lesson plans, workshop handouts, a video series, etc.), please submit a single ZIP file via the archive submission form. Your ZIP file should contain one copy of each of your resources; the use of sub-folders to organize your materials is encouraged. If you’re unsure how to compress a folder into a ZIP or need additional assistance in preparing your files for transfer, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to help!

Submitting an academic course

To submit an entire academic course, please upload a single ZIP file to the archive submission form. This ZIP should contain at least the first two—when appropriate all four—of the following files:

  • A copy of the course syllabus;
  • Subfolders containing all audio, video, visual, and textual resources;

When appropriate:

  • One screen-capture of the LMS course main page; and
  • One validated IMS Common Cartridge file containing the course in LMS compatible form.


An example of clear archive namingNaming Conventions

Select folder and files names that are understandable to all users regardless of their familiarity with your project or center. See the image to the right for an example.

Contributors who submit materials for archiving are asked to assign uniformly constructed, unique file/folder names; and to preserve any pre-existing content hierarchy through the use of sub-folders, naming conventions, etc. Remember, ATE Central staff members are committed to helping you successfully transfer your resources to the ATE Central resource portal with ease. We welcome any and all questions, comments, or concerns that you may have at


Creating a Resource Collection

If you decide to create your own resource collection—no matter how large or small— there are some important decisions to make. Who will use your collection? How will they access it? What will it contain? Who will manage it, and how?

Creating a Collection Development Policy

Having a collection development policy will help you guide the creation and growth of your resource library. Once your project or center has completed this template, you will have created a basic collection development policy to manage your collection as it grows. These guidelines draw from the NSDL Collection Development Policy, as well as from other collections created and maintained by Internet Scout, such as AMSER and the Scout Archives.

As with any policy, the more specific you are, the more valuable the resulting document will be. Of course, it is not necessary to use the exact headings below or to use them in this order, but the information here should be covered somewhere in your policy. You are encouraged to add any additional information that may be unique to your particular collecting efforts.

Collection Development Policy Template

The collection development policy should guide decision-making as your resource collection grows. For an example policy, please see Appendix A, the ATE Collection Development Policy.

Collection mission:

What is the purpose behind your collection? Why did you create and aggregate the resources? Why do you disseminate them? Why are they necessary? What problem(s) do they aim to solve?

ATE Central Tip: A collection development policy will help define your collection, for others and for your organization.

Collection audience:

Who is the primary beneficiary of your collection? Who will use these resources, and for what purposes? This audience could be defined by education level, such as high school, or role, such as educator. Audience can also be geographically defined. Members of your audience may have one or more of these different attributes.

Collection scope:

What kinds of materials will your collection contain?

  • Subject coverage: What specific subjects, disciplines, or fields of study will your collection focus on?
  • Resource type coverage: What specific kinds of materials will be in your collection? Some examples include lesson plans, activities, laboratory modules, textbooks, or curriculum guides.
  • Format coverage: What specific formats are your resources available in? Some examples include PDFs, Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, HTML web sites, or print.
  • Granularity: To what level of detail will you describe the materials in your collection? For digital objects, granularity is generally described in three levels: a learning object, a web site, and a collection of web sites. A single learning object might be one lesson plan, a web site might contain thirty different instructional resources, and a collection of web sites might be a searchable database of sites that have course materials. A digital library can contain materials in one, two, or all three of these levels of granularity.

Collection management:

How will your collection be tended and organized for maximum benefit to those that will use it?

  • Resource selection: What guidelines will you use to determine what new materials are added to the collection as it grows? How will you stay current with what your audience needs?
  • Resource cataloging: In what way will you describe and organize your resources to ensure those who are searching for them will find them? What pieces of information are valuable to know about your resources? What pieces of information might users of your collection search for? What subject vocabularies will you use to describe the resources?
  • Resource maintenance: What kind of “weeding,” if any, will you do as your collection ages? How will you keep your collection relevant and useful to your audience? What strategy will you use to update old resources? What technology will help you identify “dead” resources?

Recommended Metadata Schema

A metadata schema refers to the set of elements used to describe a resource. For the purposes of ATE Central, it is recommended that projects and centers use the basic Dublin Core metadata schema. Dublin Core was designed to be short and simple, unlike many other complex schemas, so non-librarians could add metadata to their own resources quickly and easily. The schema has fifteen fields, but only ten of them are crucial to describing a resource for ATE Central’s purposes, and even these ten may not apply to every resource or every circumstance. Below is a basic description of each field and some recommendations on how to apply these to digital resources:

  • Title: A name given to the resource.
  • Identifier or URL: The location or unique identifier of the resource.
  • Description: An account of the resource.
  • Author(s) or Creator(s): The entity responsible for creation of resource content.
  • Publisher(s): An entity responsible for making the resource available.
  • Date Issued: Date of formal issuance (e.g., publication) of the resource.
  • Resource Type: The nature or genre of the resource.
  • Format: The file format, physical medium, or dimensions of the resource.
  • Rights: Information about rights held in and over the resource.
  • Subject: The topic of the resource

Collection Maintenance

A robust and useful collection of resources must be maintained in order for it to stay relevant to the interests of the community. As you develop your collection development policy, ask yourself: Who will manage your collection, and how? What resources are available to grow and sustain the collection? Seeking answers to these questions at the onset of your collecting effort will help guide you in making sound decisions. Keep in mind that you will also have to consider what to do with your resources when your ATE funding expires. There are a number of options for sustaining your deliverables, including creating a partnership with your college or organization for long-term server space, collaborating with professional societies, industry cooperation, and more. Another option, provided for free for reasonably sized collections, is ATE Central’s Archiving Service.

ATE Central Tip: Create a specific schedule for staff members to check your published resources to make sure they are still accurate and appropriate.


Data Management Plan Support for ATE

As of January 18, 2011, the National Science Foundation (NSF) requires all potential grantees to submit a data management plan as supplement to the grant proposal. ATE Central can help you think through the various provisions of your plan, such as the storage, management, and distribution of data. We also offer options that may help cover the archiving and long-term data storage requirements for your deliverables and metadata.

ATE Central Tip: Brainstorm about where your resources will exist in ten years, who will be able to access them, and what you need to do to now make them available for as long as possible.

What should be included in a data management plan?

The goal of this requirement is to show how proposals conform to the NSF policy on sharing and dissemination of research results. According to the Grant Proposal Guide1 , the two-page data management plan should describe:

  • Types of data, samples, physical collections, software, curriculum materials, and other materials to be produced in the course of the project,
  • Standards to be used for data and metadata format and content (where existing standards are absent or deemed inadequate, this should be documented along with any proposed solutions or remedies),
  • Policies for access and sharing including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights or requirements,
  • Policies and provisions for re-use, re-distribution, and the production of derivatives, and
  • Plans for archiving data, samples, and other research products, and for preservation of access to them. 

Tips on creating a data management plan

Here are some questions to consider when creating a data management plan:

  • What types of data, metadata, or resources will the project create?
  • Which formats will be used to create, share, and store that data?
  • What, if any, standards will be used to create the data?
  • How and where will that data be stored?
  • Who will hold copyright to project data and deliverables?
  • How and with whom will data be shared?
  • What privacy protections will be extended to those accessing project data?
  • What restrictions will be placed on the re-use or re-distribution the project’s data?
  • How will this data continue to “live” after project funding expires?


Further Resources for Managing and Sharing Deliverables