BOX S-1
Statement of Task

An ad hoc panel will review the communication and dissemination program of the National Science Foundation (NSF) National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) that is concerned with the collection and distribution of information on science and engineering and recommend future directions for the program. Specifically, the panel will

  1. Review NCSES’s existing approaches to communicating and disseminating statistical information, including the division’s information products, website, and database systems. [This review will be conducted in the context of both current “best practices” and new and emerging techniques and approaches.]
  2. Examine existing NCSES data on websites, information gathered by and from NCSES staff, volunteered comments of users, and input solicited by the panel from key user groups, and assess the varied needs of different types of users within NCSES’s user community.
  3. Consider the impact current federal and NSF website guidance and policies have on the design and management of the NCSES’s online (Internet) communication and dissemination program.
  4. Consider current research and practice in collecting, storing, and utilizing metadata, with particular focus on specifications for social science metadata developed under the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI).
  5. Consider the impact of government-wide activities and initiatives (such as FedStats, Data.gov) and the emerging user capability for online retrieval of government statistics.

The panel will facilitate its review by conducting a 2-day public workshop that will feature invited presentations and discussions. The panel will subsequently prepare an interim letter report that will focus on issues regarding transition from current approaches and a final report with specific recommendations, including a discussion of related technical, staffing, and funding issues.

social science metadata; and considered the impact of government-wide activities and initiatives (such as FedStats, Data.gov) and the emerging user capability for online retrieval of government statistics.

In accomplishing this review, the panel conducted two workshops to gather information from data users and experts on various aspects of data



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