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Information Science and Technology

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Information retrieval in the age of Internet search engines has become part of ordinary discourse and everyday practice: “Google” is a verb in common usage. Thus far, more attention has been given to practical understanding of information retrieval than to a full theoretical account.

A Component-Based Perspective

Distributed business component computing--the assembling of business components into electronic business processes, which interact via the Internet--caters to a new breed of enterprise systems that are flexible, relatively easy to maintain and upgrade to accommodate new business processes, and relatively simple to integrate with other enterprise systems. Companies with unwieldy, large, and heterogeneous inherited information systems--known as legacy systems--find it extremely difficult to align their old systems with novel business processes.

All organizations today confront data quality problems, both systemic and structural. Neither ad hoc approaches nor fixes at the systems level--installing the latest software or developing an expensive data warehouse--solve the basic problem of bad data quality practices. Journey to Data Quality offers a roadmap that can be used by practitioners, executives, and students for planning and implementing a viable data and information quality management program.

Service-Oriented Computing from an EU Perspective

Service-Oriented Applications and Architectures (SOAs) have captured the interest of industry as a way to support business-to-business interaction, and the SOA market grew by $4.9 billion in 2005. SOAs and in particular service-oriented computing (SOC) represent a promising approach in the development of adaptive distributed systems. With SOC, applications can open themselves to services offered by third parties and accessed through standard, well-defined interfaces.

The Case for Open Access to Research and Scholarship

Questions about access to scholarship go back farther than recent debates over subscription prices, rights, and electronic archives suggest. The great libraries of the past—from the fabled collection at Alexandria to the early public libraries of nineteenth-century America—stood as arguments for increasing access. In The Access Principle, John Willinsky describes the latest chapter in this ongoing story—online open access publishing by scholarly journals—and makes a case for open access as a public good.

Instant electronic access to digital information is the single most distinguishing attribute of the information age. The elaborate retrieval mechanisms that support such access are a product of technology. But technology is not enough. The effectiveness of a system for accessing information is a direct function of the intelligence put into organizing it. Just as the practical field of engineering has theoretical physics as its underlying base, the design of systems for organizing information rests on an intellectual foundation.

The Geographic Associations of Information

Georeferencing--relating information to geographic location--has been incorporated into today's information systems in various ways. We use online services to map our route from one place to another; science, business, and government increasingly use geographic information systems (GIS) to hold and analyze data. Most georeferenced information searches using today's information systems are done by text query. But text searches for placenames fall short--when, for example, a place is known by several names (or by none).

Service-Oriented Computing (SOC) promises a world of cooperating services loosely connected, creating dynamic business processes and agile applications that span organizations and platforms. As a computing paradigm, it utilizes services as fundamental elements to support rapid, low-cost development of distributed applications in heterogeneous environments. Realizing the SOC promise requires the design of Service-Oriented Architectures (SOAs) that enable the development of simpler and cheaper distributed applications.

A Pattern Language for Communication Revolution

In recent decades we have witnessed the creation of a communication system that promises unparalleled connectedness. And yet the optimistic dreams of Internet-enabled engagement and empowerment have faded in the face of widespread Internet commercialization. In Liberating Voices, Douglas Schuler urges us to unleash our collective creativity--social as well as technological--and develop the communication systems that are truly needed.

Modern science is increasingly collaborative, as signaled by rising numbers of coauthored papers, papers with international coauthors, and multi-investigator grants. Historically, scientific collaborations were carried out by scientists in the same physical location—the Manhattan Project of the 1940s, for example, involved thousands of scientists gathered on a remote plateau in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Today, information and communication technologies allow cooperation among scientists from far-flung institutions and different disciplines.

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