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OSTIblog Articles in the science Topic

@OSTIgov Twitter is Trending!


@OSTIgov Twitter is Trending!

Social media has changed the way we look at everything. Just in the past few years, society has moved from a limited amount of news sources to an infinite network of information. And we don’t necessarily have to go looking for data because links, advertisements and news stories seem to be popping up on every screen, message or page. That’s why it’s more important than ever to know where valuable scientific and technical information can be accessed. One way the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is reaching out  to folks interested in high quality federally-funded scientific and technical information is through their Twitter account @OSTIgov.

@OSTIgov frequently posts information about current topics of interest such as STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) resources; search queries for weatherization; or laboratory highlights just to mention a few. Our team identifies timely subjects and cross references links to complete search results and datasets within OSTI websites. The goal is to attract science-attentive twitter users who will appreciate the post and continue using OSTI’s helpful resources. @OSTIgov also promotes DOE or @Energy tweets and other agencies or national labs that present science-related information.

The Twitter followers for @OSTIgov continue to steadily increase and we encourage you to join the information team! In addition to @OSTIgov we support two other helpful accounts: @sciencegov and @worldwidescienc. @sciencegov provides information from 13 agencies and includes "Science in the News" headlines. @worldwidescienc covers data from over 80 national and international scientific databases and portals.

Join the @OSTIgov team and see what’s trending each day! Your next discovery could be one click away!

Related Topics: @ostigov, osti, science, social media, twitter


A big anniversary for an even bigger collaboration!


A big anniversary for an even bigger collaboration!

Ten years ago this month was launched!  The cross-agency portal was created to break down the stovepipes of science information, knowing that it is difficult to know which federal agency holds what information.  Thanks to longtime relationships between the agency senior information managers of CENDI as well as a partnership with, and with the efforts of many, many supporters, a unique and grassroots project was undertaken and still provides an important service today.  A special thanks to our Alliance co-chairs during these years:  Eleanor Frierson, NAL/USDA (retired); Tom Lahr, NBII/USGS (retired); Cindy Etkin, GPO; Tina Gheen, LOC; Annie Simpson, USGS.

Some interesting facts:

  • Number of Websites, 2002 – 90
  • Number of Websites, 2012 – 2100+
  • Number of Large Databases, 2002 – 18
  • Number of Large Databases, 2012 – 59
  • Number of Pages Searched, 2002 – under 45 million
  • Number of Pages Searched, 2012 – 200 million+
  • Number of Participating Agencies, 2002 – 10
  • Number of Participating Agencies, 2012 – 13
  • Number of Page Views, Fiscal Year 2003 – 751,180
  • Number of Page Views, Fiscal Year 2012 – 34 million+

Here is to the next ten years! 

Related Topics: anniversary, CENDI, information, partnership, science,,


Get scientific e-prints


Get scientific e-prints

The E-print Network provides a vast, integrated network of electronic scientific and technical information created by scientists and research engineers active in their respective fields, all full-text searchable.  Documents such as these are the means by which today’s scientists and researchers communicate their recent findings to their colleagues and by which they propose new ideas of how the world works to their peers for their collective judgment.  Documents such as these then are of the sort that becomes the central body of scientific information.  While the E-print Network is intended for use by scientists, engineers, and students at advanced levels, it is freely available for all users.

The gateway provides access to over 35,000 websites and numerous research databases worldwide containing over 5.5 million e-prints in basic and applied sciences in areas such as physics, computer and information technologies, biology and life sciences, environmental sciences, materials science, chemistry, nuclear sciences and engineering, energy research, and other disciplines of interest to DOE.

Related Topics: colleagues, documents, E-Print Network (EPN), e-prints, full text, physics, researchers, science, scientists, searchable


Keep current – sign up now!


Keep current – sign up now!

We’ve made tracking a science topic in key DOE/OSTI resources easy with the Science Accelerator Alerts service.  It's as simple as first registering for Science Accelerator Alerts and then proceeding along one of the following channels:

1) conduct a search on your chosen topic/author and then select the 'Create an Alert' button on the search results page;

2) go directly to the Alerts Login page and register.

Either of these methods will take you to a page containing an 'Alert Profile' form. Complete the profile, select the frequency of your Alerts and save. You will then receive Alerts via email and also create a personal account.

The Science Accelerator was developed as a tool to advance discovery and to deliver science information. It empowers you to search, via a single query, important information resources of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) scientific and technical information. These resources contain the results of DOE research and development (R&D) projects and programs, major R&D accomplishments, and recent research of interest to DOE. They enable you to explore significant DOE discoveries, learn about DOE Nobel Prize Winners, access and search scientific e-prints, locate science conference papers and proceedings, and more.

So to broaden your knowledge base and accelerate your science, register for Science Accelerator Alerts today.

Related Topics: alerts, e-prints, Nobel Prize, research results, resources, science, Science Accelerator, scientific


Making Scientific Databases Work Together—For You (psst . . . that's "search interoperability")

by Dr. Walt Warnick 13 Feb, 2012 in Technology


Making Scientific Databases Work Together—For You (psst . . . that's "search interoperability")

Sometimes something complex can work so seamlessly that it’s easy to miss. We think that’s the case with our solution in achieving search interoperability.

As you may know, “search interoperability” is just a fancy way of saying that lots of scientific databases scattered far and wide can be made to work together so that your job as a seeker of science information is easy. You can go to one search box, say, type in your search term, and get results from over a hundred important repositories and a couple of thousand scientific websites – with one click.

And you know that this is a good thing, because as a practical matter, you cannot be expected to conjure in advance which database might hold the information you seek. Nor can you be expected to search dozens of sources one-by-one.

That would be an onerous task. Also, as an experienced seeker of quality science information, you are well aware that commercial search engines (read, Google, Bing, etc.) sometimes cannot mine the deep web for you, thus missing R&D results residing there (see Federated Search - The Wave of the Future?).

So achieving search interoperability with OSTI’s federated search tools, such as,, and the E-print Network, has been an important development, though by no means easily accomplished. There are myriad obstacles that can block information exchanges between systems.  (To learn more about the broad topic of interoperability and obstacles to exchanging information, see the Wikipedia article on interoperability.)

Specific to our world of scientific and technical information, the challenge of interoperability basically stems from the simple fact...

Related Topics: databases, E-Print Network (EPN), federation, interoperability, science,, (WWS)


How to Integrate Anything on the Web

by Dr. Walt Warnick 03 Aug, 2011 in Technology


How to Integrate Anything on the Web

OSTI is especially proud of its web integration work whereby we take multiple web pages, documents, and web databases and make them appear to the user as if they were an integrated whole.   Once the sources are virtually integrated by OSTI, the virtual collection becomes searchable via a single query.  Because information on the web appears in a variety of formats, from HTML web pages, to PDF documents, to searchable databases, OSTI has developed and uses a suite of integration approaches to make them searchable via single query.  

OSTI has two goals that make it critical for us to understand multiple solutions for integrating science content on the web.  First, we make DOE science information widely available and searchable by appropriate audienceswherever they may be; and second, we make science information from around the world searchable by DOE researchers.  Since migrating to a fully electronic operationin the late 1990s, OSTI has met these goals by deploying various search architectures for integrating content via the web.

Within the information science circles that we engage in, we are well known for our pioneering work with the integration technology known as federated search. However, there are other, possibly lesser known,  technologies that we employ to integrate web content.

To  integrate information sources which are not interoperable, we see three categories of solutions:  1) you can create a data warehouse where you copy the information items, standardize metadata, and host them on your own servers;  2) you can create a discovery service wherein you index source items without copying them and then host the index on your server   (this technology is similar to that used by the major search engines except that you carefully direct the indexing tools, i.e., the crawler, so that only pre-selected material is indexed); and 3) you can use federated search to take advantage of existing search interfaces...

Related Topics: data warehouse, federated search, information, integration, r&d, science, scientific, technical


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


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


The Science Knowledge Imperative: Making non-Googleable Science Findable

Just as science progresses only if knowledge is shared, accelerating the sharing of knowledge accelerates science. All of us engaged in disseminating science knowledge have the opportunity and obligation to do our jobs better, for to do so accelerates science itself. 

To this end, I propose a grand challenge--to make more science available to, and searchable by, more people than ever before. A momentous milestone will be achieved once we enable everyone with web access the ability to search with unparalleled precision a billion pages of authoritative science. Already, considerable progress has been made.  

My organization, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is responsible for the scientific and technical information operations of the Department. Over the last 11 years, OSTI has become entirely web-based. Of course, we are just one among many entities who connect people to knowledge using the web. Most notably, Google, Yahoo!, and other conventional search engine providers do this, too.

Google and other conventional search engines do for the web what publishers have long done for books--they create an index so that customers can quickly find information. Web users value this service so highly that search companies have become phenomenally successful enterprises. 

However, an important misunderstanding has sprung up about Google and the others. That is, the false presumption, especially among young people, that most useful information is available via conventional search engines such as Google and Yahoo!

In fact, much of the information on the web is inherently unavailable to Google and Yahoo! This key limitation would come as a surprise to...

Related Topics: crawling, E-Print Network (EPN), federated search, google, science,, (WWS)