Yale University Launches Web Application Highlighting Careers and Achievement of Women in STEM

Yale University has recently launched Science Stories, a linked-data, image-based web application highlighting the careers and achievements of women in STEM fields. The application was conceived by Katherine Thornton, a Council on Library and Information Resources postdoctoral fellow with joint appointments in the department of computer science and the Yale Library’s digital preservation department. The new initiative honors the 50th anniversary of co-education at Yale, which will be celebrated this year.

“It struck me that one way to celebrate the milestone is to look back at the women who performed scientific research on campus prior to 1969, as their work and achievements helped paved the way for co-education,” said Dr. Thornton.

Currently, Science Stories has archived nearly 600 profiles of women scientists. Each story has several common elements including a timeline of significant events in the subject’s career, a map marking places of importance to their lives, pages identifying where they were educated and their mentors of collaborators, a library of their published research, published articles about them, and complementing videos offering more information about various digital images. The information in Science Stories was acquired from digitized materials housed at Yale, and at libraries and museums all over the world.

Science Stories is part of an international movement to make digital images of collection material from museums, libraries, and other repositories accessible to scholars and the public. The images presented in the application are dynamic, making it easy for viewers to interact with them through zooming in or out, rotating, or changing the contrast and brightness. Additionally, viewers can access any given image’s metadata for additional information including a pathway back to the repository where the original material is housed.

“What we’re doing is taking metadata from different collections, and making it interoperable by transforming it into linked open data,” Dr. Thornton said. “We’re using that metadata to support the images related to these women or their publications, or in the case of certain scientists, like Katharine Jeannette Bush, the biological specimens that they collected and used in their research.”

Dr. Thornton holds a Ph.D. in information science from the University of Washington.

Science Stories may be accessed here.

Filed Under: MilestonesSTEM Fields


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