Standard Dates

One of the big jokes among people who manage scientific datasets goes like this:

The great thing about standards is … there are so many to choose from!

Ba-dum-bum crash!

While this one liner may never make it to late-night TV, there is much truth to it.  Many “standards” exist, and many more are invented each month to accommodate the special needs of new types of data or new software for processing data.

There is, however, one exception that proves the rule: ISO 8601– the international standard for representing dates and times.

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Greetings!

The world of scientific data management, analysis, visualization and public access is changing so rapidly it can be difficult to keep up with developments even in one’s own field.  Staying abreast of progress in all areas of science, let alone business, is an impossibility.

Then there are big picture questions about how the whole scientific endeavor is changing:

  • Does the long tradition of intellectual property rights with respect to science data apply in today’s cut-and-paste world?
  • How can scientists and policymakers use on-line tools to collaborate across the vast divide that separates them?
  • What role does the interested, intellegent layman play in the the dissemination and analysis of ‘scientific’ data?
  • How can better delivery of data and analysis products improve the utility of publicly sponsored, publicly owned data?

These are the types of questions that occupy us every day at Mazama Science.  We spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about them ourselves and seeking answers from others in our broad community of contacts.

In this blog we hope to distill some of that group knowledge in the hopes that it may be useful or inspiring to those attempting to do similar work — making a data focused, scientific approach to questions more relevant in the interesting times we live in.

Happy Exploring!

— Jon