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Community and Knowledge Base Discussions


Knowledge Base Discussion

This part of the workshop was a review of the Knowledge Base (KB), what it will contain, and how it might be used.

Some participants mentioned that they have developed "parts of collaboratories," not whole collaboratories. They wondered how their stuff would fit into the KB, how they could evaluate their elements in a way that would be helpful to the KB effort, and how they could make their elements available to others to use, or consider using.

Atul asked if there will really be enough of a sample size to be able to make use of the relationships. The response was, "think so, we'll see." There is still a need to get a sense of how big the universe of collaboratories actually is.

As this project looks at the success of collaboratories, participants mentioned the need for a contextualized understanding of what "success" can mean. Can a collaboratory fail, but a tool used within it succeed? Considering that a lot can be learned from a "failure," when is a research project considered a success? What if something is perceived as a success, but is never widely adopted?

How do we capture the "lessons learned" while developing the collaboratory? We should also capture the "gotchas" that were the difficulties in making the system.

Suggestions for the KB included:

  • Measuring the usability of the collaboratories
    • Could be called "barrier to access," or something like that.
  • Making a decision tree that would help in deciding what tools should be used (or are in fact used - looking for a pattern in the KB data).
  • Capturing what "stage" a collaboratory gets to.
    • Mockups
    • Research prototype
    • Small deployment
    • Full deployment
  • Capture how the process changed, as a result of using the collaboratory.
  • Capturing how operations and maintenance are done with the collaboratories.
    • Deployment
    • Models for maintenance
    • Updating
    • How are these activities funded?
  • Capture what evaluations have been done in relation to the project.

A possible way to get groups to have some additional incentive to work with us on the data collection, one could plan for a special issue of a journal in which to publish analysis or case studies of the collaboratories. (For example, in, "Concurrency, Computation, Practice, and Experience")

Workshop Wrap-up/Community Discussion

This session was an opportunity to bring the workshop to a close, as well as a chance for participants to mention issues not previously raised and decide how they might continue this discussion and sharing beyond the bounds of the workshop.

Some mentioned wanting a "sharing ring," or some other type of way to match resources and needs. Participants have many common needs, that they do not necessarily have time to deal with alone, but that other participants may have already had experience with - and there is little desire to spend time recreating the wheel.

There also was a clear desire to have a "clearing house" for collaborative modules/tools.

There was a call for collaboratory tool descriptions, as there are people on the periphery, who have not read all the multi-disciplinary literature, and want to have a guide to the tools used in collaboratories.

All this led to a discussion of having an SOC portal that might contain:

  • Discussions and ways to share information.
  • Clearing house ( was suggested)
    • A place to share software modules that the community has developed
    • A way to self-register modules
    • Many people were specifically interested in this, particularly, Joseph, Carl, Rich, Atul, Ted, and Jason
  • Mailing lists (with a digest version)
  • Evaluation tools
  • A forum for discussing the issues dealing with the international component
    • Discussion of protocol
    • Regional variations (VOIP being illegal in Africa, GRID status in the EU/UK, etc.)
  • Journals
  • Contact information
  • A listing of collaboratories, and a way to self-register your collaboratory
  • Best practices
  • There was a common consensus that we should not wait 5 years to do this.

There was a quick discussion of the most valuable aspects of the workshop. Meeting with all the different people and having the opportunity to network was a valuable aspect of the workshops. Many also said it was good to have some of the computer science people talking with the information science people.

There was also a general consensus that it was interesting and reassuring to hear that everyone is dealing with the same types of issues with their collaboratories. But also it was discouraging, as some people wanted to go home from the workshop with solutions, only to find that these were common problems that others were also working on.

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