Appendix B:

GCDIS User Groups

The potential users of the GCDIS are mentioned in the summary of the assessing implications of global change working group, chapter 3. The appendix describes the types of user groups in more detail.



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OCR for page 53
1993 DATA FORUM: A Review of an Implementation Plan for U.S. Global Change Data and Information System Appendix B: GCDIS User Groups The potential users of the GCDIS are mentioned in the summary of the assessing implications of global change working group, chapter 3. The appendix describes the types of user groups in more detail.

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1993 DATA FORUM: A Review of an Implementation Plan for U.S. Global Change Data and Information System Assessing the Implications of Global Change Working Group Description of the GCDIS User Groups It is critical that the Implementation Plan show precisely how the separate and specialized needs of different users will be met by the present and future components of the GCDIS. A pyramid portrait of data users provides a useful model for matching user needs with the relevant GCDIS functions. Scientists form the base of the pyramid; they require focused and primary data to support basic research. Traditional dataset assembly is the primary data-support activity at this level. It will be the highest volume of activity in the GCDIS, and will require that participants devise and implement procedures for identifying and engaging appropriate user groups and adjudicating priorities. Assessment teams are found on the second, smaller tier. Also included are natural and social scientists who use data that has been aggregated over time or space or perhaps combined from multiple primary data sources. They all need processed data, estimated behavioral parameters and summary statistics to see how the larger systems work and how they can be put together. They incorporate the results of the basic research from the first layer, but also need a wide variety of cultural, institutional, political, and perceptions data if they are to begin to integrate human activity. Assessment teams need to know where these data came from and how they were created so that they can cite their sources, judge their quality, and evaluate their applicability to their own research, but they do not need to work with the primary data. The primary responsibility in supporting and sustaining this data-support activity would reside in the USGCRP structured research and assessment programs, but they should be organized to assure close support, effective archiving, and efficient dissemination. Policy analysts and other prospective users such as journalists, educators, legal scholars, or experts in international relations and negotiation, reside in the top layer. They need high quality, synthesized synopses of what is known and what is not known, as well as clearly articulated, critically comparative lists of options of how to respond based upon the assessment reports. They do not need to see the assessments, necessarily,

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1993 DATA FORUM: A Review of an Implementation Plan for U.S. Global Change Data and Information System but they need to know where they are and where to go for further information. They need to be assured of quality, and they need to know that they will be able to trace any synthesized recommendation back through the underlying assessment to discover its analytical roots, and its assumptive context. Data-support activity here includes creating and maintaining suitable hierarchical indices of existing reports and publications built atop the existing library system; WAIS/Gopher-like technology could be exploited.