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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

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,


The X-Portal Vision of the Future

by Peter Lincoln 05 Oct, 2009 in Technology

As OSTI Director Walt Warnick likes to say, today's Web is like the Model T Ford -- revolutionary but ready for vast improvement. This is especially true when it comes to making the Web work for science and technology. In that spirit I want to describe a new kind of Web Portal, one which has yet to be built. It is called the X-Portal.

An X-Portal provides comprehensive coverage for a specific science or technology community, where X refers to that community. In other words, an X-Portal for biofuels is a comprehensive biofuels portal. X = Neutron Science gives a comprehensive neutron science portal, and so on. There can be as many X-Portals as there are communities, but each has a similar design.

The need for X-Portals

The need for X-Portals is based on the fact that today's search engines and portals typically provide less than 5% coverage of any given science community. Today's Web portals and search engines, while revolutionary, are technologically immature and far from comprehensive. As a result they do relatively little to overcome the cognitive barrier of findability. One can usually find something relevant, but it is seldom the best thing out there. With 5% coverage the odds are 19 to 1 against finding the best accessible content. Moreover, if the coverage extends to a large number of other communities, as with Google, even that 5% may be swamped by hits on other communities.

There are two principal reasons for these deficiencies. First of all today's portals try to be too broad, so they wind up being shallow. This means they only capture a small fragment of any given technical community. Second, because they are so broad they cannot make use of the emerging technologies of federation, semantic analysis, mapping and visualization. These new technologies require a certain amount of analytical effort that is specific to each community. When the content is too broad these technologies are prohibitively difficult to apply.


Related Topics: federated search,, (WWS), x-portal


OSTI's Web Metrics - Partially Measuring Success

by Mark Martin 24 Sep, 2009 in Technology

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...

Related Topics: Information Bridge (IB), Information Bridge MARC Records, marc, mission, Science Accelerator,

Read more...'s Unique Collaboration is a one-stop portal for federal government science information.  Over 200 million pages of science information from 14 federal agencies may be searched through a single query.  How far we have come in the past decade!

You may not be aware that was developed and is governed by the Alliance, a group of science information managers who began working together to overcome the stovepipes of agency information in 2001.   This unusual collaboration has taken a bottom-up approach throughout the development and operation of the site.  All participating agencies have an equal voice in the process; all agencies manage their own content through a decentralized content management model.   In addition, agencies maintain their own databases which are searched by in real-time.

I am pleased to note that the Alliance and their "out of the box" techniques have served the science attentive citizen well for almost 7 years!

Valerie Allen

Related Topics:, alliance


OSTI's Pioneering Technology Efforts

by Mark Martin 24 Jul, 2009 in Technology

A typical misconception I face when I tell people that I work within the government is that they think my job, even though it is in the technology arena, must move at a snail's pace relative to the commercial sector. This preconceived notion that our government crawls along relative to technology adoption and innovation - at least in my experience - is way off the mark.

Here at OSTI we can cite several examples where we have been on the bleeding edge of technological development. Not only have we been on the bleeding edge, in some cases we have been on that bleeding edge in cooperation with some of the largest, most innovative technology companies in the world.

For example, OSTI has been a pioneering force in federated search technology since the late 1990s. Federated search, for those of you new to the term, is the simultaneous search of multiple online databases or web resources from a single query. The Wikipedia article on federated search is an excellent resource for more information on exactly how federated search works.

Before the term "federated search" had been coined, OSTI was implementing pioneering technology that would come to be known as federated search. In April 1999, OSTI launched EnergyPortal Search, a product now encompassed in EnergyFiles.  EnergyPortal Search was the first federated search application deployed by OSTI and the first product of its kind in the government.  In December 2002, OSTI launched, the first ever search capability across major science agencies. In June 2007, OSTI introduced the concept of, which searches across national and international...

Related Topics: Energy Files, federated search, milestones,, (WWS)


Tool Supports OSTI Mashups

Did you know that science information is available via web "mashups"? Web "mashups" combine multiple products/services into a single application for the purpose of consolidating information with an easy-to-use interface.

The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) uses "mashups" to return search results from Science Accelerator,, and These "mashups" include external sources of information, in these cases from Wikipedia and EurekAlert!, that are provided as a service to the user for help with additional background information or with the ability to further study their topic.

These "mashups" are made possible by OSTI's use of a federated search to perform all-encompassing searches of important databases and collections. Science Accelerator searches U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) databases of scientific and technical information representing billions of dollars of DOE research. searches U.S. government agency scientific databases and web pages. searches national and international scientific databases and portals.

Federated searching provides each of the three products with one-stop simultaneous searching of multiple networked data resources via a single query. When a query is entered, it is sent to selected databases, collections, and/or web portals that are available for searching. The individual data resources send back results, which are ranked in relevance order and are provided to the user as "mashups". Users can examine these "mashups" to find specific results that contain information that is useful to...

Related Topics: doe, mashup, osti, Science Accelerator,, (WWS)


It's been a big summer for sharing science info--and it's still only June!


It's been a big summer for sharing science info--and it's still only June!

Did you know:

  • That now you can find research from China when you search within  OSTI was in Ottawa June 10 helping formalize the addition of China to the WorldWideScience Alliance? In addition, now you can quickly narrow your results list to the research you need, share them on social networking sites, bookmark your search, and set up alerts.
  • That now you can learn about OSTI tools and services on our OSTI YouTube site launched in June?
  • That you can Adopt-A-Doc? OSTI launched a new site for this tool in June that puts you in the driver's seat for helping make important research available online.
  • That you can now more easily navigate and find exciting scientific discoveries, search tools, and science information of interest to you by using OSTI's redesigned home page (launched June 10).
  • That from June 14 to June 17, close to 6,000 librarians and participants in the Special Librarian Associations 2009 Conference in Washington DC were afforded the opportunity to learn about OSTI's special librarian tools, and search engines just for science - DOE Science Accelerator (DOE collections), (U.S. sources), and (global sources)? OSTI supported two displays at the SLA exhibit.
  • That OSTI has developed a strategic plan for making the web work better for science?


And did you know that now you can more easily let us know what you think about our...

Related Topics: Adopt-A-Doc, OSTI Youtube Channel, Science Accelerator,, SciTech Connect, youtube


On Credibility of Search Results

On March 2nd I wrote an article for the Federated Search Blog: On credibility  of search results.

The article asserts that a federated search engine is only as good as the quality of the content to which it provides access. While the major consumer-oriented search engines may provide more search results overall, it is left to the user of the search application to sift through the search results to identify which content represents credible scientific and technical information.

OSTI doesn't suffer from this quality issue. As stewards for DOE research output, OSTI only disseminates the most credible information. Below are just a few examples of OSTI's commitment to providing only vetted quality information via its federated search applications. provides access to only credible information via federated search; empowers researchers and the science attentive citizen to search important information resources of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) scientific and technical information.

Beyond DOE, delivers 200 million pages of authoritative U.S. government science information from 14 federal agencies that participate in the Alliance.

At the global level, serves as a worldwide science portal to the most credible information from international government agencies and from organizations sanctioned by their governments.

As OSTI grows and the scientific and technical information we provide expands, the quality of information we provide will always remain high.

Sol Lederman
OSTI Consultant

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


Introducing 5.0

Science.Gov 5.0 is now available!

The first thing you'll notice is the new main page design. The same elements are there, but reconfigured to update the website look and feel. We have also added seven deep web sources (see DOE press release) into the search. 

If you're a frequent user of, you may have had a hand in the recent enhancements. Many of the new 5.0 technical features are in response to past suggestions from users. Topic "clustering" is available on the results so you can drill down into subtopics to focus your research. Presented alongside the results is auxiliary information from the AAAS EurekAlert! Science News and from Wikipedia. Also new with this version is the ability to download search results into your citation management software - a specific request from the library community. You will also notice a new Alerts interface which allows you to set up an ATOM or RSS feed of your Alerts.

The Alliance has released a major version of each year since its launch in December 2002. We continue that tradition with the newest release, realizing that both technology and R&D results from U.S. federal government continue to grow at a very significant pace. 

The Alliance is itself an interesting story, a truly unique example of federal agencies overcoming "stovepipes" to create a true cross-agency portal. You may read more information on this initiative and its participants on OSTI hosts and manages the site for the Alliance.

I do hope you find the upgraded features of our Version 5.0 helpful. We'...

Related Topics: alerts, rss feed,, alliance