Dilemmas of Scientific Databases
Author: Jaroslav Šilhánek, Institute of Chemical Technology, Czech Republic
Regardless of content of the term "Scientific Database" it is always two sides business. On one side is producer of database or its designer and on the other side its users, presumably scientist. And on both sides of this symbiotic coexistence it is necessary to accept important and sometimes antagonistic decisions, which in a long run influence its function. In principle information technology available in a time of scientific database formation has very profound effect on its design and usage and it is thus clear that advent o computers played a key role. Regardless of the present potential of modern information technologies with their almost unlimited possibilities there are still many open questions, which have to be solved by database design, and which finally may strongly influence its usage. And the most important, still faster growing amount of scientific information represents the most critical aspect of any decision making process on both sides and it is also the most crucial factor of future development. Presentation would summarize the most often dilemmas of scientific database design both from point of view of producers and users mostly based on practical experience of author from both sides of problem.
About the author
After graduation from the Prague Institute of Chemical Technology he obtained his PhD in organic technology from the same institution in 1968. Starting carrier as an organic chemist mostly in areas of pesticides and organic sulphur compounds chemistry he has been steadily engaged in the fields of chemical information and particularly in its electronic forms. He wrote a couple of teaching text on this subject and he is lecturing courses on Chemical Informatics on the Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague. He has about 70 papers, patents and review papers in local and international journals and gave a couple of plenary lectures on Online Meeting in London (1997, 1999) as well as at the largest chemical congress Achema in Frankfurt am Main on the subject of management of chemical information and searching problems. He is also author of a couple of projects on promotion of widespread access to the most important chemical databases for all chemical or natural science faculties in the Czech Republic.
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