Thursday, February 02, 2006

Digital universe plan

Experts plan to reclaim the web for pop science : Nature Here is an excerpt, and link to, an article by Declan Butler in Nature's free-access daily news service. Worth taking a look at Declan's post as it contains a beautiful and informative graphic. The rest of the article is pretty good, too. Experts plan to reclaim the web for pop science Can peer-reviewed portals strengthen Internet information? Declan Butler Is it feasible to peer-review the Internet? A coalition of science agencies and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs is trying to do just that. They are launching what they claim will be an authoritative network of websites, where users can find trustworthy information on any subject. Top science organizations are signing up, but critics are sceptical about the project's rationale, and whether it can succeed. The Digital Universe project is billed as a "network of web portals", run by experts, on topics ranging from the Arctic and the oceans to the Solar System and the Universe. Users would navigate through the portals using a three-dimensional browser.You could "fly over an accurate virtual Earth to explore the contours of the Grand Canyon, swim with the fish of the Great Barrier Reef and travel through the human body", says an enthusiastic Robert Corell, chair of the steering committee for the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment and senior scientific adviser for the Digital Universe's Earth Portal. The project also includes an encyclopaedia that will use similar technology to the popular online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, and Larry Sanger, a co-founder of Wikipedia, is helping to create it. But that's where the resemblance ends. All content in the Digital Universe will come from vetted experts, and articles will be reviewed by editors before going live. There will also be links to approved websites. (Article continues.)