U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Speeding Nano Progress by Accelerating the Spread of Knowledge


on Nanoinformatics Strategies
federal site]

Hosted by the National Nanomanufacturing Network

Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel

Arlington, VA

June 12–13, 2007


Slide 2: Three Topics Relating to Nano Info Diffusion

We see three complementary approaches to improve information sharing and awareness

- Modeling – it's possible
- Metadata – numeric data, unlike textual data, requires metadata to ensure access
- Stewardship – numeric data could follow model of textual STI management


Slide 3: OSTI's Mission

To advance science and sustain technological creativity by making R&D findings available and useful to DOE researchers and the American people.

OSTI's creed: Knowledge is contagious – it's our job to make sure everyone “catches” it!


Slide 4: Science Progresses as Knowledge Is Shared

OSTI corollary: If the sharing of knowledge – or knowledge diffusion – is accelerated, scientific progress is accelerated.


Slide 5: The Spread of Knowledge about Feynman Diagrams


Discovery path of US and UK authors.

From: Power of a Good Idea: Quantitative Modeling of the Spread of Ideas from Epidemiological Models (362-KB PDF), Bettencourt, Luis M.A., et. al.


Slide 6: Models: The Spread of Knowledge Is Consistent with Diffusion Models

Path of Best Trajectory

From: Report for the Office of Scientific and Technical Information: Population Modeling of the Emergence and Development of Scientific Fields (579-KB PDF) Bettencourt, Luis M.A., et.al., October 2006.


Slide 7: Models: The Spread of Knowledge Can Be Accelerated

Paths of Acceleration

Bettencourt, Luis M.A., et. al.


Slide 8: Metadata Is a Must (when it comes to numeric data)

-Numeric databases and other non-text databases must have metadata to enable searchability and retrieval
-Numeric databases must have a steward and be consistent with the proven model of text data centers
-Holders of numeric data must be encouraged to harmonize practices

Promoting access, preservation and interoperability


An example: German National Library for Science and Technology (TIB)


-In cooperation with several World Data Centers, TIB has assigned DOIs for scientific primary data.
-Over 400,000 data sets in the field of earth science have been registered; goal is to have a worldwide DOI registration agency for primary data.
-The TIB assigns DOIs only for "collections," large data sets, and databases. It does not attempt to treat each data file individually.

A DOI registry is one approach


Slide 10: Management of Scientific Text Is a Model for Numeric Data

-Defense Technical Information Center (Department of Defense)
-Office of Research and Development & Office of Environmental Information (Environmental Protection Agency)
-Government Printing Office
-NASA Scientific and Technical Information Program
-National Agricultural Library (Department of Agriculture)
-National Archives and Records Administration
-National Library of Education (Department of Education)
-National Library of Medicine (Department of Heath and Human Services)
-National Science Foundation
-National Technical Information Service (Department of Commerce)
-Office of Scientific and Technical Information (Department of Energy)
-USGS/Biological Resources Discipline (Department of Interior)

The senior STI managers from 12 U.S. federal agencies form an interagency working group called CENDI.

Each agency has an organization to manage STI (Numeric data would need specialist administrator, or steward)


Slide 11: Textual Research Results Are Available through Interagency Portal



Provides access to 50 million pages of science information in a single query

A parallel approach could be developed for numeric data


Slide 12: Establishing Ground Rules for Metadata Enables Access to Data

Overcome barriers of organizations

-International Portal
-Interagency Portal
-Agency Portal
-Lab or Institute Portal
-Nano Portal


Slide 13: Search for Nano Should Reach Text and Numeric Data

-A Search for "nanotubes" finds many documents, but numeric data is harder to locate
-Information centers, such as OSTI, ensure seamless access to textual data
-Data repositories, using DOIs and metadata, can serve similar role
-Links between publications and the underlying data will enable researchers to locate essential information
-Textual info, e.g., tech reports or journal articles
-Numeric data sets


Slide 14: Data Preservation Dilemma

NSB raises the right questions

-Many critical science and official collections must be sustained for the foreseeable future
-Critical collections:

-Community reference data collections (e.g., Protein Data Bank)
-Irreplaceable collections (ARM data related to climate change)
-Experimental research data (BaBar/other event data)

. . . the progress of science and useful arts . . . depends on the reliable preservation of knowledge and information for generations to come.
“Preserving Our Digital Heritage”
Library of Congress

No plan for preservation (i.e., no steward) often means that data is lost or damaged.


Slide 15: In Summary: Three Points on Nano Info Diffusion

-Modeling – it's possible
-Metadata – numeric data, unlike textual data, requires metadata to ensure access
-Stewardship – numeric data could follow model of textual STI management