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Frequently Asked Questions

Why was the DOE Data Explorer developed? How has its original "vision" changed over the years?

The DOE Data Explorer (DDE) launched in 2008 as a way to guide users to collections of publicly available, DOE-sponsored data. The collections may reside at data centers, user facilities, on pages maintained by groups within laboratories, or on university websites. They contain many forms and formats and reach across all of DOE's science disciplines. DDE was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI). Hundreds of web pages were researched in order to identify the data referenced in the collection citations. Descriptions were created at OSTI, using text from the websites where the collections are posted for access.

In 2011, OSTI began to announce individual datasets and register them for Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) through its partnership with DataCite. These individual dataset citations now coming to OSTI and flowing into both SciTech Connect and DOE Data Explorer are submitted by the creators and/or holders of the data. The metadata in these citations comes directly from the input source. While collection citations appear only in DDE, the citations for individual datasets are searchable in both DDE and SciTech Connect.

The original content of the DDE database included more citations for multimedia collections than it currently does. These citations led users to video or image collections that were more general in nature and met the criteria of non-text information, but could not actually be considered "data." In 2014, the decision was made to remove this particular slice of content and allow DDE to be more focused on "data," as opposed to non-text in general. For access to DOE videos, see ScienceCinema.

What can the "Explore By" feature do for me and how do I use it?

Each DDE citation is identified as one of two resource types: datasets or data collections. Can I limit a search to just one of those groups? How do the eight "data types" different fit into this picture and what do they include?

Do datasets and/or collections have to be active or can archived items be included in DDE?

What are the criteria that determine which data collections are referenced? What about individual datasets?

Where do the individual datasets come from? How do they get into DDE?

How can a user tell the difference between a collection and an individual dataset since both may have multiple items in their content? And what's the difference between a dataset and a datastream?

Tell me about the Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) on these individual datasets or datastreams.

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