Projects

Seamless integration of scientific data and literature
Astronomical data artifacts and publications exist in disjointed repositories. The conceptual relationship that links data and publications is rarely made explicit. One of the Seamless Astronomy group's primary projects is providing critical input to the development of new ADSlabs features, including integration with Dataverse and ADS All Sky Survey. The overarching goal is a platform that allows data and literature to be seamlessly integrated, interlinked, mutually discoverable. 

ADS All-SKy Survey (ADSASS)

The ADS All-Sky Survey (ADSASS) is an ongoing collaboration of the Seamless Astronomy team, the Strasbourg astronomical Data Center (CDS), and Microsoft Research aimed at turning the NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS), widely known for its unrivaled value as a literature resource for astronomers, into a data resource. The ADS is not a data repository per se, but it implicitly contains valuable holdings of astronomical data, in the form of images, tables and object references contained within articles. The objective of the ADSASS effort is to extract these data and make them discoverable and available through existing data viewers. To this end we have built sky heatmaps of astronomy articles based on the celestial objects they reference. In other words, this ADSASS viewer visualizes the parts of the sky that have been studied by astronomers. The "hotter" a part of the sky is, the more it has been studied in the literature. The papers citing the sky can be filtered by object type, waveband, and year. Moreover, when exploring this heatmap of the sky you can zoom into an area of interest and use a select tool to display the papers that cite that area of the sky. We have built an Aladin based and a WorldWide Telescope based dataviewer of these literature heatmaps. All of our code is hosted on Github, and more information can be found on this conference paper. We are also working on extracting images from old papers, and registering them on the sky using astrometry.net.

Authorea

Authorea
Did you ever wish collaborating on scholarly articles was easy? Ever wish to have dynamic, interactive figures and tables in your published articles? Ever wanted to use something simpler than LaTeX, but still get equations, citations, and figures easily integrated into your text? Ever felt like you needed an easy way to keep track of previous versions of articles' text, data, and images instead of searching through emails and Dropbox folders? Authorea can help! Using a robust source control system in the backend (git) and an engine to understand Latex, Markdown, and most web formats, Authorea lets you write articles collaboratively online and it renders them in HTML5, right inside your browser. Authorea is a spin-off initiative of Harvard University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Sign up for Authorea at http://www.authorea.com/

Astronomy Dataverse
Astronomers use, peruse and produce vast amounts of scientific data. Making these data publicly available is important because it supports the reproducibility of results, and ensures their long term preservation and reuse. The Astronomy Dataverse is a Harvard repository created by the IQSS for the storage, access, and citation of reduced astronomical data. Datasets are released withDataCite DOIs attached to them. The Seamless Astronomy group provides support for the Astronomer's Dataverse Network in the form of data curation, user workshops, and network administration. We are working with the Dataverse development team to implement astronomy specific features, such as ingest of FITS files, and to create a new simplified Dataverse application (Version 4; Spring 2014).  We are also connecting the Astronomy Dataverse to the literature indexing services provided by the SAO/NASA Astrophysical Data Service (ADS) and to the data indexing services of the Virtual Observatory (e.g., the US Virtual Astronomical Observatory).

 

WorldWide Telescope (WWT)
WorldWide Telescope
provides a rich contextual visualization environment for astronomical data.  Our group collaborates with the WWT Team at Microsoft Research both to enrich WWT for use in research as well as in teaching.  On the research end, we seek to integrate WWT "Seamlessly" with VAO-sponsored projects, as well as with ADS Labs.  On the teaching end, we founded and now run the WorldWide Telescope Ambassadors outreach effort.

Glue
Glue is a Python library built to explore and visualize relationships within and amongst data sets. Its main features include linked statistical graphics, flexible linking across high-dimensional data sets, and full scripting capability. Learn more at glueviz.org.

 

Viz-e-Lab
Established in 2011, the Viz-e-Lab was founded as a testing ground for new software efforts in visualization and e-Science at the CfA.  Seamless Astrononmy projects are piloted and tested on users in this space, located on the third floor of the 160 Concord Avenue building of the CfA.  The lab is used to test new hardware--primarily input devices--as well as new software.  At present, two main focii are the development of sophisticated tools "linked view" visualization of high-dimensional data (see "Glue", below) and the integration of WorldWide Telescope into research and teaching paradigms.

 

Study of the impact of social media and networking sites on scientific dissemination
Astronomers, and more broadly, the scientific community, are increasingly using blogging, micro-blogging, and other social media for both discovering and disseminating scientific knowlegde. We are exploring several avenues for studying the impact of Twitter and other social networking sites on scientific readership.

 

Network analysis and visualization of astronomical research communities
We use network analytic techniques to mine the astronomical bibgliographic archives and detect disciplinary and geographical clusters, and communities of practices of scientists. A network visualization of co-authorship networks in Physics and Astronomy is being implemented on the ADSlabs platform and is currently available. Try this out on ADS Labs by doing a search and then choosing "View as Author Network."

Data citation practices in Astronomy
How do astronomers cite scientific data? Are astronomical reduced data included in scholarly papers as supplemental material? Are cited data discoverable and reusable? We are performing link and content analyses of bibliographic repositories in astronomy to understand whether astronomical data used for the publication of scientific research can be discovered, accessed, and reused. On ADS Labs, choose "View as Paper Network" after a search to get a feel for the data available.