Presenter/Author Information

P. Dibner
David Arctur

Keywords

interoperability, semantics, data sharing, information models, technology diffusion, increasing returns

Start Date

1-7-2008 12:00 AM

Description

Despite recent technological advances, proliferation of online databases and community data collection and modeling efforts, the environmental observatory and modeling communities remain fragmented due to the lack of summaries of available observations data, differences in information models and metadata, lack of common data discovery and access protocols tuned to model requirements, and significant semantic differences in data description. However, purely technical solutions for interoperability are insufficient for establishing a shared interoperable infrastructure. The establishment of any technology in a population of potential adopters takes place within a context of social and economic processes. A community cannot become instantaneously aware of all the available data and software resources available to it, nor can consensus arise uniformly about which information models, data access mechanisms, and encodings are most appropriate. The theory of technology diffusion describes the process by which innovations are accepted by successive subgroups within a population, and suggests a series of activities to encourage adoption. The related phenomena of increasing returns and path dependence can facilitate the spread of interoperable software services and harmonized data models, but may also lead to lock-in of suboptimal solutions. Fortunately, the low cost, consensusdriven development and minimally invasive nature of interoperable web service interfaces, and the abstract foundations of well-conceived data models minimize this risk, and also further promote acceptance of these technologies.

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Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Addressing Cultural and Institutional Barriers to Data and Model Interoperability

Despite recent technological advances, proliferation of online databases and community data collection and modeling efforts, the environmental observatory and modeling communities remain fragmented due to the lack of summaries of available observations data, differences in information models and metadata, lack of common data discovery and access protocols tuned to model requirements, and significant semantic differences in data description. However, purely technical solutions for interoperability are insufficient for establishing a shared interoperable infrastructure. The establishment of any technology in a population of potential adopters takes place within a context of social and economic processes. A community cannot become instantaneously aware of all the available data and software resources available to it, nor can consensus arise uniformly about which information models, data access mechanisms, and encodings are most appropriate. The theory of technology diffusion describes the process by which innovations are accepted by successive subgroups within a population, and suggests a series of activities to encourage adoption. The related phenomena of increasing returns and path dependence can facilitate the spread of interoperable software services and harmonized data models, but may also lead to lock-in of suboptimal solutions. Fortunately, the low cost, consensusdriven development and minimally invasive nature of interoperable web service interfaces, and the abstract foundations of well-conceived data models minimize this risk, and also further promote acceptance of these technologies.