WorldWideScience Alliance Ceremony: Introductory Remarks
Walter L. Warnick
Director, Office of Scientific and Technical Information
U.S. Department of Energy
WorldWideScience Alliance Ceremony
June 12, 2008
Good morning and welcome to this ceremony to officially launch the WorldWideScience Alliance. I am Walt Warnick, and, along with our gracious hosts from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information, I will serve as the master of ceremonies. While history may take little note of our ceremony, I believe the benefits of the Alliance that we launch today will be realized long into the future.
We have a very distinguished slate of speakers here to help us celebrate the Alliance's formation. After some brief remarks by our speakers, the founding Alliance members will conclude the ceremony by signing the founding charter outlining the Alliance's purpose and their commitment to its success.
I want to take this opportunity to express a special note of appreciation to KISTI officials who have hosted this conference. I also thank them for hosting this ceremony as the conference's culminating session.
We are not only celebrating the establishment of the WorldWideScience Alliance itself. We are also celebrating another alliance, which is the partnership between WorldWideScience and ICSTI.
When the global gateway, WorldWideScience.org, went live last year, it had largely been a bilateral pursuit of the United States Department of Energy and the United Kingdom British Library. Even then, we knew that an effort such as this needs the perspectives, resources, and talents of many nations to ensure long-term success. To achieve this level of multilateral participation, we needed a multilateral platform. ICSTI has provided that platform, offering the primary forum at its last three public conferences for the initiative to be discussed, from a mere concept to a tangible product. Then, last year, ICSTI took the next major step, agreeing to be the umbrella body under which governance deliberations would take place; and, finally, ICSTI signed on, in both monetary and leadership terms, to be a founding member of the Alliance. I am personally grateful and honored that we can have this Alliance ceremony as the final session for this ICSTI public conference.
Before we hear from our other speakers, let me just say a few words about WorldWideScience. Before I became the Director of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Scientific and Technical Information, I was directly involved in research myself and later supervised research programs. In these work environments, time is the most precious commodity. There are only so many hours in a work day, and even the most productive worker can only do so much. Invariably, such limitations have hindered science and the research enterprise.
Bringing this experience with me when I became the OSTI Director, my over-riding interest has been what we in the information business can do to accelerate scientific progress. And, with WorldWideScience.org, I think we have arrived at a model that accelerates science on a global scale.
This model combines two key components. The first component is high-quality national scientific databases that are becoming increasingly common - even in the smallest countries. Whether they are managed directly by the government or with the government's support, these national treasures form the foundation for WorldWideScience. They provide a window into the scientific outputs of a country.
While these databases are essential, they still need the second component to enable the acceleration of science. No scientist is going to know about every national database nor have the time to search all of them one-by-one, or sort through long hit lists from each databases or portal. This second component of the model is the federated searching technology that underpins WorldWideScience. This technology allows the user to only know or find one source - WorldWideScience.org - in order to gain simultaneous access to the world's national science portals.
Some people may think that Google and other commercial search engines are providing such access already. But they are not, because most of these national databases aren't searched by Google. With their contents residing in the "deep web," this collection of databases as a practical matter is only searchable by the kind of federated searching technology underlying WorldWideScience.org.
It is a bit of an understatement to say we are doing something new here. This is groundbreaking and pioneering territory. We are going where men and women have never gone before -- with WorldWideScience.org. And that is why I am particularly proud to be a part of it.
Members of my staff at OSTI have worked very hard to make WorldWideScience a success. Eleanor Frierson of the U. S. Science.gov describes the division of labor at OSTI. She says, Warnick promises, and the other folks at OSTI deliver. We are all inspired by the notion that we are having lasting beneficial impacts, by accelerating science and discovery.
I believe that those who are here today in support of WorldWideScience.org are taking a step that will be remembered by their grandchildren and beyond. We are all contributing to the acceleration of science through WorldWideScience.
And, now, I would like to introduce our distinguished speakers . . .
- Lee Gul-Woo, Assistant Minister for Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Korea
- Jeff Salmon, Associate Under Secretary for Science, U.S. Department of Energy
- Richard Boulderstone, Director of E-Strategy and Information Systems, The British Library
- Herbert Gruttemeier, President, International Council for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI)
Let us sign the founding charter.
Thank you all for your attendance. This concludes the ceremony.