of machine-generated and human-cultivated information about the mathematical literature and allow for a variety of other capabilities to be built.
This report discusses how information about what the mathematical literature contains can be formalized and made easier to express, encode, and explore. Many of the tools necessary to make this information system a reality will require much more than indexing and will instead depend on community input paired with machine learning, where mathematicians’ expertise can fill the gaps of automatization. The Committee on Planning a Global Library of the Mathematical Sciences proposes the establishment of an organization; the development of a set of platforms, tools, and services; the deployment of an ongoing applied research program to complement the development work; and the mobilization and coordination of the mathematical community to take the first steps toward these capabilities.
Mathematics today has the opportunity to expand and redefine the way in which mathematical knowledge is represented and used, the character of the mathematical literature and how it evolves, and the way that mathematicians interact with this collection of knowledge. This new relationship with the literature and the mathematical knowledge corpus goes beyond new forms of access and analytical tools; it must also include the tools and services to accommodate the creation, sharing, and curation of new kinds of knowledge structures.
To be clear, what the committee proposes builds on the extensive work done by many dedicated individuals under the rubric of the World Digital Mathematical Library,1 as well as many other community initiatives.2 Comparing desired capabilities going forward with what has been achieved by these efforts to date, the committee concludes that there is little value in new large-scale retrospective digitization efforts or further aggregations of mathematical science publications (both traditional journal articles and newer preprint, blog, video, and similar resources) beyond the federation of distributed repositories already achieved through existing search services. Nor is another bibliographically based secondary indexing service needed at this time. Necessary incremental improvements will likely continue to occur in these areas, but they do not require an initiative on the scale of what is being called for in this report.
The real opportunity is in offering mathematicians new and more direct ways to discover and interact with mathematical objects and mathematical knowledge through the Web. The committee’s consensus is that by some
1 The World Digital Mathematics Library rubric has been used by a variety of organizations for many distinct projects. A history of many of these efforts and the current state-of-the-art can be found on the wiki page from the International Mathematics Union’s Digital Mathematics Workshop in June 2012, http://ada00.math.uni-bielefeld.de/mediawiki-1.18.1/index.php/.
2 Examples include the Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences, the NIST Digital Library of Mathematical Functions, and the Guide to Available Mathematical Software.