Title:Bridging the Gap between Research and Education: The Future of Network Technology in the Sciences and Science Museums
Authors:Robert Guralnick
Publication:MW97: Museums and the Web 1997

Although the intent of media as a tool to educate the public is sometimes realized, just as often mass media is driven more by market forces than by accurate presentation of information. Recently, NBC broadcast "Mysterious Origins," narrated by Charleton Heston, which blatantly presented false information regarding evolution and human origins. The show was recently rebroadcast, because controversy is more important than accuracy when it comes to moneymaking. New media like the Internet promise to be driven less by commercial interests and have many advantages over television, radio or newspaper. One of the greatest potentials of the Internet, still mostly unfulfilled, is to bridge the gap between research and education in the sciences. Currently, research is disseminated broadly in only a few major journals like Science and Nature. Most research is of special interest only to other researchers. Although the Internet can provide a means to allow communication between researchers, more importantly it can allow access to and contextualization of material in a broader context. If research is properly handled on the Internet, I believe that institutions can make their products more valuable to society. I will discuss the notion of hierarchy of information in a laterally directed medium like the Web and present examples of bridging the gap between research and education taken from my work on the University of California Museum of Paleontology Web site.