The National Library of Energy(Beta): A Gateway to Information about the “All-of-the-Above” Energy Strategy
While I have not taken a formal survey, my experience over many years as a Department of Energy (DOE) employee suggest to me that most people have no idea what DOE does. Let me amend that. Many people know exactly what we do. DOE controls the price of gas at the pump; it manages natural gas drilling, builds pipe lines and regulates refineries. As it turns out, people know a great deal about DOE, it’s just that most of it is dead wrong.
Look it up and you’ll find that “[t]he mission of the Energy Department is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.” Hmm. Nothing about gas prices there.
Once you get a bead on the DOE mission you are ready to mine its extraordinary set of resources. And if you are looking for the ultimate search experience in exploring DOE’s vast holdings of diverse types of science- and energy-related information, you will want to use the newly developed National Library of EnergyBeta (NLEBeta) search tool. That little “Beta” notation means we are still testing NLE, and it’s an invitation to help us improve the site before we “go live.”
The NLEBeta is an important DOE open government initiative – and an easy-to-use gateway to information in all of DOE’s broad mission areas: science and R&D; energy and technology for industry and homeowners; energy market information and analysis; and nuclear security and environmental management.
It’s an especially handy way to find out more about the Department’s all-of-the-above energy strategy. And you don’t have to know DOE’s organizational structure to use the NLEBeta. Believe me, even people that work here get confused about that.
The NLEBeta operates as a library that virtually integrates and makes searchable the disparate and decentralized...Read more...
The Chamber says that OSTI and our comprehensive services “…might be one of the most useful – and best kept secrets – in the federal government.”
The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry is based in Nashville and is the state’s chamber of commerce and the state manufacturers' association. Its membership represents more than 1,000 members across Tennessee from all facets of business and industry. The newsletter is posted online, and is sent to business and industry leaders, as well as government officials across Tennessee.
OSTI thanks the Chamber for informing its members, and encourages them to use our comprehensive, state-of-the-art (and free!) tools for easy access and delivery of research results that are tailored to their needs.Read more...
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 notion that science progresses only if knowledge is shared is the reason that OSTI wascreated in 1947. Documents sent to and from President Franklin Roosevelt near the end of World War II included this rationale for sharing knowledge, and the concept was incorporated into the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 which led to the creation of OSTI.
In recent years the advent of the web has opened up the possibility of sharing knowledge with orders of magnitude more people and making it heretofore unimaginably easier to find and use. The possibility of sharing knowledge faster and better led us to formulate the OSTI Corollary in the mid-2000s: If the sharing of knowledge is accelerated, discovery is accelerated. In mathematical parlance, the Corollary might be considered the time derivative of the concept.
The Corollary seemed rather intuitive to us, but in an attempt to add authority to it, in 2005 we commissioned a rigorous literature search to learn who else in the history of science or knowledge management had stated it. We anticipated that we would be making speeches that said, “According to Professor Muckety-Muck, discovery can be accelerated by accelerating the spread of knowledge.” We were thus surprised when that literature search was unable to find any indication that the thought had been previously pursued or recorded.
Unwilling to accept this negative result and implicitly questioning the thoroughness of the literature search, we commissioned a second literature search entirely independent of the first and, if possible, even more rigorous. We were again surprised when that literature search, too, was unable to find any indication that the thought had been previously recorded.
We are left to conclude that the Corollary is OSTI’s original concept. It has profound implications for all of us in the information business. For it means that if we can only do our jobs much better and faster, then...Read more...
OSTI creates and deploys web-based information products to accomplish its mission. One way to measure the success of this approach is to use web metrics to gauge and analyze the usage of the information we disseminate via our web- based products.
An "information transaction" is the largest and most broadly defined web metric we track at OSTI. We define an information transaction as a discrete information exchange between an information patron and OSTI's suite of web-based information services. An information transaction occurs when our web servers deliver information to satisfy a user's request. Requests can take a variety of forms. Sometimes a user's request might be a search of a product such as Science Accelerator that brings back a hit list. Following up on this information transaction, a user might click on an item in the hit list to call up a single bibliographic citation delivered via a component database of Science Accelerator such as the Information Bridge or Energy Citations Database. Next, the user might call up the full text of a technical report. Another type of information transaction would occur when a user requests tens, hundreds, or thousands of bibliographic citations via our OAI or MARC xml services.
In 1994, OSTI launched and hosted the first DOE web home page. From this small web presence, OSTI served 300,000 information transactions. In FY 2008, OSTI served over 84,000,000 information transactions, a 28,000% increase.
While information transactions are of great use and give us a great metric relative to information dissemination, it is useful to more...Read more...
by Walt Warnick and Sol Lederman
OSTI has embraced a new paradigm for sharing scientific and technical information (STI). Historically, OSTI has fulfilled its mission of providing STI to scientists, researchers, and the public by hosting, or collecting, documents and/or metadata. OSTI's new paradigm is to make content searchable that is often hosted by others; today, OSTI connects those seeking the content with the organizations that host it.
Beginning in the late 1940's, with OSTI's production of the Nuclear Science Abstracts - which was to go on for nearly 30 years, OSTI entered into the business of collecting information. Beginning in the 1990's, OSTI began creating web application to make the collected content openly accessible and conveniently searchable. ETDE Web, DOE Information Bridge, the Energy Citations Database, and DOE R&D Accomplishments are some of the successful applications.
In the last several years, OSTI's approach to disseminating STI has evolved. Recent applications such as the Eprint Network, Science.gov, DOE Science Accelerator, and WorldWideScience.org connect users with the highest quality science information without collecting or hosting it.
How does OSTI move beyond collecting to connecting and what does connecting mean? OSTI's new applications search content that is housed in document repositories owned by a number of government agencies and government-sanctioned organizations. OSTI applications search a number of these repositories on the fly and they aggregate the content from the sources they search and present the most relevant of the search results to the user. This simultaneous and real-time search of multiple repositories is called federated search. OSTI's federated search applications serve as...Read more...