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World Wide Information: The Other Side of the Coin

Much has been written in this blog about  As regular readers well know, it is a global gateway to scientific and technical databases conceived, developed, and operated by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information. accelerates scientific discovery and technological progress by providing one-stop searching of enormous quantities of information published on behalf of governments from around the world.

Of course, the world’s information covers numerous topics other than science and technology.  For information about the cultures of the world, a particularly noteworthy virtual collection is theWorld Digital Library(WDL) developed and operated by the Library of Congress,which is the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscriptsin its collections.  It makes available on the Internet significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world.  The principal objectives of the WDL are to:

  • Promote international and intercultural understanding;
  • Expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet;
  • Provide resources for educators, scholars, and general audiences;
  • Build capacity in partner institutions to narrow the digital divide within and between countries.

WorldWideScience and the World Digital Library are complementary, one focusing on science and technology and the other on culture.  They are both free of charge and open to everyone with Internet access.

One key service provided by both WorldWideScience and the World Digital Library is that they help to transcend language barriers.  However, their approaches to overcoming language barriers differ.  The World Digital Library generally offers...

Related Topics: (WWS), Enrico Fermi, history of science, multilingual, translations, World digial Library


Mutual Benefits at Work!

DOE OSTI recently hosted a graduate student from the University of Michigan (UM) School of Information (SI) for a week in our Germantown offices.  The student, Ryan Tabor, was participating in the UM SI Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program, which matches graduate students with professional-experience projects identified by host organizations.  Ryan's graduate school specialty area is human-computer interaction. That, coupled with his undergraduate degree in psychology and his work experience on IT Help Desks, created a great match for OSTI's project -- a usability study of DOE R&D Accomplishments.

Ryan tested and evaluated the site via various methodologies and reported his findings and recommendations.  He provided some valuable insights which will result in an even more user-friendly website.  This collaboration was mutually beneficial in that Ryan gained experience by working in a professional environment doing professional-level work and OSTI gained from having a 'third-party' review and feedback about one of its core products. 


Mary Schorn

Related Topics: DOE Research & Development (R&D) Accomplishments, accomplishments, collaboration, doe, osti

Read more... Recognized by the White House

The President’s Open Government Initiative asks three things of the federal government: transparency, participation, and collaboration. OSTI, in partnership with the DOE Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS) and through a voluntary interagency coordinating group, has achieved all three in one project:

The White House recognized this achievement by posting on the Open Government Innovations Gallery (read more about the OSTP recognition on the DOE Blog and the DOE facebook page).

The Innovations Gallery celebrates the innovations that champion the President’s vision of more effective and open government. At the Innovations Gallery, the public can browse examples of new ways in which agencies across the Executive branch are using transparency, participation, and collaboration to achieve their mission. (beta version) began as a direct response to the call for increased web-based K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education resources in the 2007 America COMPETES Act. Today, is a searchable portal of STEM education resources freely available online. ensures that resources are made available transparently through a participatory and collaborative initiative. 

The site is continuously evaluated by the education community through the interactive platform. Teachers, students, education professionals, parents and the public can search multi-agency STEM education resources for free. They can also register for a free membership to tag, rate and comment on the 15,000 STEM...

Related Topics:, innovations gallery, ISEPCG, Open government

Read more... Makes Further Advances

Have you noticed that navigating through is faster than before?  We completed a major software upgrade the week prior to Thanksgiving in which highly technical improvements were made to the site.  While many of the improvements are “behind the scenes” some you might notice are:

  • Users can now access their alerts accounts from their alerts email.  It is much easier to modify or delete alerts.
  • Users can now choose to receive daily alerts instead of just weekly.
  • Users can now download directly to RefWorks or EndNote (citation management software) in addition to just the .RIS format.

The Federal Register (FR) and Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) are now automatically searched through the main search page; they can be individually searched through the advanced search page.

But wait, there’s more! 

A widget is now available to add to your site.  By doing so, you and your users will be able to easily search 45 authoritative federal databases and over 2000 science websites with one search and without navigating away from your website.  Consider downloading and installing the widget to provide access to 200 million pages of additional science information in a convenient way.  This is a great tool for libraries and academic institutions!

Related Topics:, alerts, CFR, Code of Federal Regulations, Federal Register, FR, widgets


Technical Reports and Journal Articles

Technical reports and journal articles are both used to report the results of research and development projects. There are differences between the two that are driven by the objectives of each form of reporting.

The primary objective of journal articles is to report results of experimental and/or theoretical scientific investigations to enhance the body of scientific knowledge. This is the primary way that (1) science advances and (2) the scientific community communicates among its members and practitioners. Typically, there are space limitations prescribed by the journal publisher that limit the length of journal articles usually to only a few pages. Journal articles are almost always subjected to a rigorous peer review process before they are accepted for publication.

The main objective of technical reports is to document the research findings together with the approaches and techniques to inform the research process. Unlike journal articles, technical reports face no space limitation. At OSTI, our technical reports range from a few pages in length to several hundred and average 60 pages in length. The content is more under the control of the author(s) and is rarely subject to peer review beyond that which the author(s) or their institution(s) may seek.

A commonality between electronic technical reports and journal articles is the use of Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) to uniquely identify each document. DOIs are used to ease the referencing of a technical report or a journal article in downstream publications. The advantage of using a DOI for a document is that it is a permanent identifier that will ride with the document even though the document’s location and other metadata may change. Referring to an online document by its DOI thus...

Related Topics: Enrico Fermi, journal articles, Manhattan Project, technical reports, Thomas Edison


OSTI Makes "Non-Googleable" Science and Technology Searchable

Search Engines


The success of Google has been so profound that the word “Google” is now considered a verb. “To Google” has come to mean to search the web via the free search engine provided by Google, Inc. The adjective derived from the verb “Google” is “Googleable.” Similarly, the antonym of “Googleable” is “non-Googleable,” which turns out to be an especially useful word. For most practical purposes, the term “non-Googleable” is synonymous with the phrase “deep web.” The major difference between the word and the phrase in a world where Google, Inc., is the largest capitalized company is that the term non-Googleable is intuitively understood.


Anyway, it is generally acknowledged among students of the web that the bulk of the information in it is non-Googleable, a fact which typically comes as a surprise to people who do not study the web. In particular, the information residing in databases is often non-Googleable, and it often happens that scieintific and technical information resides in databases of documents.


The reason that databases are typically non-Googleable becomes clear once one considers how search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing acquire the content they search. The search engines rely upon crawlers to visit web pages well in advance of a patron’s search. The crawler creates an index of each page it visits and then follows hyperlinks on each page to find new pages to index. Typically, crawlers are flummoxed by the front page of a databases because such pages...

Related Topics:, bing,, microsoft, msn, yahoo


OSTI Not Only Has a Mission, OSTI is On a Mission

OSTI Employees


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,...

Related Topics: atomic energy act, corollary, mission


Enormous STI Content Made Easily Searchable by OSTI Meeting


We have integrated about ten OSTI products dealing with technical reports, e-prints, patents, conference proceedings, project summaries, etc., so that they are all searchable via s single query.  The integrated product allows users to search without first having to decide which OSTI product is likely to have the content he/she seeks.  This product is

We have integrated comparable offerings from about 14 other agencies so that all the virtually combined offerings can be searched via a single query. allows users to search without first having to decide which agency offers which content.  The DOE contribution to is .

We have integrated comparable offerings from about 70 other countries so that all the offerings can be searched via a single query.  The US contribution to is allows users to search without first having to decide which country offers which content.  The virtual collection is enormous, being comparable in size to science made searchable via Google.  Our tests suggest, however, that well over 90% of the content of WorldWideScience is non-Googelable.

Until June 11, 2010, the content accessible via WorldWideScience had English titles and other bibliographic information.  On June 11, 2010 WorldWideScience became multilingual. ...

Related Topics:, Science Accelerator, (WWS), federated search


Connectivity and Communications in Global Science

The recent launch of a new multilingual search capability for international science-  multilingual (see ) represents a significant step towards increasing connectivity and communications in global science. Hosted at the DOE Office of Scientific and Technical Information within the Office of Science, this instant access to international scientific literature acquires special significance in today's era of international science and large multi-national collaborations.

Some might say the language of science is mathematics. Others would vote for experiments and observational data. In yet another sense simulations and modeling allow predictive science. Along with these 'universal' languages of science, scientists need to communicate via the spoken and written word.  With other nations increasing their investments in Science and Technology, and often publishing in their native languages, we may thus miss out on new results due to language barriers that restrict our access and search tools. Likewise, the dissemination of our science to geographically and linguistically distant colleagues is not fully successful if we are losing sections of non-English speaking readers.

Today we tend to take our easy access to information as granted. Without committing to actual years - many of us remember how difficult it used to be to access research publications in our efforts to understand the past to create science for the future. Especially difficult were the situations when we needed to find international journals and decipher publications in foreign languages. Sometimes we had to wait for months to get a document translated - only to find it did not really contain the material we needed.  Not only do...

Related Topics: (WWS), multilingual, translations


Science Accelerator Brings You More Access and More to Access

You can now have multiple access points to Science Accelerator at your fingertips. Just download the new tabbed widget and you will have access to search Science Accelerator, to the RSS feed, and to the Science Accelerator Alerts.  Download via the 'Get Widget Options' link or by placing the inclusion code in the online location of your choice.

When you use the widget search feature, a federated search provides one-stop simultaneous searching of multiple networked data resources, including the newly-added resources -- DOE Data Explorer and DOE Green Energy.

DOE Data Explorer contains collections of scientific research data such as computer simulations, numeric data files, figures and plots, interactive maps, multimedia, and scientific images that have been generated in the course of DOE-sponsored research in various science disciplines.  These publicly available data collections support DOE research results that are well documented in journal articles, conference literature, and technical reports that are available via the Science Accelerator.

DOE Green Energy is a portal to information about various forms of green energy, including solar, wind, bioenergy, and others. It provides access to DOE technical report literature, green energy patent information, and other green energy results from research and development conducted throughout the Department and by DOE-funded awards at universities.  It contains both current research and historical research.


Related Topics: DOE Data Explorer (DDE)-Obsolete, DOE Green Energy, Science Accelerator, accelerator, access, accomplishments, citation clustering, conferences, customizing e-prints information, management, patents, projects, reports, science, search, software, winners