As with most things, all federated search products are not created equally. Recently, I ran across a situation where federated search was derided for lack of capability related to precision search and relevancy ranking. As is often the case, this derision is founded in a narrow view of federated search. The view that federated search is only capable of generically searching data stores or not providing relevance across the resources being searched is this narrow view of what the technology can achieve.
Long-term investments in basic research produce the major conceptual breakthroughs necessary for creating radically new technologies. To be sure, scientists cannot make specific promises about future advances, and there often are long delays in the applications that arise from basic research.
An earlier article derived the Knowledge Investment Curve.
Information sharing is an integral part of the R&D process. Thus, decision makers affect the pace of scientific progress when they determine the fraction of R&D dollars dedicated to sharing knowledge. Think of it this way: A program for sharing knowledge derived from scientific research has much in common with a scientific research program itself in that they share the common goal of advancing science. When decision makers of R&D programs discuss optimum funding for research, their decisions are driven by affordability. Similarly, there is an optimum investment in sharing research results as conceptually suggested by the Knowledge Investment Curve. And just as for research itself, the optimum investment is not the minimum.
One of OSTI’s founding missions is to support education. From the early 1960s when OSTI provided educational materials on the atom and published the booklet called “Understanding the Atom” we have been committed to education. While information in OSTI databases can be used by teachers, students and parents for Kindergarten through High School, many of the technical documents and research findings are better suited for university studies.
OSTI’s databases contain thousands of university research projects that were either funded by DOE or sponsored through partnerships. Who needs this higher-level information? University students, professors and librarians need ready access to this information to advance scientific discovery! OSTI’s goal is to provide all of this information in an easily accessible, organized, online format that is available at no cost. And we’ve done just that! Now OSTI is focusing on how we can help communicate better and ensure that the DOE laboratory research communities have immediate access to these priceless resources. We’re working hard to connect with research universities across the nation to let them know about these great resources.