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Data Conference

Barbara Wright BWright at nas.edu
Wed Sep 24 10:32:40 EST 1997

Dear colleague:

This is a reminder for readers of your Web site about the upcoming
Conference on Scientific and Technical Data Exchange and Integration.  If
you have not yet posted an announcement about it there, please do so at
your earliest convenience.  You can use the following message:

The Conference on Scientific and Technical Data Exchange and Integration
will be held December 15-17, 1997 at the Natcher Conference Center in
Bethesda, MD just outside Washington, D.C.  The conference is being
organized by the National Research Council's U.S. National Committee for
CODATA  and is being cosponsored by nine federal science agencies and
several firms.  Information about the program, registration, and local
arrangements may be obtained by calling (202) 334-2124, sending an e-mail
inquiry to <codataco at nas.edu>, or by visiting the Web site for the
conference at <http://www.nas.edu/cpsma/codata.htm>.

We also are providing below the full text of the revised conference
announcement for your information.  Please share it with others in your
organization who may be interested.

Thank you.

Paul F. Uhlir
Director, U.S. National Committee for CODATA
National Research Council
Washington, DC


                          CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT
                         (Revised September 1997)

 The Conference on Scientific and Technical Data Exchange and Integration
             Sponsored by  U.S . National Committee for CODATA
                         National Research Council

                           December 15-17, 1997
                         Natcher Conference Center
                       National Institutes of Health
                               Bethesda, MD

Purpose of the Conference

The exchange of scientific and technical (S&T) data among different
computing environments and across diverse scientific and engineering
disciplines presents major problems that hinder full exploitation of
computer-based modeling, the Internet, modern scientific databases, and new
computer technology.  The U.S. National Committee for CODATA is sponsoring
the first major interdisciplinary conference on this subject on December
15-17, 1997, in Bethesda, MD.  The conference has three main objectives:

     - To identify areas, with special emphasis on interdisciplinary needs,
     in which data exchange and integration are important;

     - To highlight major S&T data exchange and integration efforts already
     underway or in planning; and

     - To foster serious and significant cooperation in these kinds of
     activities among scientific and engineering disciplines, and
     governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Conference Sponsors

Defense Technical Information Center
Department of Energy
Environmental Protection Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Institutes of Health
National Institute of Standards and Technology
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Science Foundation
United States Geological Survey
Hughes STX Corporation
[Additional government and corporate sponsors welcome]

Preliminary Program

                         Monday, December 15, 1997
8:40 a.m. Welcome
          Goetz Oertel, U.S. National Committee for CODATA

8:45           Conference Introduction
          William Wulf, National Academy of Engineering

       Plenary Session 1: The Importance of Scientific Data Sharing

9:00           Sharing Scientific Data--A Key to Progress in
          Research and Development
          Rita Colwell, University of Maryland Biotechnology

9:30           Getting More from Our Research
Investment--Cross-discipline Research and Data
          Neal Lane, National Science Foundation

10:00     Data Exchange and Integration--Fundamental Issues
          John Rumble, National Institute of Standards and

10:30     Coffee

10:50     An Industrial Perspective: Why Industry Shares
          Scientific and Technical Data, and How
          Robert Kiggans, PDES, Inc.

11:20     The Need for Data Exchange in Global Change
          Robert Corell, National Science Foundation

11:50          Lunch

1:00 p.m. Contributed Papers, Posters, and Demonstrations
          (available for viewing until noon on Wednesday)

  Plenary Session 2: Tearing Down the Walls--The Art and Science of Data
                         Exchange and Integration

3:00           Data Exchange and Integration Approaches
          Gio Wiederhold, Stanford University

3:30           Information Modeling
          Yuhwei Yang, Product Data Integration Technology

4:00           Resolving Conceptual Disagreements
          Frank Olken, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

4:30           The Sociology of Data Exchange--Reaching Consensus
          on Data Exchange Tools
          G. Bruce Wiersma, University of Maine at Orono

5:00           Making Data Easy to Share
          Ben Shneiderman, University of Maryland

5:30           Reception

7:30      Adjourn

                           Tuesday, December 16

   Plenary Session 3: Challenges to Cooperation--Why Data Exchange Must

9:00 a.m.      Sharing Scientific and Technical Data--Maximizing
          the Potential of the National Information
          Senior Administration Official

9:45           Long-term Ecological and Environmental Data--The
          Challenge of Keeping and Remembering
          Susan Stafford, Oregon State University

10:10     Space Observation Data: Looking in and Looking out
          Jim Green, National Aeronautics and Space

10:35          Coffee

11:00     Human Health and Global Climate Change
          Paul Epstein, Harvard University

11:25     Geographic Information: What Everybody Needs, and
          David Mark, University of Buffalo

11:50          Molecular and Cellular Bioinformatics: From
Molecules to Biological Functionality
          David Lipman, National Center for Biotechnology

12:15 p.m.     Lunch

1:15           Break-Out Discussion Group Sessions (topics to be
finalized later)

2:45           Coffee

4:15           Conclusion of Break-Out Sessions

         Plenary Session 3: Challenges to Cooperation (continued)

4:30           Integrating Social Science and Natural Science Data
          Roberta Miller, Consortium for International Earth
          Science Information Network

5:00           Legal Challenges to Data Exchange and Integration
          Paul Uhlir, National Research Council

5:30           Adjourn

                          Wednesday, December 17

        Plenary Session 4: How to Cooperate--Examples of Successful
              Cross-Discipline Data Exchange and Integration

8:45 a.m. Geographic Information Systems
          John Moeller, U.S. Geological Survey and Federal
Geographic     Data Committee

9:05           ISO Standard for the Exchange of Product Data
          Howard Bloom, National Institute of Standards and

9:25           World Data Centers
          Ferris Webster, University of Delaware

9:45           The Earth Observing System
          Gregory Hunolt, National Aeronautics and Space

10:05          Coffee

                          Closing Plenary Session

10:30          Ideas from the Break-Out Sessions
          Julian Humphries, University of Kansas

10:50     Next Steps for Working Scientists
          Robert Robbins, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research

11:20          Next Steps for the Federal Research Community
          Senior Official, Office of Science and Technology

11:45          Final Remarks
          Goetz Oertel, U.S. National Committee for CODATA

Noon      Adjourn

Contributed Papers and Technical Demonstrations

The conference will consist of four types of sessions: plenary invited
lectures; contributed papers (which will be presented as posters);
technical demonstrations and exhibits; and small break-out discussion
groups.  Case studies are particularly encouraged.  Contributed papers and
demonstrations are being provided on the following topics:

     Discipline-specific data exchange activities and
     Interdisciplinary data exchange activities and
     Federally supported data exchange programs
     Definitions of scientific and technical metadata issues
     The computer science of data exchange and integration
     The impact of the Internet and the World Wide Web on S&T          data
exchange and integration
     Future needs for data exchange and integration for
scientific and technical data

The contributed papers and technical demonstrations will play a major role
in the conference by identifying existing activities and approaches that
will provide direction and insight for further activities.  All contributed
papers will be considered for publication in the Conference proceedings,
which will be published on the Internet soon after the Conference.  The
abstracts for all accepted contributed papers and technical demonstrations
and exhibits will be put on our Web site in October at

For further information about the conference, please contact:

     Paul F. Uhlir
     Director, U.S. National Committee for CODATA
     National Research Council
     2101 Constitution Avenue, NW
     Washington, DC 20418
     (202) 334-2421 (tel.)
     (202) 334-2422 (fax)
     codataco at nas.edu

For questions about the conference program, please contact:

     John Rumble
     Conference Program Chair
     National Institute of Standards and Technology
     Building 820, Room 113
     Gaithersburg, MD 20899
     (301) 975-2200 (tel.)
     john.rumble at nist.gov

Break-out Discussion Group Sessions

The purpose of the small group discussions, which will be held on the
afternoon of the second day, is to address focused topics within the broad
conference themes.  All conference participants are invited to participate
in a discussion group of their choice.  Each group will have a designated
chair and rapporteur, who will lead and record the discussion.  The results
will be used by the U.S. National Committee for CODATA and the other
conference sponsors for planning follow-on activities.  The discussion
groups are expected to examine data exchange and integration issues in the
following discipline and issue areas:

     - Biodiversity
     - Biophysics
     - Bioinformatics
     - Engineering knowledge systems
     - Industrial data
     - Space sciences
     - Earth observations
     - Geographic information
     - Social sciences
     - Intellectual property rights
     - International cooperation
     - Computer science
     - Long-term archiving

Further details about these discussion groups will be made available in

Additional Background

By data exchange is meant several things: the transfer of large amounts of
data from one set of software to other software; extracting small amounts
of data from one or more data sources for specific use; and the creation of
a linked or integrated data system with multiple data sources.  Other
possibilities exist.  Data exchange has two major components: the stream of
bits and bytes that actually represent the data items and fields, and the
contextual meaning of individual data items and fields.

S&T disciplines and applications have begun addressing data exchange
issues, but progress has been slow and difficult for a variety of reasons.
Scientists are often not accustomed to formal standards.  Discipline
experts, even though they may be quite knowledgeable in computation and
database management, frequently lack expertise in information modeling and
exchange standards.  Metadata are not well defined, complicating the
application of data across diverse scientific areas.  As a result,
interdisciplinary data exchange has been difficult to promote and rarely

Consider for a moment geographic information.  Many applications need such
information:  to locate physically the sources of samples, to describe the
range of a phenomenon, or to specify the location of an event, among
others.  Today many geographic information systems serve diverse
communities of users, and several efforts to develop standards for
exchanging data among these systems have been proposed.  Yet progress to
develop such standards in other areas has been slow.  Other types of
scientific data, such as biological nomenclature, chemical and engineering
material identification and temporal data, suffer the same problem.  Many
uses for these data exist outside the scientific disciplines that generate
them, yet accepted methods for exchanging these data remain elusive.

In Finding the Forest in the Trees, The Challenge of Combining Diverse
Environmental Data, the U.S. National Committee for CODATA clearly
documented case studies in which data interfacing, defined in that report
as the coordination, combination or integration of data for the purpose of
modeling, correlation, pattern analysis, hypotheses testing, and field
investigation at various scales, was necessary to achieve full value of
research investment.  Data interfacing is founded upon the standards and
protocols agreed to by different scientific disciplines to exchange data.
Particular emphasis must be put on the role of metadata in this data


The Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) is an
interdisciplinary committee organized under the International Council of
Scientific Unions (ICSU).  CODATA is concerned with all types of
quantitative data resulting from experimental measurements or observations
in the physical, biological, geological, and astronomical sciences.
Particular emphasis is given to data management problems common to
different scientific disciplines and to data used outside the field in
which they were generated.  The general objectives are the improvement of
the quality and accessibility of data, as well as the methods by which data
are acquired, managed, and analyzed; the facilitation of international
cooperation among those collecting, organizing, and using data; and the
promotion of an increased awareness in the scientific and technical
community of the importance of these activities.

The U.S. National Committee for CODATA is organized by the National
Research Council to administer activities within the United States related
to CODATA.  The Committee is funded by several federal agencies.  Over the
past decade, the Committee has completed several studies that have
identified and analyzed issues related to maximizing the availability and
usability of scientific and technical data.  This national conference
builds upon those studies and is intended to spur further progress and
cooperation in data exchange and integration.

Local Information

The conference will be held at the Natcher Conference Center (Building 45)
on the NIH Campus, 45 Center Drive (off of Wisconsin Avenue/Rockville
Pike), Bethesda, Maryland.  301-496-9966.  There is a cafeteria at the
Natcher Center which is open for breakfast and lunch.  The Natcher Center
is accessible for the physically challenged.

Hotel Accommodations
A block of rooms has been made available for conference attendees at the
Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1 Bethesda Metro Center, Bethesda, MD, at the rates of
$110.71 for single occupancy, $135.71 for double occupancy, plus 12% tax.
Attendees are responsible for their own expenses while attending the
conference and for making their own hotel and other reservations.  If you
wish to take advantage of the reduced rate at the Hyatt for conference
attendees, call the hotel at 301-657-1234 or 800-233-1234 and tell the
clerk you are attending the Scientific and Technical Data Exchange and
Integration meeting.  Hotel reservations must be made before November 13,
1997 in order to assure the special room rate.

The Hyatt Regency is located next to the Bethesda Metro (subway) station,
which can be used from National Airport and to the Natcher Center (see
Metro directions below).  The hotel is at the intersection of Wisconsin
Avenue and Old Georgetown Road, 2.5 miles inside the Capital Beltway

Check-in time at the Hyatt is 3:00 pm, and luggage storage is available for
guests arriving prior to check in.  Check-out time is 12:00 noon.

Local Transportation and Parking
The Natcher Center and NIH have extremely limited parking, and parking
spaces are not guaranteed.  It is highly recommended for attendees to use
the Metro or car pool.  Cars parked in 3-hour spaces in front of the
Natcher Center will be ticketed after 3 hours.  Handicapped-tagged cars can
be accommodated with day of event notice by request directly to the
conference center business office.

Driving Directions
Interstate 495 Westbound: Take exit 33B (south, Connecticut Avenue). At 2nd
traffic light, turn right onto Jones Bridge Road and proceed 2 more traffic
lights to the intersection of Rockville Pike.  Travel through the
intersection onto Center Drive, make 3rd left and follow signs to parking
lot 41B.

Interstate 495 Eastbound: Take exit 34B (south, Bethesda/Wisconsin Avenue).
Proceed 2 miles south on Rockville Pike.  At 5th traffic light, turn right
onto Center Drive, make 3rd left and follow signs to parking lot 41B.

Wisconsin Avenue, from the District of Columbia:  Proceed north from the
District to 9000 Rockville Pike (Wisconsin Avenue).  Turn left onto Center
Drive (1st traffic light after Ramada Inn).  Make 3rd left and follow signs
to parking lot 41B.


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