April 11-14, 2007
San Francisco, California

Workshops: Description

Real Science 2.0: 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 data-sets in a variety of fields are publicly available, and can provide a unique catalyst for learning. As the Internet continues to evolve, there are new opportunities for science centers to develop rich web resources which can connect visitors to scientific imagery and data.

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. With a new generation of interactive and social technologies available, Science Centers are presented with new challenges and possibilities.

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 technical, educational, and design aspects of incorporating datasets, with a focus on real-time images and datasets. We'll explore some of the technical aspects of developing rich online experiences in Macromedia Flash, as well as other approaches that incorporate Web 2.0 technologies such as mashups, blogs, rss feeds, and community sites. We'll present examples and discuss various technical approaches to incorporating these types of data and ways in which visitors can interact with 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. Through a rapid design exercise, we''ll explore some of the questions concerning how data are presented, mediated, and made available for public audiences.

Workshop: Real Science [Afternoon]

Keywords: datasets, scientific data, rss, flash, web 2.0, design