As we usher in 2018, we have much to celebrate from 2017. Our progress last year serves as the scaffolding for the new year. As we welcome new team members to this year, we anticipate new ideas, new collaborations, new discoveries, new accomplishments -- balanced against the reality of new challenges, new frustrations, and new barriers. But, isn't that what makes life so interesting? As a career federal civil servant, I love that we've been given the opportunity to do good work again this year.

The list below of our Office of the Chief Information Officer Open Innovation/Information Management initiatives doesn't do justice to awesomeness our teams produced in 2017, but merely offers a few highlights to give you a sense of what we're working on. We continue to leverage our open data framework and infrastructure to develop our new agency-level information management program, which will help us better organize and manage our out-of-this world NASA data and information. Our vision for information management is to ensure the right people have the right information at the right time, to enable information-centric decision making. Imagine that. 

NASA Datanauts

NASA Datanauts at August 2017 Kickoff Event

Our team hosted two Datanaut classes in the Spring and Fall with two events at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. and 60+ virtual Data Water Cooler chats, featuring experts sharing tips around machine learning and natural language processing, data ontologies and visualizations, database manipulations techniques, and code technologies. We transitioned our Datanaut team over the summer as Elyssa Dole, our Datanaut Community Manager over the last few years, took on a new assignment, and NASA's Lori Parker and Veronica (Ronnie) Phillips assumed leadership. Matt Scott, our Datanaut Storyteller, is closing out his time with us at the end of 2017. Big shoes to fill! We're so fortunate to have such a talented and enthusiastic team to make NASA Datanauts a rewarding experience.

Information Architecture

Information Architecture IconChris Carlson, former NASA Shuttle engineer, joined our team to develop an agency-level information architecture. I know, you're surprised we don't already have one. It's not that we don't have one -- we have many, perhaps too many. Most every mission and project has a unique data architecture, according to the technical discipline and organizational priorities. Coordinating all the silo-ed information into an enterprise-level information architecture is a tall task for a data-rich agency, like NASA. Chris developed a sophisticated architectural concept model to illustrate and describe the structure, function, and flow of our information. He also initiated an Agency Information Architecture Working Group, as a joint collaborative initiative between the our office and the Office of the Chief Engineer. This group is intended to test and refine the model, and help to socialize and adopt an enterprise-level architecture. Joining us  in January for a detail at Headquarters is Johnson Space Center Chief Knowledge Architect David Meza. David already serves on the Information Architecture Steering Committee and has been actively involved with NASA Datanauts as a mentor. We're thrilled to have him on the team as we develop agency-level metadata standards to compliment the Chris' work.

Federated Data and Code Registries

NASA's Jason Duley, who leads our open data, open code, and research access initiatives, made great progress realizing his long-term vision of creating an internal code sharing system to allow NASA employees and contractors to leverage and reuse NASA-created code. He's collaborating with organizations across NASA, as well as with other federal agencies, to socialize the concept and demonstrate capabilities for cross repository search and faceted browsing. As the system matures, we'll have the capacity to secure sensitive internal code, and expose open source code for public use. Jason is also leading the design and development of our data management plan registry system that will enable us to capture, track, update, and assess data management plans required by NASA-funded researchers for science missions. We're investigating digital object identifier systems as well, to enable more efficient management of our data and publications. Yes, we already use them across the agency in pockets of data excellence, but we don't have an enterprise-level offering. We're doing our "due diligence" to ensure we leverage a consistent process for the future information management practices.

Scientific and Technical Information (STI)

The STI Team has a mature process to acquire, process, archive, announce, and disseminate NASA scientific and technical information, and avoid duplication of effort by sharing our vast holdings of papers and publications. The team is also working to fulfill our agency commitment to make available NASA-funded research publications, in accordance with the "NASA Plan for Increasing Access to the Results of Scientific Research." They've been working with NASA research grantees to request that they register their ORCID ID, which aligns their grant information with their publications. In 2017, the team contacted 9,284 grantees to encourage registration. Grantees can submit their manuscripts directly to the PubSpace collection. 

Machine Learning

We've partnered with out NASA Data Analytics team to develop machine learning/natural language processing algorithms to help automate technical tagging for research access publication, and to sift and sort official email for records retention. AAAS Fellow, Dr. Andrew Adrian, developed a classifier to automatically sort email archives from senior level NASA executives to sift personal from official email, so that official email can be tagged, sorted, and transferred to the National Archives as permanent records. We hope to share this classifier with other NASA offices, as well as other federal agencies, as we mature the algorithm. We have more projects like this planned for 2018. Stay tuned for more data magic.

 Information Integrity

Staff at the Lenexa, Kansas, federal records center transport records for scheduled disposal. (Photo by Darryl Herring)

Image above: Staff at the Lenexa, Kansas, federal records center transport records for scheduled disposal. (Photo by Darryl Herring)

Not only are we working to identify and make accessible our high value agency data, we work to ensure NASA meets statutory, regulatory, and policy standards for information quality, collection, and distribution practices for internal and external records and digital assets. This includes adherence to the Federal Records Act, Paperwork Reduction Act, Privacy Act, Plain Writing Act, Section 508 to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. For example, our teams across the agency worked together to secure the transfer of 1,750 boxes of NASA records from Federal Records Centers to the National Archives this year. Also, in keeping with our efforts to develop agency-level information management processes, we're directing efforts to build database driven information collection practices to ensure reusability of data, where appropriate, heighten safeguards to manage sensitive data, and enable, where possible, enhanced data analytics techniques. This is a work in progress, as is everything we're undertaking. 

Best wishes for GALACTIC New Year!! I hope it's a BLAST!

About Beth

Open Innovation Program Manager

NASA Headquarters