How usability engineering broadens access to research
and engineering data: supporting new disciplines, applications, and
Cherri Pancake, Ph.D.
Dept. of Computer Science and
Northwest Alliance for Computational Science & Engineering
Oregon State University
Wednesday, July 17, 2002
3:00 p.m.–Pacific Forum
Vast stores of research and engineering data are underutilized because
we have not succeeded in making them accessible and useful. The true
potential of these data as stimuli for future discoveries lies in
disciplines, applications, and audiences not involved in the acquisition
process. The sheer volume and complexity of online data makes it extremely
hard for outsiders to find, apply, or interpret the very data they need
most. This presentation discusses the usability challenges that must be
addressed to facilitate data access by broader communities. Special types
of support will be needed if data are to be applied realistically and
safely in new disciplinary areas. Further challenges must be met if the
data are to have appropriate impact on non-research audiences (such as
policy makers, emergency response teams, and natural resource managers).
Examples are drawn from case studies where usability engineering methods
were applied to improve the usability of data and metadata interfaces.
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