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OSTIblog Posts by Sharon Jordan

Sharon Jordan's picture
Former OSTI Assistant Director, Program Integration

STIP Partnership Ensures DOE R&D Results Are Disseminated

Science Communications

Published on Jun 16, 2011

STIP meeting

 

Many posts could be written about the rich history of the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), which dates back to 1945 when Colonel K. D. Nichols announced plans for a complete and authoritative scientific record of all research work performed by Manhattan District contractors.  However, I want to focus on a specific slice of that history, one that is going strong and is well represented across the DOE complex.  I’m referring to DOE’s Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP, www.osti.gov/stip).

Just a month ago, STIP representatives from across the DOE complex convened in Pleasanton, CA, to participate in the annual STIP Working Meeting.  This important present-day collaboration, which is coordinated by OSTI, stems from the 1948 establishment of the Technical Information Panel by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).  In 1948, the country was just coming to terms with the wealth of scientific research resulting from the Manhattan Project. The formation of the Technical Information Panel was an important step forward for the agency and focused on establishing information policies, ascertaining information needs, recommending information dissemination methods, and serving as an important liaison between central and local organizations.

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The Jordan Aha! Test for Visualizations

Technology

Published on Mar 24, 2010

carbon-60 Bucky Ball

 

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Such is the justification and hope for visualizations.  Examples of enlightening visualizations are structural models of molecules like the carbon-60 Bucky Ball used in OSTI’s recent YouTube video.  The model shows a carbon atom at each intersection of molecular bonds. 

Another example of an enlightening visualization is Charles Joseph Minard’s famous graph showing the decreasing size of Napoleon’s army as it marches to Moscow and back with the size of the army equal to the width of the line.

Visualizations are often beautiful, but to be useful they must also convey a message.   At OSTI, we have adopted what has come to be called the Jordan Aha! Test as a metric of success for visualizations.  The concept is that a visualization is useful if the observer is informed by it so that she can exclaim “Aha!” 

Our experience at OSTI suggests that crafting a visualization that passes the Jordan Aha! Test is often surprisingly challenging.

Sharon Jordan

OSTI

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