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Talkoot Overview

On the emerging “Social Web,” millions of people offer their knowledge online in a collective knowledge system comprising an active community of motivated members posting problems and solutions in blogs, forums, mailing lists, collaborative portals and other Web 2.0 technologies. A small but growing number of scientists and researchers are beginning to harness these Web 2.0 technologies as a transformative way of doing science. Since communication is at the heart of science, these technologies provide researchers easy mechanisms to critique, suggest, and share ideas, data and algorithms. These technologies complement formal means of sharing knowledge via conferences and published papers, where it is impossible to share all the research details, and where negative results are rarely included.

At the same time, science software developers have embraced Service Oriented Architectures (SOA) and Systems of Systems such as GEOSS. Data processing, analysis, mining and visualization algorithms are being converted into publicly available web services, allowing researchers access to large suites of algorithms for data processing and science analysis. This model of chaining services to create analysis workflows provides the research community unprecedented opportunity to collaborate, sharing their workflows with one another, reproducing and analyzing research results, and leveraging colleagues’ expertise to expedite the process of scientific knowledge discovery. In many cases, the output of one workflow can be an input to others, leading to chained workflows with components shared by two or more researchers. A crucial component needed for this unprecedented level of cooperation within the research community is a reusable, extensible and customizable environment for building collaborative “open science” portals for managing these shared analysis workflows. Current collaborative portals (e.g., MyExperiment.org) have been one-time development efforts for specific science domains that cannot be easily extended beyond their initial features or reused by other science domains.

Talkoot (finish for barn raising)is a “software appliance” to build collaborative portals for Earth Science services and analysis workflows. Talkoot provides a solution to easily build customizable collaborative portals that will greatly facilitate community collaboration in science analysis. The key feature of Talkoot is that researchers (not just information technologists) will be able to build collaborative sites around service workflows within a few hours. We envision online communities coming together, much like Finnish “talkoot,” to build a shared collaborative research space. Talkoot software appliance consists of a set of modules that can be mixed and matched based on the end user requirement. In addition, Talkoot is applicable to many different science domains, mission teams, research projects and organizations.



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