Ocean Informatics is an initiative establishing distributed local information environments at a variety of institutions. At UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Ocean Informatics is a multi-project endeavor that invites designers and researchers into collaborative arrangements such that scientific data practices and application design are co-constructive. The aim is to provide data access and local integration in the short-term while researching and improving understandings of data organization, description, and federation. These then inform data stewardship efforts including local repositories, community standards, and sustainable information infrastructure. The Ocean Informatics initiative includes design and population of the Datazoo information system together with a variety of other applications and infrastructure building activities.
The work of Ocean Informatics is represented as the union of oceanography, information science and social science domains. Ocean Informatics is a community of practice emerging to meet the challenges of articulating requirements and designing complex systems of information that support heterogeneous data collections and diverse local practices. Engaging with issues of interdisciplinarity and collaboration, the focus is on developing knowledge through activities involving the design process and mindful variety, shared language, and boundary objects. In fostering a multi-dimensional sociotechnical awareness, the focus is to design a thick infrastructure that enables interoperability and facilitates collaborative science and scientists.
Informatics is concerned with the applications of structure and organization to scientific information and the associated human activities. The term is used simultaneously today in a variety of ways, emphasizing applications of information technology, representing natural or human systems, and exploring multifaceted sociotechnical issues. Informatics draws on the information and social sciences in considering conceptual, organizational, technological and communication issues which contribute to infrastructure-building. The design of an information infrastructure is an ongoing process. Our goals are both immediate activities and products as well as a long-term deeper understanding of and engagement with information practice-theory and learning environments.