Today, we unveil for the first time, a new tool for making science more accessible world-wide. It is called WorldWideScience.org. We will do some searches shortly. WorldWideScience is in its infancy, but already it includes 15 national science portals. Where once we had isolated portals, they now work as a unit, an integrated whole. Even at this early stage, WorldWideScience.org searches across more than 200 million pages of important scientific databases worldwide. That's a lot of science information accessible from one search box. WorldWideScience relies on a technology called federated search. This is the first time (of which we're aware) that federated searching has been accomplished on a global scale.
Federated search opens up a part of the Web that is non-Googleable. Google by-and-large does not search scientific databases. So until today, information consumers faced the tedious task of visiting portals door-to-door. Without WorldWideScience.org to search the national portals, the information customer would typically first need to know that each portal existed (unlikely) and then search each gateway one at a time (highly impractical).
WorldWideScience.org changes all this; with WorldWideScience.org you need not know the name of portals, and you need not search them door-to-door. Instead, you can search portal upon portal in parallel, with only one query, saving time and effort. When you place a query on WorldWideScience, that query is forwarded to each of the 15 portals. The results of the searches of all the portals are then compiled and ranked for you. WorldWideScience.org will speed communication, accelerate discovery and expedite scientific and economic progress.
Of course, there is much to be done. The world is dotted with large and often isolated, Web-based collections of scientific information. Once found, any one of these databases can be searched. But finding specific databases is a challenge, and searching them all collectively, until just recently, was only a dream. Now this dream is within reach.
We are already off to a great start. In addition to the American and British sources searchable through WorldWideScience.org, this is the current listing of sources from other participating countries:
• Australia, which is providing access to its Antarctic Data Centre
• Brazil, providing a Brazilian scientific journals database
• Canada, providing access to the databases of the Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information and Defense Research and Development Canada
• Denmark, providing access to an e-prints database and a research in progress database
• France, providing access to the research of the National Center for Scientific Research
• Germany, providing access to Vascoda, a portal to scholarly research information sponsored by the German Research Foundation and managed by TIB-Hannover
• The Netherlands, providing access to NARCIS, a portal to Dutch scientific information; and
• Japan, providing access to several databases of the Japan Science and Technology Agency.
I want to thank all the owners of these resources. In particular, from the United Kingdom, David Brown, UK PubMed Central; from the USA, Eleanor Frierson and Tom Lahr – co-chairs of Science.gov; Brian Hitson, Associate Director of OSTI, will lead us through some searches; Pam Bjorenson, Canada; Herbert Guttemeir, France; Marcell Bremer, Germany; Mr. Fukasawa and colleagues, Japan.