The International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008 will be an internationally coordinated campaign of polar observations, research, and analysis that will further our understanding of physical and social processes in the polar regions, examine their globally-connected role in the climate system, and establish research infrastructure for the future. Within this context, the IPY will galvanize new and innovative observations and research while at the same time building on and enhancing existing relevant initiatives. It also will serve as a mechanism to attract and develop a new generation of scientists and engineers with the versatility to tackle complex global issues. In 2004, the National Academies' Polar Research Board organized a workshop to explore the challenges associated with these initiatives. Planning for the International Polar Year 2007-2008 summarizes the presentations and discussions from this workshop.