Appendix A: Selected Abstracts and Short Articles
Paper presented at the Geological Society of America Annual
Meeting, Salt Lake City, Utah, 10/97
of Electronic Dissemination: The Experience of a State Geological
BUCHANAN, Rex C., Kansas Geological
Survey, 1930 Constant Ave., Lawrence, KS 66047, firstname.lastname@example.org;
CARR, Timothy R., Kansas Geological Survey, 1930 Constant Ave.,
Lawrence, KS 66047.
As a state agency and a division of the University of Kansas,
the Kansas Geological Survey (KGS) is charged with statutory
responsibility to disseminate geologic information. Electronic
communication has enabled the KGS to make major changes in the
way it fulfills that responsibility. The electronic methods used
for dissemination vary according to the type of information provided.
The earliest changes came in map production. Since the 1980s,
maps that the KGS sells to the public have been generated on-demand
from digital data, with output to an electrostatic plotter. That
process saves inventory costs, the expense of a large press run,
and allows easy correction and updating. A 1996 survey of our
customers verified their preference for on-demand maps; the survey
showed that obtaining information as quickly as possible (both
in hard copy and digital formats) was a high priority, and that
pricing and printing
quality were less of a concern. For the past three years,
the KGS has used the World Wide Web to disseminate geologic reports,
and particularly data. Electronic dissemination has proven appropriate
for searchable data bases, such as the KGS bibliography of Kansas
geology; for short, time-sensitive papers about current research;
and for open-file reports, especially those that include color
figures. It also appears especially appropriate for disseminating
data that would be too expensive to make available in hard copy.
A digital petroleum atlas, under construction for the past two
years, is heavily used by clients who want immediate access to
data, particularly in digital form. Electronic methods, then,
have been effective for map production and data dissemination,
and are beginning to affect the way the KGS communicates research
results. That allows the KGS to make more information available
quickly, in a variety of formats
1996, Buchanan, Rex and Tim Carr, New electronics are arriving
in academe; Op-ed piece for The Kansas City Star, Sunday September
22, 1996, p. K2
These days, university campuses are pretty quiet. But they
may be in the midst of a revolution that's changing the way they've
operated for the past 500 years. The changes aren't visible,
like protesters or demonstrations, but they may have a much bigger
The change is in communication. For centuries, scholars published
their work in technical journals and books. Publishing was a
way of telling colleagues about their work. Publishing also provided
a check on research. That's because articles were carefully scrutinized
by other researchers--undergoing so-called "peer review"--before
they appeared in print. In the sciences, publishing provided
the information that let other researchers verify results by
repeating experiments or observations. Finally, publication built
a permanent record, an archive, of what was known.
In short, without publication, work can't be verified and
can't become part of the record of new knowledge. Unless you
publish, you might as well not do research in the first place.
"Publish or perish" may not seem make sense in the
world outside of academics, but it's still the rule on campuses.
Now the definition of publication is changing. Since the early
1990s, with the creation of computer networks like the Internet
and now the World Wide Web, academics can communicate immediately
and at very little cost. Here's why researchers like it:
- When they post results electronically, they can include all
the color graphics they want, and send them out instantaneously.
Traditional books and articles, especially those with color,
are expensive to print, and take months and even years to produce.
*With electronic publishing, researchers can include all the
data they've collected, so that others can replicate their work.
In traditional publishing, it's often too expensive to include
tables and tables of data.
- Electronic publishing can include other forms of communication,
like sound or video.
- All this comes with very little cost (at least to the researcher).
That's especially important, because price increases in publishing,
and cutbacks in funding, have forced libraries to slice the lists
of books and journals they buy.
Here's an example from our discipline: geology. Say you were
interested in an area's underground geology. Traditionally you
obtained data from scholarly articles and the records of wells
drilled. That information might be available in a nearby library;
sometimes it meant traveling to places like Wichita or Midland,
Now you can get much of that same information, immediately,
via the World Wide Web. The Kansas Geological Survey is currently
developing online publications such as a petroleum atlas of Kansas
that provide immediate access to both data and research results
to anybody with the right computer connections, anywhere (the
Web address is http://www.kgs.ku.edu/).
This revolution is sometimes referred to as the "democratization"
of publishing. Now anybody can "publish" electronically,
whenever they feel like it, and, what's of more concern in the
scientific community, whatever they feel like. As a result, researchers
can, in essence, self-publish and bypass peer review. It's also
easy for somebody to take your work off the computer, alter it
slightly, and claim it as their own.
The scientific community is developing ways to deal with these
issues, coming up with new methods of peer review and copyright
protection that will take advantage of the speed, ease, and versatility
of electronic publishing, but maintain the integrity of the traditional
publishing process. Another challenge is to develop new products
specifically for distribution by computer, using the sounds,
graphics, and other capabilities to produce "publications"
that readers can interact with, rather than simply read.
Nobody knows where this will wind up. It's like riding a fast
horse without holding the reins--you cover lots of ground, but
you're never quite sure where you're headed. It is safe to predict
that, in a few years, libraries will look far different, that
they will be sources of all types of electronic information,
in addition to books and journals on shelves. And researchers
will get increasing amounts of information, in wildly different
formats, via computer.
This may seem like no big deal to people outside of academia.
But keep in mind that, like most revolutions, this one doesn't
stop at the campus gates. We're all going through it together,
and when we look back, in a few decades, we may see that everybody's
life changed, alot, right about now.
Presented at the American Association of Petroleum
Geologist (AAPG) Annual Meeting, Dallas, Texas, 4/9/97
Communication in the Earth Sciences: The Impact of the Electronic
TIMOTHY R. CARR; DANA ADKINS-HELJESON;
REX C. BUCHANAN; PAUL GERLACH; THOMAS D. METTILLE; and JANICE
H. SORENSEN; Kansas Geological Survey, University of Kansas,
Traditional paper media, such as books, monographs, journals,
and maps. have been a recognizable aspect of geologic work for
several centuries. They remain the primary medium for communicating
research results, transferring technology, and archiving knowledge.
However, continued growth in volume of earth-science literature,
increased unit costs of producing and archiving paper publications,
and rapidly increasing power and availability of electronic technology
are creating pressures on traditional scientific communication,
and rapidly altering the role of traditional publication as a
means of scientific communication. Electronic publication provides
broad access and alters the relationship between interpretative
result and the data. Electronic technology improves the quality
and accessibility of "non-traditional" research products,
(e.g., digital geographic information and unpublished archival
material), and provides the means to create dynamic forms of
scientific communication that can only be displayed in an electronic
environment. New forms of communication use hypertext and relational
database functions to provide text and graphics with which readers
can interact. Electronic publication improves research reproducibility
and facilitates use and continued enhancement of research products.
Earth science institutions, including the Kansas Geological Survey,
are experimenting with new forms of on-line publication that
assure broad access to research and data, and improve application
of research to societal problems.
Presented at the Society of Petroleum Engineers
Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, 10/97
Kansas Geological Survey's Digital Petroleum Atlas (DPA)
Carr, Timothy R., Dana Adkins-Heljeson,
Paul M. Gerlach, Lee C. Gerhard, Joseph M. Kruger, and W. Lynn
The Kansas Digital Petroleum Atlas (DPA) is a new approach
to generating and publishing petroleum reservoir, field, play
and basin studies. Atlas products are available anywhere in the
world using a standard point-and-click world-wide-web interface.
All information and technology in the DPA can be accessed, manipulated
and downloaded in order to provide efficient transfer of the
technology for client-defined solutions. The DPA design provides
a dynamic product that is constantly evolving through new information
structures, the latest research results, and incorporation of
additional data. Through complete and flexible user access to
both the interpretative products and the underlying reservoir
and well data, the DPA significantly alters the relationship
between research results, data access, and the transfer of technology.