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SDSC Director Discusses Expanding Universe of Digital Data Collections at AAAS Annual Meeting

Published 02/20/2006

A distinguished panel of national leaders, including San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) director and Professor Fran Berman, discussed the expanding universe of digital collections at the Annual Meeting of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) on February 19 in St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Berman was joined by Dr. Anita Jones, Professor and former Director of the U.S. Office of Defense Research and Engineering, Dr. Ray Ohrbach, Director of the Office of Science at DOE, Dr. Warren Washington, Chair of the National Science Board, Dr. Bruce Schatz, Director of the Community Architectures for Network Information Systems Laboratory, Dr. Jeff Dozier, Professor and former Senior Scientist for NASA's Earth Observing System and Dr. Helen Berman, Director of the Protein Data Bank (PDB ). The group focused on a grand challenge for science, engineering, and society: the management and preservation of digital data collections, and the transformation of scientific data to new insights and knowledge.

Today, we are generating a tidal wave of data, and its care and management has become an increasingly important for new discovery. Collecting, providing, and preserving digital data presents both an opportunity and a challenge. Whereas books can be preserved for years and even centuries, the preservation of digital data is dependent on the technologies on which it is stored. In the next 100 years, storage technologies will advance tens of generations, and the digital collections preserved on up-to-date storage technologies will need to transition through each new generation, and many times over. The panel discussed critical issues for the collection, management, and preservation of digital data, and its use as a foundation for the next generation of discovery and scientific advancement. For more information about the panel and the AAAS conference, log on to For more information about SDSC director Fran Berman, log on to