|Posted on Jan 14, 2011 07:48:41 AM | Gerald Steeman | 0 Comments ||
by Lynn Heimerl, NASA Agency Technical Publications Manager
Sometimes words of wisdom for our jobs come from unusual places. I recently picked up a copy of the newsletter, Virginia Society of Ornithology (VSO), Winter 2010-11 edition, and in it were two interesting quotes from Dr. Harry Clarke Noyes. Noyes is quoted in the President’s Message, called “Learning from Geese.”
“People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.”
“It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs.”
If we apply these words to organizing NASA’s information, our sense of “community” may be a bit disparate and diffused. Most NASA programs and projects have different architectures, metadata requirements, taxonomies, registries, and/or indexing tools. Perhaps, as an Agency, we can better learn to “travel on the trust of one another” by developing an information architecture so that our information will be more accessible. In STI (scientific and technical information), this will mean not only that STI will be more broadly visible, easily and quickly located, and widely used, but also that it can be combined with related data sets, video, and audio in mash-ups to visualize and understand the full range of supporting information.
If NASA moves toward an information architecture, will we make some wrong “turns” in trying to move from many processes to a more reasonable number of processes (whatever that is defined to be)? Of course we will. If that happens, will we have to make a few correcting “turns” to improve our information architecture in the future? Yes, we will.
Regardless, we need to begin this flight toward a coordinated information architecture that provides greater and faster accessibility to information for NASA, the public, commercial entities, and other Government organizations. We need to do this before the other “geese” (i.e., agencies and organizations) fly ahead, turn around, and shake their collective heads, saying: “better catch up with the flock!”
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Tags : Organizations