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OSTIblog Articles in the products and content Topic

A Remarkable Encomium for

“World Wide Science is the world’s most important scientific resource, where the global science community can share knowledge.”  This remarkable encomium did not come from just any casual observer, but from a leader of one of the world’s top information organizations.  While interviewing with Information World Review, Richard Boulderstone, director of e-strategy and information systems at the British Library, shared this perspective. 

Boulderstone elaborated further. “It enables researchers to search over 50 national databases simultaneously and freely access high quality, authoritative information on cutting-edge scientific research.  It makes available more than 360 million pages of information covering energy, medicine, agriculture and the environment, and continues to expand.”   

This is an enormous compliment to everyone who has put so much hard work into creating and maintaining  Congratulations to all.

Kristin Bingham


Related Topics: (WWS), boulderstone, british library


Federated Search: An Often Overlooked Example of e-Science

A term of art now catching on is “e-Science.”  According to Wikipedia, “The term e-Science (or eScience) is used to describe computationally intensive science that is carried out in highly distributed network environments, or science that uses immense data sets that require grid computing; the term sometimes includes technologies that enable distributed collaboration, such as the Access Grid. The term was created by John Taylor, the Director General of the United Kingdom's Office of Science and Technology in 1999 and was used to describe a large funding initiative starting in November 2000. Examples of the kind of science include social simulations, particle physics, earth sciences and bio-informatics.”

Our “federated search”  is not what most folks mean by e-Science, but “federated search” nevertheless fits the definition.  Indeed, it seems quite reasonable to think of federated search as the text-based manifestation of e-Science.

As the Wikipedia article notes, the technology that enables e-Science is “grid computing.”  Back several years ago, the DOE Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research had a Small Business Innovation Research...

Related Topics: e-science, federated search


More Teachers, More Opportunities!

There was good news coming from the University of Tennessee (UT) and the State of Tennessee in 2009!  A $1.8 million grant was announced that will help put more math and science teachers into Tennessee schools!  This program, called VolsTeach, is designed to meet the increasing need for more math and science teachers. It provides paid internships and interesting community outreach activities and opportunities.

This indicates a proactive, forward way of thinking and a dedication to education at the state level in Tennessee where the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is located and where we can help in a “hands on” manner!  OSTI’s EDU Outreach Program (partly through the .EDUconnections webpage) not only focuses on supporting universities, and community colleges, but also teachers, principals and librarians at high schools throughout the country.  OSTI’s online resources provide an incredible wealth of scientific and technical information at the click of a mouse. 

Another program, Teach Here, is a teaching residency program for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals who are moving into secondary careers in education to help with teaching shortages.  This program is funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant and the Americorps.  OSTI also teams with NSF on websites such as to provide the best in science and technology information available from government...

Related Topics:, .EDUconnections, University of Tennessee


Why might the critical-point behavior of coauthorship networks be universal? The symmetry group of the associated concept space

In December 2008, Luis Bettencourt and David Kaiser reported their findings[1] from studies of research collaboration networks, which included their discovery that, as coauthorship networks in a particular field reach the point of forming a single giant component of interconnected authors that dwarfs all other coauthor groups in that field, the growth near that point depends in a universal way on the average number of coauthors per author.  In particular, the fraction of coauthor links that belong to the giant component appears to be proportional to ( - kc)0.35, where kc, which marks the critical point, depends on the research field.[2]  The remarkable fact is that the exponent, 0.35, fits the data for networks in several quite distinct fields.  This value apparently isn’t common to networks in general, though.  I had wondered what features of a network do determine the exponent’s value. 

Many physical systems exhibit critical-point transitions like the formation of a giant component in networks—e.g., iron magnets lose their magnetism at a certain critical temperature, and the sharp difference between the densities of water and water vapor disappears above a critical pressure. ...

Related Topics: bettencourt, coauthorship, kaiser


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

Read more... Enhancements has an updated look this week to make room for enhancements.   The enhancements will both faciliate use and awareness of and highlight findings and activities of the participating agencies.

Want to share or save a permanent link on via social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook? There is now a sharing and bookmarking toolbar on the main page as well as on each subject page . 

Science in the News is a new feature providing current news from many of the participating agencies. Aggregated headlines from agency RSS feeds scroll on the page, allowing users to keep up with agency news by consulting just one location.   The most current headlines are on the main page while headlines from the past several days are continued on a separate page.  Headlines are linked to the full agency information. 

Current agencies providing RSS feeds to the aggregated feed are:  

Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Department of Education, Federal Resources for Educational  Excellence 

Department of Energy 

Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Department of Health and Human Services, NLM MedlinePlus 

Department of Interior, U.S. Geological Survey

Department of Transportation 

Environmental Protection Agency 

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

National Science Foundation

More agency RSS feeds will be integrated soon, so keep watching!   

Valerie Allen webmanager 

Related Topics:, doe, dot, fda, nist, rss


DOE R&D Accomplishments Brings You More!

To enhance the user's experience, multiple additions have been made to DOE R&D Accomplishments.  These include

*    *more information about the content of DOE R&D Accomplishments and a brief history of DOE and predecessors, available on a new About page,

*    *additional ways to navigate -- via the faceted menu and the Menu Synopsis page, which contains menu items and links, each accompanied by a very brief description,

*    *the ability to Share (at the top of each page), which provides the opportunity to share a DOE R&D Accomplishments web page,

*    *and a blog, which provides comments about and calls attention to the multiple diverse aspects of the DOE R&D Accomplishments unique and specialized collection.

The new feature page is about Nobel Laureate Melvin Calvin, whose landmark research and body of scientific work into how plants capture energy from the sun...

Related Topics: DOE Research & Development (R&D) Accomplishments, research-results


Federated Search - Don't Get Caught Taking the Narrow View of What is Possible

 As with most things, all federated search products are not created equally. Recently, I ran across a situation where federated search was derided for lack of capability related to precision search and relevancy ranking. As is often the case, this derision is founded in a narrow view of federated search. The view that federated search is only capable of generically searching data stores or not providing relevance across the resources being searched is this narrow view of what the technology can achieve. At OSTI we see these issues as the challenges that federated search faces, not the reality it must operate in. Recently, I pointed out that OSTI has been on the forefront of the development of federated search for over a decade. During that time, working in close partnership with Deep Web Technologies, we have made significant advances in our federated search technology to combat the issues of the narrow view.

Precision search has been a focus for the development of OSTI’s federated search technology dating back to the original EnergyPortal Search deployment in 1999. As an information acquisition and dissemination organization, precision search is of paramount importance to OSTI. This requirement has led to the federated search technology deployed here at OSTI having the capability to provide fielded advanced search., launched in 2002, provides the ability to not only search the entire record, but also to do a fielded search against titles, authors, and publication dates. This feature is accomplished by developing very sophisticated data source connection technology that takes into account the unique search interfaces provided by each individual source in


Related Topics: deep web technologies, energy portal


OSTI Connects with Universities Nationwide

One of OSTI’s founding missions is to support education. From the early 1960s when OSTI provided educational materials on the atom and published the booklet called “Understanding the Atom” we have been committed to education. While information in OSTI databases can be used by teachers, students and parents for Kindergarten through High School, many of the technical documents and research findings are better suited for university studies.

OSTI’s databases contain thousands of university research projects that were either funded by DOE or sponsored through partnerships. Who needs this higher-level information? University students, professors and librarians need ready access to this information to advance scientific discovery! OSTI’s goal is to provide all of this information in an easily accessible, organized, online format that is available at no cost. And we’ve done just that! Now OSTI is focusing on how we can help communicate better and ensure that the DOE laboratory research communities have immediate access to these priceless resources. We’re working hard to connect with research universities across the nation to let them know about these great resources.


To that end, OSTI has connected with the education community via a new webpage launched September 1, 2009. Our new webpage, .EDUconnections, identifies core universities and academic organizations that contribute to DOE research laboratories. You will see on our “spotlight” page how their cutting-edge research solves real world problems through DOE-sponsored programs. This, in turn, helps propel our future workforce to new discoveries in engineering, mathematics and a wide variety of technical disciplines. Links are provided to the “spotlight” university or institution showing exciting new research, professors of note, and activities within their research community.
DOE resources including grants and contracts, internships,...

Related Topics: .EDUconnections, education, widgets


Be on the Alert!

Do you want to receive notification of the latest additions to key DOE/OSTI resources that contain research and development results, project descriptions, accomplishments, and more?  It's as simple as registering for Science Accelerator Alerts and then choosing a topic or author of interest.  You may either 1) conduct a search on your chosen topic/author and then select the 'Create an Alert' button on the search results page or 2) go directly to the Alerts Login page and login.  Either of these approaches will take you to a page containing an 'Alert Profile'.  Complete the profile, including the Alert frequency time frame desired, and save it.  You will then receive Alerts at the e-mail address that you provide.

Alerts joins the many other features on Science Accelerator that are available to assist with finding what you are seeking -- refining the search (search within a search), sorting the results, clustering, Wikipedia and EurekAlert! science news results, and selecting specific items of interest.  Science Accelerator also provides feature searches, the capability to e-mail your results, and Web 2.0 features -- a Widget, an RSS feed, and the Share capability.

Mary Schorn


Related Topics: Science Accelerator, alerts, research-and-development, science