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OSTIblog Articles in the Personal Perspectives Topic

Before and after CrossRef

It is truly wonderful when something comes along that speeds access to science. Such is the case with CrossRef’s linking network for scholarly literature. Anyone that has ever done a literature search prior to 2000 is completely blown away today when they encounter the time saved and the quality of CrossRef’s linking service. I vividly recall my own literature review for my PhD dissertation almost 40 years ago and I want to share my story.

For many long and miserable days and nights for a solid month I practically lived at the University of Maryland’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Library plowing through a massive set of numerous volumes of citation indices looking up keywords related to my dissertation. My topic Secondary deflections and lateral stability of beams was based on my research at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. None of my faculty had specialized in such topics and so my task was monumental-- do a full blown literature review from scratch. I would write down suspected relevant citations and walk through the extensive stacks of the library where I could locate the journal, find the right volume of the journal, and examine the article. Since the indexing contained minimal information, most of the time the articles weren’t relevant and much of my effort was fruitless. When I got lucky and found a relevant article, I had to copy the citation information and meat of the article by hand. Then I had to scour the references in that article and determine if it was necessary to find the referenced journals in the stacks and examine the referenced articles. This is how a dissertation literature review was done before online...

Related Topics: CrossRef, dissertation, DOE Data Explorer (DDE), dois, ETDEWEB, FundRef, journal articles, literature review, SciTech Connect


Special Libraries Association President Visits Tennessee


Special Libraries Association President Visits Tennessee

In honor of the 60th Anniversary of the local Tennessee Valley Chapter (TVC) of the Special Libraries Association (SLA), International SLA President Deborah Hunt recently visited Tennessee. SLA is the global organization for innovative information professionals and their strategic partners, which has the mission of promoting and strengthening its members through learning, advocacy, and networking initiatives.  September 13th Ms. Hunt made several stops at local information institutions, touring facilities and visiting with staff about issues facing libraries, information and knowledge managers.

In Oak Ridge, at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) Ms. Hunt learned about the history of DOE and its predecessor agencies dating back to the Manhattan Project and the Atomic Energy Commission.  From the OSTI facility in Oak Ridge, Ms. Hunt was able to see first-hand how the results of research and development sponsored by DOE are collected, preserved and disseminated to the public by OSTI. While touring the OSTI facility Ms. Hunt viewed research papers by such prolific scientists as Ernest O. Lawrence and Enrico Fermi.

At the close of her visit, Ms. Hunt thanked OSTI for their work and continued support of information professionals.  She had a challenge for those information professionals at OSTI and for information professionals in general: to be proactive in their careers, to continue learning and exploring different aspects of their...

Related Topics: reports, SLA, Special Libraries Association


Eleanor Frierson: A Tribute to the Grande Dame of Government Science Information Partnerships


Eleanor Frierson: A Tribute to the Grande Dame of Government Science Information Partnerships

Eleanor Frierson, who passed away in April 2013, was the grande dame of partnerships to improve public access to federal and international science information.  For 10 years, she helped spearhead U.S. interagency efforts to make federal science information more accessible to Americans, playing an absolutely crucial leadership role on the Alliance.  She took  all the way from a nascent concept through to its maturation.  Ms. Frierson also made similar contributions to the international science portal,

She had extensive and diversified experience in information service development and management and had great business acumen and network-building skills.  But Ms. Frierson was much more than a consummate professional; she also was a caring colleague who took great personal interest in her associates.    

Eleanor Frierson was that rare public servant who made a very special mark.  Her legacies continue on today as vital national and international resources. 

* * *

Eleanor Frierson received her B.A. from Oberlin College and her Master’s in Library Science from Syracuse University.  She was a library staff member at Syracuse, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the International Monetary Fund and also served as Chief of the Bureau of Library and Information Services of the International Labour Office in Geneva, Switzerland.

From 2000 until her retirement at the end of 2011, Ms. Frierson was Deputy Director of the National Agricultural Library (NAL), which holds one of the world’s largest collections devoted to agriculture and related sciences.  The NAL is part of the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ms. Frierson was honored as Federal Librarian of the Year for 2010 by the...

Related Topics: Eleanor Frierson, interagency cooperation, intergovernmental cooperation, National Agriculture Library, partnership,, alliance, (WWS)


Commemorating DOE, a Science Agency


Commemorating DOE, a Science Agency

The energy crisis of the 1970s demonstrated the need for unified energy planning within the federal government.  The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Organization Act (Public Law 95-91) was signed into law, centralizing the responsibilities of the Federal Energy Administration, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Federal Power Commission and other energy-related government programs into a single presidential cabinet-level department.

The DOE began operations on October 1, 1977. The new Department was responsible for long-term, high-risk research and development of energy technology, federal power marketing, energy conservation, energy regulatory programs, a central energy data collection and analysis program, and nuclear weapons research, development and production.

The Energy Department’s mission is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.  DOE plays an important and unique role in the U.S. science and technology community by bringing together scientists and engineers from national laboratories, academia and the private sector to form multidisciplinary teams.  It strives to find solutions to the most complex and pressing challenges, and plays a leadership role in transforming the energy economy through investments in research, in developing new technologies and deploying innovative approaches. DOE is the nation’s primary sponsor of research in the physical sciences, and is home to cutting-edge, one-of-a-kind user facilities used by thousands of researchers annually.

The Department of Energy is committed to the collection, preservation, and dissemination of sponsored R&D results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide, as well as...

Related Topics: 1970s, anniversary, doe, federal, nuclear, osti, r&d, research, tools


WorldWideScience Opens International Doors

On May 25, 2011, I made an invited presentation in Geneva, Switzerland at the 14th session of the United Nations’ Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD).  I want to share with you the reception received at this conference.

Palace of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland

CSTD and OSTI share similar goals.  CSTD supports universal access for all to scientific knowledge.  OSTI seeks to share DOE R&D results with as many people as possible and we partner with other organizations to create integrated products designed to attract users.

Meeting attendees came from around the world and included Ministers and high-level representatives of governments, civil society representatives, businessmen, academia and representatives of international and regional organizations.  I was asked to specifically speak about and how it enables and equalizes access to worldwide scientific knowledge. 

I wish more of my OSTI colleagues could have been in Geneva to share the warm response from the attendees.   Several country representatives offered up new sources for WWS.  Another member of the audience searched mobile WWS for his own name and remarked that he found many of his papers.  I received enthusiastic comments, so many that I couldn’t address all of them because of time constraints.  Significantly, the Chair of CSTD volunteered to pay the costs of becoming a member of the WorldWideScience Alliance.  There was great excitement about the possibilities for its use within the home countries of the attendees and how WWS advances the goals of CSTD. 

The enormity of...

Related Topics: Commission on Science and Technology for Development, CSTD, (WWS)


Impact of Basic Research and Knowledge Diffusion on Innovation


Impact of Basic Research and Knowledge Diffusion on Innovation

In June 2009, OSTIBLOG published a piece submitted by a friend of OSTI on “Impact of Basic Research on Innovation”.  Subsequently, a number of readers remarked that the blog had not made a key point particularly relevant to OSTI: to have an impact on innovation, basic research results must be shared. 

To be sure, it is rarely possible to determine precisely when, where and how the dissemination of scientific and technical information impacts the continuum of basic research to applied research to invention and innovation, but there is no question that such dissemination is a prerequisite for the flow of scientific information necessary for discovery, progress and prosperity.

With this key point included, here is a revised version of the earlier blog:

The development of MP3 technologies illustrates the unexpected benefits of basic research – and how science progresses and innovation advances when knowledge is shared.

In 1965, a hand-sized storage and playback device that would hold 15,000 recorded songs was the stuff of science fiction. Even simple hand-held calculators were rare and expensive at that time.

Then, as the chart on this page shows, research funded by several federal science agencies, including the Department of Energy (DOE), contributed to the breakthrough technologies of magnetic storage drives, lithium-ion batteries and the liquid crystal dislay, which came together in the development of MP3 devices. 

The MP3’s DRAM cache traces its origins to the Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) system and circuit design pioneered in basic research undertaken by IBM and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).  Basic research sponsored by the Army Research Office helped revolutionize the field of signal processing, enabling the MP3’s signal compression, while liquid crystal research funded by the National Institutes of Health...

Related Topics: DARPA, innovation, MP3. VLSI


Sharing Data Leads to Progress

by Nena Moss 19 Aug, 2010 in Personal Perspectives

My mother died in March 2010 after a 15-year battle with Alzheimer’s, so I pay particular attention to news about this dreadful disease. A recent New York Times article caught my eye: “Sharing of Data Leads to Progress on Alzheimer's.”

How did sharing data lead to progress on Alzheimer’s?  A collaborative effort, the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, was formed to find the biological markers that show the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in the human brain. The key was to share all the data, making every finding public immediately – “available to anyone with a computer anywhere in the world.”
Alzheimer’s research is an enormous task with limited returns. Dr. Michael W. Weiner of the San Francisco Department of Veterans Affairs said “Different people using different methods on different subjects in different places were getting different results, which is not surprising. What was needed was to get everyone together and to get a common data set.” Numerous entities were willing to shoulder the burden and work together on the project, sharing their information for the good of all.
 According to Dr. John Q. Trojanowski, an Alzheimer’s researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, “It’s not science the way most of us have practiced it in our careers. But we all realized that we would never get biomarkers unless all of us parked our egos and intellectual-property noses outside the door and agreed that all of our data would be public immediately.” The National institutes of Health served as an “honest broker, between the pharmaceutical industry and academia.”
 The effort has produced “a wealth of recent scientific papers on the early...

Related Topics: ADNI, Alzheimer's, biomarkers, collaboration, corollary, data, disease, initiative, mission, neuroimaging, osti, research, sharing


OSTI Lights Candles

Despite DOE's frequent leadership in science and technology (think "human genome" or winning 46 of the "R&D 100" awards in 2009), it's widely acknowledged within DOE that the public isn't particularly aware of DOE's role.  Not that we in DOE are shamelessly craving a little credit, but in a representative government, an informed and supportive public is essential to sustain DOE's important programs.  In terms of public awareness, it is as though the DOE program unintentionally operates in the dark.

By disseminating DOE's R&D results to the public, including those who do not customarily have access to subscription journals of science and technology ,OSTI plays a role in making such results useful and visible to the public.  Dissemination to the public is OSTI's mission as defined by  law.  One inevitable consequence of OSTI pursuing its mission is that DOE's R&D program becomes better known beyond the inner circles of the science and technology community.

For a number of years now, OSTI's information transactions have been increasing exponentially, reaching 84 million in FY 2008  (see OSTI's web metrics ). To my way of thinking, this is tantamount to OSTI lighting 84 million candles that shine on DOE's R&D results and illuminate R&D breakthroughs for the public.  This is just the beginning, we are doing everything we can to accelerate this exponential growth into the future and further increase awareness of DOE R&D results by the public.  As the old saying goes, it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.


Related Topics: doe, osti, r&d results


Aspirations for Connecting Researchers in New Media

For several years I've been responsible for organizing OSTI staff to capitalize the benefits of web and mobile web innovations.  An important endeavor of mine aspires to help OSTI become a leader in connecting scientists in the second generation of the WorldWideWeb - Web 2.0.  Connecting scientists supports our director's vision of Global Science Discovery (More on this vision later.)  Web 2.0 has enabled new types of media that are capable of accomplishing his ideals for knowledge diffusion, increasing contact rates between scientists, and accelerating science.  After years of grassroots research I assembled OSTI's Web 2.0 Team to seed new Web innovation and exchange Web 2 accomplishments.   As we progress in the coming months, I hope to incite my Teammates and others to share more Web 2.0 accomplishments on the OSTIblog.

Outside of science, the Web already accelerates commerce, entertainment, social issues, and politics.  In theory, new Web 2 media spaces such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Facebook, Google, Blogger, Wordpress, Flickr, Feedburner, etc. have useful features for attracting and connecting thousands of science work groups.  A key factor is that these new sites make services and content available on Web-enabled devices like cellphones, iPods, and eBooks.  This combination of hardware and web software can help researcher's core information needs and practices - finding and monitoring science information, directing staff, and circulating information with peers and officials. So, it's not a huge leap to see the possibilities of new media connecting...

Related Topics: doe research, federated search, new media, web 2.0


Impact of Basic Research on Innovation


Impact of Basic Research on Innovation

 The development of MP3 technologies illustrates the unexpected benefits of basic research. In 1965, a hand-sized storage and playback device that would hold 15,000 recorded songs was the stuff of science fiction. Even simple hand-held calculators were rare and expensive at that time. Research funded by the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology contributed to the breakthrough technologies of magnetic storage drives, lithium-ion batteries, and the liquid crystal display, which came together in the development of MP3 devices. The device itself is innovative, but it built upon a broad platform of component technologies, each derived from fundamental studies in physical science, mathematics, and engineering.

Related Topics: dod, doe, nih, nist, nsf, research