Utilization of the World Wide Web
Peter J. Mohr (Panel Chair)1,
Uri V. Ralschenko2, David R. Schultz3
1National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg,
MD 20899-0001, USA
2Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel
3Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6373,
Reproduced with permission from Atomic and Molecular Data and
edited by P.J. Mohr and W.L. Wiese
© 1998 American Institute of Physics, New York, Conference Proceeding #434
This panel session examined two aspects of utilization of the World Wide Web.
One aspect is communication of technical data through web sites that provide
repositories of atomic and molecular data accessible through searchable
databases. The other aspect is use of the World Wide Web as a means of
communication about issues of mutual concern among data producers, data
compilers and evaluators, and data users. The latter aspect includes
communication of information relevant to future meetings of the ICAMDATA
series. Conclusions and recommendations based on remarks at the session are
The main points made at this panel session are briefly given in this section.
The World Wide Web is the medium of choice for communicating data to a wide
audience. It is widely used for dissemination of data by data centers world
wide and its use promises to increase in the future. At the same time, the
very fact that data may easily be distributed by anyone means that critical
evaluation by experts is crucial in order for users to be able distinguish
reliable information from all that can be found on the Web.
A Web site that gives a comprehensive listing of atomic data Web sites is
maintained at http://plasma-gate.weizmann.ac.il/. Users are requested
to provide information on sites that might be added to this listing so that it
will be as complete as possible.
A database that gives a wide variety of properties of chemical compounds in an
integrated searchable format is maintained at
Data compiled and distributed on the Web should not be hindered by copyright of
the original source literature. The quotation of published results on the Web
is equivalent to quoting results in publications provided the original source
is credited. In fact, it is critical to give full credit to the original
source of data in order for data producers to be recognized. A related issue
of international copyright laws directed at databases is discussed in one of
the accompanying articles in this volume by R.S. Berry.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Some general conclusions may be drawn concerning utilization of the World Wide
Web for communication of and about data.
- The World Wide Web is an important means of data exchange now and for the
future. It is already the preferred way of distributing data by data centers;
its use is increasing, and the techniques of making data accessible are
becoming more sophisticated.
- There is a large quantity of information available on the Web, and its
quality and integrity is not necessarily known. It is important that data be
available on the Web that has been critically evaluated by experts. Support
and continuation of data compilation and dissemination coupled with critical
evaluation is essential.
- Web sites that distribute atomic and molecular data should provide means
for users to communicate their needs for data or comments and suggestions for
improvement of the databases.
- Web databases should provide information to users about changes made to the
data over time. One way to do this is to provide access to earlier versions to
the database so that the user can obtain information about earlier contents of
- The ICAMDATA Web site, at http://physics.nist.gov/icamdata should
maintained indefinitely and distributed over mirror sites in order to provide
efficient access to the international community.
- An ad hoc committee will provide advice on use of the Web to publicize
ICAMDATA issues and to help prepare for the second meeting. The committee
- James Babb, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA
- Peter Mohr, National Institute of Standards and Technology, USA
- Izumi Murakami, National Institute for Fusion Science, Japan
- David Schultz (Chair), Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA
- Yuri Ralschenko, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel.
Return to: ICAMDATA home