Biological Oceanography at MIT (PDF)
The Scientific Data Flood: A Case Study of "How Much Information?"
Stuart Madnick, John Norris Maguire Professor of Information Technology, MIT Sloan School of Management & Professor of Engineering Systems, MIT School of Engineering
MacKenzie Smith, Associate Director of Technology, MIT Libraries
Kate Clopeck, Masters of Science, Technology and Policy Program, MIT
The HMI? Program at UC San Diego has undertaken several studies of information use and
how it is changing. One study, by Stuart Madnick and MacKenzie Smith examines information
created in science labs at MIT. This paper examines 3 labs that study biological oceanography,
using combinations of observational, experimental, and computational methods. Faster and
cheaper instruments produce more data, in one case a five-fold increase in five years. Different
labs follow very different strategies for retention (raw data vs. results) and backup. Re-use
of old data has been very fruitful, building on knowledge developed since the original data
collection. Other papers examine other labs at MIT.