Interview with Bonnie Carroll Executive Director, CENDI

Article excerpt

Tell me about current CENDI projects.

CENDI is a cooperative interagency group. We work on a broad range of issues including policy, standards, education, and operations. In the policy area we obviously are very interested in open access as well as preservation. One of our members, the National Library of Medicine (NLM), has the most concrete activities in moving forward with open access.

In the areas of education and cooperation, we are involved in activities such as the visualization of text. We are planning a workshop to look at aspects from case studies in the area and what is going on in research and development in text visualization. We also are looking at persistent identification. In the area of preservation, we are looking at the long term as well as items, such as PDFA [Adobe's PDF-Archive], as a preservation format. We are asking questions about which digital formats are good for preservation.

On the operational side our biggest interagency project is Science.gov [http://www.science.gov].

What are your most successful projects?

Clearly, the one that has universal involvement and lots of visibility as well as a real interagency cooperation story is Science.gov. It has not only the 12 CENDI agencies involved, but also different departments within the agencies, as well as agency participants that are not CENDI members but members of the Science.gov Alliance.

While we are talking about Science.gay how much of it is full text?

[For a review, see Edward Vawter, The Better Mousetrap: "Science. Gov., " Searcher, March 2006, pp. 35+.]

The heart of Science.gov is the search of deep Web databases. There are more than 1,800 federal government and government-sponsored Web sites available. Many of these databases reach into full text. It varies agency by agency and database by database. The new version of Science.gov searches bibliographic citations and metadata. The future goals are ability to reach into more full text. In the long run, it will go deeper. The state of technology we are using is searching the meta-data across agencies and databases.

What about the level of activity on Science.gov?

Use has jumped enormously. There has been a five-fold increase since 2003. If trends continue, there will be more than 4 million accesses this fiscal year. Another positive trend has been the increased use of the alert service. People can enter their profiles and be alerted on a regular basis for new information in their profile. We now have 2,800 users of this service.

How is CENDI funded?

CENDI is funded on a voluntary basis by participating agencies. Every year we have a planning meeting, and at that meeting, the agencies decide on their self-assessment dues, which provide the operating budget for CENDI.

In the past, from time to time, there has been a lot of competition among agencies. CENDI is unique in fostering cooperation. How do you deal with the competitive aspects?

We actually have never seen competition. We have agencies having different viewpoints. The strength in CENDI is that we do things by consensus and we do not have to do things in which everyone participates. We have many things where CENDI simply spawns bilateral or multilateral activities. The agencies meet at CENDI, find common ground, discuss, and go off and do things of interest to them. Within CENDI, there is more about which to cooperate than to fight.

CENDI is for executives in the scientific and technical information programs. It is their peer group. They can interact with their peers in a voluntary setting, where they can get together and talk about ways they can mutually support one another.

How are the agencies handling preservation, archiving, and access in perpetuity?

The CENDI agencies are at the forefront of setting the standards. They use CENDI as a place where they can come and vet ideas about scientific and technical information. …