Scientific Data for Multiple Audiences
One of NACSE's primary activities is the development of large databases that present "different "personalities" for different types of users. Many types of audiences may be interested in the information contained in a given database, but the level of detail they want/need will vary dramatically.
For example, scientists specializing in the database's research discipline may care most about the ability to find specific pieces of information very quickly; they may be willing to tolerate fairly cryptic interfaces as long as they provide fast access. Middle-school students working on term reports, however, will want much more general information, with a very easy interface for locating different facts and concepts. Yet another audience may want to browse for general knowledge, with no prior experience in the database's topic area; an interface that works for them requires different features for browsing and identifying areas of interest.
To see an example of how different two interfaces can look, see these three ways to access information on lichens:
- Synoptic Key to the Lichens: How professionals gain quick access to information on lichen species and distribution.
- Lichenland: A fun way for novices to get into the game, with teaching aids to help you learn about lichens.
- National Lichens & Air Quality Database: How biologists from the Forest Service keep track of air quality by monitoring the amount of pollutants absorbed by lichens.