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E-Science, Digital Libraries and Knowledge Communities

Date & Time:
17:00:00 - 18:30:00,
Tuesday 9 November, 2004


E-science, as it is known in the UK and Europe, or cyberinfrastructure, as it is known in the US, promises to facilitate scientific and scholarly collaborations around the world by providing access to common data repositories, tools, and services. Considerable progress is being made on building the technical framework, on establishing standards for interoperability, and on the construction of digital libraries to store scholarly content. However, relatively little research has been done to determine how and whether these technologies will facilitate collaboration or enable access to new forms of knowledge. Evidence from prior social studies of science suggests that the adoption of such information technologies is a complex and not always successful process. This talk will summarize research in progress to address intertwined problems presented by e-science:

  • Identifying the opportunities and barriers for facilitating scholarly collaboration
  • Making scholarly content useful for research and for teaching purposes
  • Digital libraries are viewed as the technology that bridges communities and applications. These problems will be illustrated with case studies from two large digital library projects: the Alexandria Digital Earth Prototype (ADEPT) in the field of geography, and the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS) in the fields of ecology and seismology.


Christine L. Borgman is Professor and Presidential Chair in Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She is a co-principal investigator for the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS) and for the Alexandria Digital Earth Prototype (ADEPT) project, both funded by the National Science Foundation. She is the author of more than 150 publications in the fields of information studies, computer science, and communication. Her book, From Gutenberg to the Global Information Infrastructure: Access to Information in a Networked World (MIT Press, 2000), won the Best Information Science Book of the Year Award from the American Society for Information Science and Technology. Her current professional activities include membership on the Study Committee on Internet Navigation and the Domain Name System (Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, National Academies), the Advisory Board to the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and the Association for Computing Machinery Public Policy Committee. She is Chair of Section T, Information, Computing, and Communication, of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and is a Fellow of the AAAS.