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OSTIblog Articles in the data Topic

Exploring DOE’s Data

by Jannean Elliott 15 Dec, 2014 in

I’ve always been a “window shopper.”  I don’t want to go in and find the store directory, follow the little map, go up the escalator and through the racks…unless the window displays tell me it will probably be worth my time.  I tend to approach databases the same way; I want to know what’s in there.  Not only do I want some reassurance that what I need is there, but I also want to see if there’s information I may not have realized I need yet.

If you can relate, then you will love the inside view the DOE Data Explorer (DDE) offers with its (what else!) Explore feature.  Choose an Explore option from the DDE homepage to check out the most recently added content, browse the titles of every dataset or data collection, see which organizations are sponsoring what data, or discover subject areas into which those data are grouped.  The Other Organizations option will show you the originating research organizations and the host websites.

Let’s check out an example.  Maybe you’re interested in astrophysics.  “Doesn’t the Department of Energy focus mainly on natural gas resources or solar power…stuff like that?” you think.  “I should probably check the NASA homepage for astrophysics data.” But first you decide to take a quick peek at the Subject Categories option, and you find “Astronomy and Astrophysics” third from the top of the list.  Selecting that category lists 30 collections of astronomy and astrophysics data described in DDE.  Now you can explore High-Energy Cosmic Ray Event Data from the Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory and lots more.


Related Topics: data, datasets, Digital Object Identifier, DOE Data Explorer (DDE), explore, search, window shopping


A (re)Birth Announcement for the DOE Data Explorer

A database and its supporting website can get periodic makeovers and sometimes it can even undergo rebirth!  The DOE Data Explorer (DDE) has just emerged from a rebirth process, and we are proud to announce its transformation.  The first version of DDE was launched in 2008 with the mission of guiding users to collections of publicly available, DOE-sponsored data and other non-text information.  Hundreds of websites were researched in order to find these collections at DOE’s labs, program offices, and user facilities, at data centers, at colleges and universities, on private sector websites such as SciVee, and across all science disciplines.  The mission has not changed, but the content has grown to include individual datasets within collections.  Now DOE boasts a new website design, better navigation, enhanced search functionality, and new features to help you analyze your search results.

The most obvious change in design, of course, is in the color scheme and the clean lines of the new pages.  DDE took inspiration from OSTI’s recently launched SciTech Connect, opting for a design that clearly says “family look and feel.”  An exciting part of the new “feel” appears on the left side of your screen every time you do a search.  Like SciTech Connect, DDE automatically breaks down the results of the search into groupings that allow you to shortcut through a long list of citations and go directly to the subset of your choice.  In DDE the groupings are based on the types of data and non-text items that were retrieved by your search term.  Search on the word “solar,” for example, and you will...

Related Topics: data, data sets, datacite, Digital Object Identifier, DOE Data Explorer (DDE), dois, non-text information, redesign


WorldWideScience and data


WorldWideScience and data now offers the capability to search scientific data collections.  Six new data sources have been added to, representing a significant milestone in improving access to scientific data from around the world.  Users seeking scientific datasets can conduct a real-time, one-stop search and immediately gain access not only to the metadata but to the actual scientific data itself.’s unique federated searching capability meets many of the challenges users face in the discovery of scientific and numeric data.  Unless users are very familiar with a particular data center or know that specific datasets exist, it is very difficult to identify and locate scientific data. provides access to over 80 of the world’s most authoritative scientific information and data sources, all nationally sponsored or sanctioned.  Users can simultaneously search across many databases/collections in text, multimedia, and data formats, and receive consolidated, relevance-ranked results.  In most cases, links direct the user to the full text document; or in the case of scientific data sources, the user can often link directly to datasets.  As access to scientific data becomes increasingly important, offers the ability to easily identify, search, and access this information – contributing to the spread of scientific knowledge and advancements worldwide.

Related Topics: data, databases, multimedia, relevance ranked, scientific, (WWS)


Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity – ChemCam


Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity – ChemCam

How do you run chemical tests at a geologic site millions of miles away from you to see what the rocks and soil are made of? Curiosity’s new instrument ChemCam, developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory, is designed to determine how much light is emitted at each frequency by a geologic sample when it’s heated by a laser beam. Since different materials have different light-emission patterns, measuring the patterns shows what materials emitted them.

Slide presentations giving a general view of Los Alamos contributions to ChemCam:

Reports and analysis of data:

Curiosity’s ChemCam does its job on Mars but is to be operated from Earth, initially at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and afterward in shifts at DoE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory and the French space agency CNES. Here’s a description of the workings of the CNES operations center as well as...

Related Topics: ChemCam, data, Los Alamos


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


DOE Data: Would We, Could We...?

I can’t remember how it went now, but as a child I skipped rope to a rhyme that included “would I, could I” somewhere in it.  Recently questions were asked about OSTI’s involvement with scientific research data.  Is OSTI planning to become a repository for numeric data?  Are we going to issue Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) for datasets, and would we be telling people how to manage their data?  For some reason, the questions triggered the memory of that old refrain, but now I was thinking from an OSTI perspective, “would we, could we…?”

Fortunately, I’m much clearer about OSTI’s answer to those questions than I am about the conclusion of that old rhyme.  In order, the answers are a simple no, maybe, and no.

I’m in a position to know these answers because of my tasks here at OSTI.  I work with the Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP) that handles policies and processes for information submissions to OSTI.  I’m also the product manager for the DOE Data Explorer and an OSTI point of contact for a related, ongoing STTR grant.

If you wonder why anyone would think to ask if OSTI has plans to begin taking in data, the question is, no doubt, triggered by the revision currently underway of the STI directive DOE O 241.1A.  That directive basically says that an announcement notice (citation/bibliographic record) for any scientific and technical information resulting from DOE-funded R&D must be submitted to OSTI.  For technical reports and, when possible, for other document types, that announcement notice contains a URL that links to the PDF document.  OSTI’s databases allow users to search both the citation in the database as well as the full text of the document, whether it resides at...

Related Topics: data, DOE Data Explorer (DDE), dois, r&d, Scientific and Technical Information Program Website, stip, sttr


Discover the data behind DOE publications!

If you're ready to discover data, then OSTI's newest product is ready for you!  The DOE Data Explorer (DDE) is a unique tool that identifies collections of DOE-sponsored numeric files, figures and data plots, multimedia and images, computer simulations, specialized databases, and interactive data maps. Browse, run a quick search, or advanced search, then click a link to results. You'll be amazed at the data you can freely see and use, the highly specialized interfaces developed by the owners of the data that will help you delve deeper into their collections, and the software toolkits that allow you to manipulate, compare, visualize, download, and re-use the data.

The DOE Data Explorer will guide you to data collections at national laboratories, data centers, scientific user facilities, colleges and universities ...and across all of the science areas with DOE involvement.  The DOE Data Explorer development team sifted through hundreds of these websites so that you would not have to, selecting each collection for inclusion according to strict criteria. 

DOE has several data centers  that provide excellent collections and expert services. Each of these centers specialize in data belonging to a specific subject area or scientific discipline. The DOE Data Explorer will help you find those centers and their collections. However, its unique usefulness is in helping you find the collections that are NOT in a data center.  In addition, what if you want to do cross-disciplinary research?  Or what if you don't even know what data might be out there or what discipline it might belong to? You need a data discovery tool that will allow you to see ALL of DOE's data - regardless of scientific discipline, regardless of format, and, even,...

Related Topics: data, DOE Data Explorer (DDE), national laboratories