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

An Interagency Model for Collaboration and Operation


An Interagency Model for Collaboration and Operation
Interagency Portal for Science Education Meeting
National Academies of Science
March 18, 2009

Sharon Jordan
Assistant Director
Office of Scientific and Technical Information
Office of Science
U. S. Department of Energy


Why Science.gov?

• Information seekers* need to find U.S. government scientific and technical information quickly and easily, but information is dispersed across thousands of websites ("surface web") and databases ("deep web") at agencies, departments, and laboratories.

The majority (>84%1) of the public uses large search engines rather than seek out individual online databases, thus a "Google-like" easy search with relevant results was desired.

*Seekers include researchers, entrepreneurs, students, educators, policymakers, program managers, or the science-aware citizen with an interest in science and technology

1 Perceptions of Library and Information Resources, OCLC survey report, 2005.


What Is Science.gov?

• A cross-agency search that unifies and simplifies access to selected U.S. government websites and databases that contain scientific and technical information

• The "USA.gov" science portal (formerly "FirstGov for Science")

• A voluntary large-scale collaboration among U.S. government agencies

A Unique Collaboration with Tangible Results!


Science.gov: Finds Content from 200 Million Pages at 1,950+ Websites and 38 Databases with One Query

• Searches selected websites ("surface web") and databases ("deep web") from one search point

• Combines results from all sources searched, ranks and displays them by relevance

• Sends weekly "alerts" for user-defined topics of interest

• Displays Wikipedia and EurekAlert items related to search term

• Provides browsing of selected websites

• Links to special collections and other information

• Featured search and sites highlight hot topics


Science.gov Databases

Agriculture & Food • AGRICOLA
• Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) Technology
Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)
Applied Science & Technologies • DefenseLINK Website
• DOT National Transportation Library Integrated Search
• DTIC S & T Database
• National Institute of Standards and Technology Data Gateway
• U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Database
Astronomy & Space • NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)
• SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)
Biology & Nature • NBII National Biological Information Infrastructure
Earth & Ocean Sciences • NOAA Photo Library
• USGS Publications Warehouse
Energy & Energy Conservation • DOE Information Bridge
• Energy Citations Database
Environment & Environmental Quality • EPA Pesticides Factsheets
• EPA Science Inventory
• HSDB Hazardous Substances Databank NEW
• National Service for Environmental Publications (NSCEP)
General Science • National Technical Information Service (NTIS)
Health & Medicine • Cancer.gov NEW
• Centers Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER)
• Center for Drug Evaluation (CDER)
• ClinicalTrials.gov
• MedlinePLUS PubMed
• PubMed Central NEW
• TOXLINE Toxicology Bibliographic Information NEW
Math, Physics & Chemistry (Physical Sciences) • DOE Information Bridge
• DOepatents NEW
• DOE R&D Accomplishments Database NEW
• Energy Citations Database
• Eprint Network NEW
Natural Resources & Conservation • Treesearch
Science Education • ERIC Education Resources Information Center
• NSDL National Science Digital Library
• NSF Publications Database


How Did It Begin?

• Two workshops spawned origin:

• 2000: Explored concept of a physical science information infrastructure. This prompted interagency involvement.

• 2001: "Strengthening the Public Information Infrastructure for Science"

• Participants included federal agencies, academia, information professionals and science experts.

• The interagency Science.gov Alliance was formed in response to the 2001 workshop.

• Science.gov was launched in 2002.


Shared Premises

• Science is not bounded by agency, organization or geography

• Each agency has vast stores of information that fulfill its mission

• A single web gateway is the tool of choice

• A commitment to voluntary collaboration is necessary


• Agencies brought to the Internet table their unique information specialties and resources

• Flagship service a commitment

• Notable contributions of many:

• Science.gov Alliance and CENDI - seized opportunity without mandate

• FirstGov.gov - supported the early stages through advice and two grants

• Member agencies - provided ~200 staff members to working teams

• U.S.Geological Survey - manages website search engine

• Commerce's NTIS - created initial catalog of websites

• Information International Associates, Inc. - secretariat support

• DOE/OSTI - conceived idea, developed technologies/deep web search and hosts website

• Department of Agriculture and USGS - provided Science.gov Alliance co-chairs


Founding Agencies in 2001

• Department of Agriculture

• Department of Commerce

• Department of Defense

• Department of Education

• Department of Energy

• Department of Health and Human Services

• Department of Interior

• Environmental Protection Agency

• National Aeronautics and Space Administration

• National Science Foundation

New Alliance Members
• Department of Transportation

• Library of Congress

• United States Government Printing Office

• National Archives and Records Administration

• Support and coordination by CENDI - an interagency forum of senior managers


Science.gov Creation Challenges

• Broad scope of Federal science and technology research and development missions

• Wide-ranging interest of potential audiences

• Information organization (taxonomy) issues given the broad scope of disciplines and audiences

• Blending information resources from different agencies into cohesive functionality and page design

• Politics, human resources, funding, sustainability


Collaboration Is Key

• Alliance enjoys extraordinary voluntary collaboration

• Vision and strategic direction provided by Alliance principals

• Administration provided by Chair(s) selected from Alliance

• Technical team provides technical direction and recommendations

• Major support provided by CENDI

• Additional task groups formed as needed

• Science.gov taxonomy

• Content guidance and development

• Website management and redesign

• Outreach activities

• Enhancement development

• Subject expansion


The Funding Approach

• Built and maintained with "in kind" contributions: each agency's staff and existing information resources

• Initial development benefitted from CIO Council e-gov grants totaling over $170,000 for catalog + initial deep web search

• Alliance annual dues fund routine operations

• CENDI support leverages resources

• In-kind contributions for special events

• "Pass the hat" contributions to take advantage of an opportunity, such as Version 3.0 development


Guiding Principles for Content

• Select authoritative web-based government-sponsored information resources

• Rich science content, not merely organization pages

• Databases contain primarily R&D results in the form of STI (bibliographic data and/or full documents)

• Only freely available content that is well maintained


Content Management Is Distributed

• NTIS developed the original "catalog" with input from agencies

• CENDI Secretariat now maintains catalog with agency participation

• Agency content managers submit and edit their information via a web form

• Websites identified in the catalog are indexed nightly by USGS

• Deep web databases are identified by agencies and reviewed by team for suitability

• Real-time search of content in large databases is maintained by OSTI, which hosts the website and serves as operations manager


Science.gov - A Living Website

• Science.gov Phase 1
• Created core policy team, technical design team

• Agreed on goals, policies, designs

• Created taxonomy

• Selected, cataloged and indexed agency resources

• Version 2.0 launched May 2004

• Introduced relevancy ranking of metasearch results

• One-step search across ALL databases

• Added advanced search

• Version 3.0

• Enhanced precision searching, metarank & boolean/fielded searching

• Other types of science content explored

• Version 4.0

• Enhanced relevancy ranking (DeepRank)

• Full-text relevancy ranking (Science.gov 4.0 grid)


Science.gov - A Living Website

• Version 5.0

• Provides the ultimate science search through new and innovative features

• Accesses 38 databases and almost 2000 websites with 200 million pages of science information via 1 query

• Clustering of results by subtopics or dates to help target your search

• Wikipedia results related to your search terms

• EurekaAlert News results related to your search terms

• Mark and send option to email results to friends and colleagues

• More science sources for a more thorough search

• Enhanced information related to your real-time search

• New look and feel

• Updated Alerts Service


The Alliance Members' Page

Provides links to administration information, meeting minutes, usage statistics, content selection and cataloging guidelines, subject category information, and outreach materials such as presentations and flyers.


Science.gov Metadata Input System: Collaborative Content Management

Provides Alliance members and content managers a secure tool to quickly retrieve Agency metadata, add or edit resource records, and expedite the maintenance and quality control of the metadata and URLs.


Agency Content Managers Identify New Websites To Be Crawled/Indexed

The Metadata Input System "Add Record" page allows Alliance content managers to add new records using agency, subject category and other fields.


The Records List Can Be Viewed by Agency

The Metadata Input System "View All Records" option provides an administrative view of all active records in Science.gov by agency and how they are categorized.


Science Education Topics on Science.gov: One Small Step for Access to STEM Resources

The Diversity collection is funded by the National Science Foundation and the group is called the Science Diversity Center.


Science Education Topics on Science.gov: Now Ready for Unique Access to STEM Resources


Questions? Comments?

Sharon Jordan
Assistant Director
Operating Agent for Science.gov