I would like to share news of groundbreaking proportion on the subject of accelerating scientific progress. On June 12, 2008, in Seoul, Korea, OSTI, along with national and international partners, formally established the WorldWideScience Alliance, a multilateral governance structure for the global science gateway WorldWideScience.org (WWS).
First, let me provide a brief history. As many of you know, over its 60+ year history, OSTI has built very large collections of energy-related scientific and technical information, emanating primarily from the work of DOE and its predecessor agencies. We have made these collections available through our own sophisticated web products, and their popularity and use among scientists and science-attentive citizens is well documented - with 80 million transactions per year.
In a similar way, other U.S. federal science agencies and, indeed, other STI organizations around the world have built their own databases and other web products to provide electronic access to their own R&D results. While these efforts address individual STI organizations' mandates to provide public access to their R&D information, such decentralized efforts have left the typical scientist/citizen in a dilemma - a dilemma which, we believe, actually impedes the rate of scientific progress.
The dilemma is that no single scientist can be expected to be aware of the hundreds of high-quality STI sources on the web. Moreover, even if a person were aware of all of these sources, he or she simply wouldn't have the time to search them one-by-one to find the scientific knowledge that will help accelerate his or her own efforts. And, finally, this scientist will not be able to find the...Read more...
When I was a young girl, and someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would tell them that I wanted to work for the Federal Government. I had reached this conclusion because of my father, who was himself a third-generation federal employee. My father worked for the Soil Conservation Service, now the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Growing up, I saw what kind of opportunities his job provided for our family. My grandfather worked as a civil engineer for SCS, and his father began working for SCS right after its inception in the thirties. I have a strong sense of family, and tradition, and I wanted to be that fourth generation federal employee. How I decided to become a librarian came a bit later, and under the influence of my mother. She exposed me to reading, nurtured my love of books, and started working at the university library when I was in high school. I was able to see first hand the inner workings of a library, took the library class at my high school, and worked a summer at the university library doing shifting and shelf-reading.
I entered college at Oklahoma State University, and decided to major in psychology. I chose psychology because of my inherent curiosity to know and understand and explore the mind. I had enjoyed science as well, and psychology gave me the opportunity to read scientific studies, and conduct small experiments. I also chose to take physics my first semester, because my mother had given me one of Richard Feynman's books and I found him and his subject fascinating. I worked my sophomore year in the Government Documents Department at OSU Library. I received a broad exposure to government publications, and to librarians at work. One of the librarians in the department...
Related Topics: ostiRead more...
As a staff member involved in OSTI's Web presence, it was personally satisfying today to hear Google's J.L. Needham mention OSTI in testimony to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Mr. Needham cited OSTI as an example of a government Web site that increased citizen access to government information by incorporating Google's sitemap protocol. The video is found in a December 11, 2007 article on Google's Public Policy Blog, "Senate testimony: Our efforts to better connect citizens to government."
Also mentioned in Google's blog is the Center for Democracy and Technology article "Hiding in Plain Sight, Why Important Government Information Cannot be Found through Commercial Search Engines." OSTI is listed in "Five Websites on the Right Track." Wow!
For years we have focused on the mission to "make R&D findings available," striving to improve our search capabilities and create accessible Web pages. Much of my time in early 2005 was spent developing OSTI's site redesign, with an emphasis on standards and usability. It's gratifying to hear OSTI mentioned in the public arena; but, even more so to know that we are helping the public find information they need.
Nena MossRead more...
Yesterday my son had an emergency appendectomy - these days a pretty routine procedure. But far from routine was the array of drugs offered to get him through the long night ahead.
What were the side effects behind these strange-sounding names? How would they affect his recovery? Would all these drugs interact minus a negative outcome? And were they even necessary?
Happily, my job is community outreach for OSTI which hosts Science.gov. So, armed with a laptop in a corner coffee shop with wifi connectivity, I knew I could log onto Science.gov for a quick and thorough search of government science information.
Why not Google or Yahoo? Well, certainly I could get science information from many of the popular science engines. In fact, I often use these sites in combination with Science.gov for an extensive and comprehensive search. But I didn't want to spend a lot of time sorting through Internet noise on popular Web searches. (No drug ads, no hits on the drug habits of rock bands!) I simply wanted information that was directly related to the drugs my son might take that night. And I wanted the information quickly so I could get back to the hospital room and spend time with my son. So I chose Science.gov.
Of note: Science.gov is a lot more than medical info. You can find winter weather safety tips, science internships, supernova Web sites ... all kinds of science information available for free.
Final word: Happy 5th Anniversary Science.gov!
Cathey Daniels, OSTI EditorRead more...
In 2005, the idea of creating a global science gateway for the web was conceived at OSTI. It would make the best collections of scientific information from nations around the world act as if they were a single enormous collection. It would be searchable via a single query, and it would be available at no cost to anyone anywhere with web access.
In the beginning we called the gateway Science.World. This pithy title properly conveyed that the gateway would be about science and would be truly international in scale, and the "dot" indicated that it would be on the web. From the first, however, we knew the name Science.World could only be a placeholder. In reality, "dot" World is not a legitimate domain, so eventually the gateway would have to be renamed.
This led to a contest throughout OSTI to find a URL that was brief but descriptive, and available, all at the same time. Since I had only been working for OSTI for less then a year, I didn't feel that I should give my input on the options that were being brought up. Thinking of a name that fits such an amazing website was very hard to do.
Seeing the choices being narrowed down, however, I finally spoke up about a URL I found that I thought best described what was being created, www.WorldWideScience.org. Being that it was short, to the point, and available was why I chose it as my favorite. Still a bit nervous, I submitted the name for consideration by OSTI senior staff. Later, my boss told me that he knew I had "hit a homerun" as soon as he heard "WorldWideScience.org". The majority of OSTI senior staff had the same reaction. I won the contest!
WorldWideScience.org is now a live site that has performed millions...Read more...