March 22-25, 2006
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Workshops: Description

Real Science: Practical Methods for Presenting and Interacting with Scientific Imagery and Live Data

Jim Spadaccini, Ideum, USA

Originally developed as tool to help scientists share information, the World Wide Web continues to be an important mode of communication for scientific inquiry. Rich scientific datasets in a variety of fields are publicly available, and can provide a unique catalyst for learning. Science Centers can act as mediators; organizing information across scientific disciplines and providing tools for understanding complex scientific research. Users can gain a unique insight into the scientific process and Science Centers can do what they do best — make science understandable and interesting to the public.

Developing online resources that mine datasets from "real" scientific endeavors can help explain the scientific process with a unique relevancy. Furthermore these types of resources can provide a link, both actual and metaphoric, to the scientific community.

This half-day workshop will explore in depth the technical aspects of incorporating datasets, with a focus on real-time images and datasets. The focus will be on Macromedia Flash, which has emerged the leading tool to present these types of dataset. We'll present examples and discuss various technical approaches to incorporating these types of data and ways in which visitors can interact and manipulate scientific imagery.

Beyond the technical aspects, we'll look at the content questions and design considerations involved in utilizing these types of data in public Websites and exhibits. After all, scientific datasets are produced for scientists, not for the general public. How these data are presented and mediated for public audiences is an essential question in creating successful education resources. We'll examine several examples and methods for developing interpretive tools and resources to help make scientific data understandable.

Workshop: Spadacinni [Afternoon]

Keywords: live data, data sets, scientific data, real time, realtime, realtime data, data feeds, data mining, rss, xml, flash, science centers, science museum