For several years I've been responsible for organizing OSTI staff to capitalize the benefits of web and mobile web innovations. An important endeavor of mine aspires to help OSTI become a leader in connecting scientists in the second generation of the WorldWideWeb - Web 2.0. Connecting scientists supports our director's vision of Global Science Discovery (More on this vision later.) Web 2.0 has enabled new types of media that are capable of accomplishing his ideals for knowledge diffusion, increasing contact rates between scientists, and accelerating science. After years of grassroots research I assembled OSTI's Web 2.0 Team to seed new Web innovation and exchange Web 2 accomplishments. As we progress in the coming months, I hope to incite my Teammates and others to share more Web 2.0 accomplishments on the OSTIblog.
Outside of science, the Web already accelerates commerce, entertainment, social issues, and politics. In theory, new Web 2 media spaces such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Facebook, Google, Blogger, Wordpress, Flickr, Feedburner, etc. have useful features for attracting and connecting thousands of science work groups. A key factor is that these new sites make services and content available on Web-enabled devices like cellphones, iPods, and eBooks. This combination of hardware and web software can help researcher's core information needs and practices - finding and monitoring science information, directing staff, and circulating information with peers and officials. So, it's not a huge leap to see the possibilities of new media connecting thousands of scientists.
In new media we may also be able to connect our two most important users, the professional energy researchers and private citizens. Citizens have many diverse needs for concise factual information. By contrast, science and energy R&D projects can be complex, have long schedules, and tremendous price tags. We hope that the new media systems can be places where researchers help non-researchers appreciate the value of past research in order to foster support for important new research. We may even have a role in putting science activity in plain language, enabling regular updates, and fostering transparent dialogue.
More on our Director's Goal
The motivation for using new media to connect scientists is to speed Global Scientific Discovery. Dr. Warnick, OSTI's director, often writes and speaks about the egalitarian repercussions of this goal on American society. He also writes and speaks about OSTI's industry leading technology called federated search. Federated searching reaches more science information than crawlers and indexers like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and the meta-searchers who combine those results. Read more about federated search here.
The book "Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything" talks about masses of people looking at the same set of problems. I believe the Web 2.0 era we now live in will be remembered equally for the value of Global Scientific Discoveries accelerated by the "deep web" of science information made accessible by federated search technology. Our Web 2 Team is going to use new media to help OSTI raise awareness of federated search's potential in today's open, transparent information culture.
You can follow our progress by subscribing to the OSTIblog's main category, or to individual categories:
In the Personal Perspectives category of the OSTIblog I'll be posting my personal Web 2.0 journey. I hope some of you will also share your experiences.
In the Products and Content category we will explain how researchers can make practical, regular use of new Web 2 media sites and promote the science and energy content that OSTI is making available in Web 2 sites.
In the Technology category we can describe to researchers and to other government agencies the RSS, widget, and programming methods they can use to conduct their own promotions. We can also talk about OSTI products where we adopt the look and feel from these new media sites.
"Highlighting Online Working Groups" is how I like to think of the final set of posts. This new category (not yet created) is to help more researchers join existing groups already on new Web 2 media sites. And, these posts may be valuable to other government agencies who have useful information for the online working groups.
I hope these series of OSTIblog posts about new media will be educational and entertaining. My teammates never cease to impress me with their insights and ideas. For those of you who deal with web technology in your organizations, subscribe to the OSTIblog feeds or email alerts. Post or link your stories about the impact of Web 2 in your organizations.
Web 2 Research and Innovation