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I’ve always appreciated the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) for the way they manage and give access to .gov scientific information – and for the fact that they’ve long shared their metadata freely and allowed libraries to download their MARC records in bulk. Now they’ve added *another* feature to their search for which I’ve long wished; OSTI has added a figure and table search to their engine! Now if we could only get GPO to add this feature to GOVINFO. Imagine having a zanran-style search for tabular data and images in all govt documents?!
Thanks again OSTI!
OSTI.GOV has introduced a search for figure and table images included in DOE’s collection of scientific and technical information. This innovative new feature allows users to search for and retrieve documents as usual, but the associated images are also retrieved, and can be viewed with the corresponding document or in a separate tab for images only. Currently, over 5,000 documents have been mined for images, resulting in over 41,000 available for searching.
To populate and power this image search, relevant figures and tables are extracted from full-text documents using modified open-source software, and then the images and associated metadata are carefully curated in-house to make them findable at OSTI.GOV. Emphasis has been placed on extracting visual materials from some of the newest full-text records in OSTI.GOV, specifically journal articles accepted manuscripts that have recently been released from embargo.
ON a recent Govdoc-l thread about searching for technical reports (which I *love* as a member of the TRAIL network!), someone mentioned the OpenNet database. I hadn’t heard of this resource, so went searching. Turns out that OpenNet is a database of declassified documents and records from the Department of Energy, very handy for technical and scientific information. Here’s how they describe it:
The OpenNet database provides easy, timely access to over 485,000 bibliographic references and 140,000 recently declassified documents, including information declassified in response to Freedom of Information Act requests. In addition to these documents, OpenNet references older document collections from several DOE sources. This database is updated regularly as more information becomes available.
Well, that piqued my interest, since I thought my library might get OpenNet documents into our catalog as part of OSTI’s MARC records batch downloads of ScitechConnect materials. I contacted OSTI to see and here’s the response I got:
Technically, OpenNet is not an OSTI resource. OSTI produces the product on contract for the DOE Office of History and Heritage Resources. OSTI’s products contain scientific and technical information and OpenNet’s content is declassified material. There is some overlap between the two. If an STI report was initially classified and later declassified, it should appear in both. However, there is a lot of correspondence, notes, and other “unpublished” stuff in OpenNet and some of it might contain STI that won’t appear in SciTech Connect due to the format of the material. So there are declassified reports that appear in both databases and will have MARC records. The majority of the OpenNet records are not considered STI and will not be in SciTech Connect and have MARC records.
So there you have it. I recommend that all libraries catalog OpenNet for their databases pages!
First, Science.gov Mobile is now available at m.science.gov as a web app. No download required.
The new databases:
- Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) (EPA) under Environment and Environmental Quality
- DOE Data Explorer under Math, Physics, Chemistry (a product of Science Accelerator)
- Energy Science and Technology Software Center (ESTSC) DOE (a product of Science Accelerator)
Science.gov now provides access to more than 45 databases that can be searched one at a time or simultaneously and can also be a very useful discovery tool to learn about U.S. government science databases accessible to the general public.
I’m really impressed with the work that OSTI is doing to build digital collections of scientific and technical information as well as to push the boundaries of access by building databases, federated search tools, being an OAI node, distributing bibliographic records and generally finding unique and innovative ways to make scientific and technical information available on the Web (I just love the idea of an adopt-a-doc program!!).
In particular, a blog post entitled Beyond Collecting: Connecting from a few weeks back (yes my feedreader is bursting at the seams 🙂 ) caught my eye. They’ve basically gone out and built a digital infrastructure along the lines of what we at FGI have been advocating for lo these many years. That is, they’ve realized that they can’t possibly collect it all. Instead of building one big central repository, they’re relying on many agencies and actors to host content and standards-based metadata of interest to them. OSTI can then use increasingly robust digital tools to aggregate and provide search mechanisms for vast amounts of information — to “connect users with the highest quality science information without collecting or hosting it.”
THAT’S what I envision for the Federal Depository Library Program: a collaborative network of libraries (a technical and social P2P network!) hosting content of interest to their local communities, creating and maintaining standardized metadata, connecting up with each other to create powerful search tools across the network. This is the many-hands-make-light-work digital model to which we in the documents community should be espousing.
–that is all.
OSTI has embraced a new paradigm for sharing scientific and technical information (STI). Historically, OSTI has fulfilled its mission of providing STI to scientists, researchers, and the public by hosting, or collecting, documents and/or metadata. OSTI’s new paradigm is to make content searchable that is often hosted by others; today, OSTI connects those seeking the content with the organizations that host it.
Beginning in the late 1940’s, with OSTI’s production of the Nuclear Science Abstracts – which was to go on for nearly 30 years, OSTI entered into the business of collecting information. Beginning in the 1990’s, OSTI began creating web application to make the collected content openly accessible and conveniently searchable. ETDE Web, DOE Information Bridge, the Energy Citations Database, and DOE R&D Accomplishments are some of the successful applications.
In the last several years, OSTI’s approach to disseminating STI has evolved. Recent applications such as the Eprint Network, Science.gov, DOE Science Accelerator, and WorldWideScience.org connect users with the highest quality science information without collecting or hosting it.
How does OSTI move beyond collecting to connecting and what does connecting mean? OSTI’s new applications search content that is housed in document repositories owned by a number of government agencies and government-sanctioned organizations. OSTI applications search a number of these repositories on the fly and they aggregate the content from the sources they search and present the most relevant of the search results to the user. This simultaneous and real-time search of multiple repositories is called federated search. OSTI’s federated search applications serve as portals to specific subjects. In being subject-specific, they connect users to the highest quality STI in their fields of interest.
Why is OSTI embracing the connection model? Quite simply, OSTI can far better achieve its mission by making great quantities of content openly accessible and conveniently searchable, but it is impossible to collect and keep current such quantities of content from multiple content sources. “Connecting” to content is doable, while “collecting” is not. (My emphasis added!)
We believe that by connecting users to content, we provide a more comprehensive and authoritative search. In doing so, we accelerate the advancement of science.