Accelerating Science Discovery - Join the Discussion

Published by Dr. Walt Warnick

Discovery services have begun to appear in the search landscape.  Discovery services provide access to documents from publishers with which they have relationships by indexing the publishers’ metadata and/or full text. Discovery services are marketed to libraries where patrons appreciate near-instantaneous search results and where library staff is willing to restrict access to sources available from the service (and optionally the library's own holdings.)  While these services tout themselves as improvements to federated search, the reality is that there is no alternative to federated search for a number of important applications.

 

Published by Dr. Walt Warnick
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Many casual users of federated search criticize the technology for being slow to retrieve results. Serious researchers recognize the unique ability of federated search engines to mine the deep Web for quality science information that Google cannot find. These users recognize that there is no practical alternative to federated search for the best information. Still, everyone wants everything faster, and those users who are willing to trade quality for quickness focus on how federated search doesn't return results in "Google time."

Published by Sharon Jordan
carbon-60 Bucky Ball

 

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Such is the justification and hope for visualizations.  Examples of enlightening visualizations are structural models of molecules like the carbon-60 Bucky Ball used in OSTI’s recent YouTube video.  The model shows a carbon atom at each intersection of molecular bonds. 

Another example of an enlightening visualization is Charles Joseph Minard’s famous graph showing the decreasing size of Napoleon’s army as it marches to Moscow and back with the size of the army equal to the width of the line.

Visualizations are often beautiful, but to be useful they must also convey a message.   At OSTI, we have adopted what has come to be called the Jordan Aha! Test as a metric of success for visualizations.  The concept is that a visualization is useful if the observer is informed by it so that she can exclaim “Aha!” 

Our experience at OSTI suggests that crafting a visualization that passes the Jordan Aha! Test is often surprisingly challenging.

Sharon Jordan

OSTI

Published by Kristin Bingham

“World Wide Science is the world’s most important scientific resource, where the global science community can share knowledge.”  This remarkable encomium did not come from just any casual observer, but from a leader of one of the world’s top information organizations.  While interviewing with Information World Review, Richard Boulderstone, director of e-strategy and information systems at the British Library, shared this perspective.