The Plant Tissue Culture Information Exchange and Other Applications of World Wide Web Technology to the Exchange of Scientific Information.

R. DANIEL LINEBERGER, Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2133.

The World Wide Web was developed as a tool to exchange scientific information, and it has experienced explosive growth in number of users, ease of use, and range of applications. Present and near term benefits include distribution of scientific manuscripts cheaply and quickly to clients who are widely separated geographically, the inclusion of color images into these manuscripts, and the exchange of information about techniques, facilities, and people in formats not usually deemed appropriate for refereed journal publications. The computer equipment needed to access and provide information on the World Wide Web is usually standard equipment for most research and teaching labs, professional offices, public schools, and, increasingly, in homes. The skills to construct and manage Web sites is learned easily from on-line educational resources, and the software associated with the Web is becoming more powerful and user-friendly with each new release. While this discussion will focus on the technology and its application to scientific information exchange as it is currently practiced, some mention will be made of potential changes in the way scientists discover, analyze, and communicate information. For example, the technology will enable scientists to participate in the organization and analysis of experiments, observe experiments in progress from a distance, and make decisions on the basis of experiments that were completed at another location in the world only hours or minutes before! The technology also poses interesting questions about the way scientific results are peer reviewed and protected as intellectual property.

Abstract as published in In Vitro 32:30A March, 1996.