Karst science is an intrinsically multidisciplinary field of study that is poorly indexed and difficult to access. While much of the significant body of international literature is accessible, many important works remain largely unknown or inaccessible. Some of the more difficult and essential documents to access are what is characterized as gray literature, which includes maps, databases, technical reports, graduate theses or dissertations, images, video, and government publications. Also, karst-related documents published in less-accessible languages are hard to access or find. The creation and implementation of the Karst Information Portal (KIP) beginning in 2005 addresses these and other information access and management problems by focusing on providing a global portal to provide a gateway to the Web for karst information and services. Digital versions of many karst resources will be available through KIP. Databases, datasets, bibliographies, images, grey literature, etc. that have been created world-wide by karst scientists, explorers, and educators will be accessible through KIP federated searching (i.e. simultaneous search of multiple data sources) identified karst sites on the Internet. In June 2007, an enhanced KIP was launched that includes The Guide to Speleological Literature database, a scanning electron micrograph repository, and links to key electronic karst resources. Like other well-known portals, such as Chronos, the KIP will continue to grow as users and developers bring more information within the network. We seek to expand KIP by developing partnerships to populate the portal with pertinent databases, maps, gray literature, and other information of interest to the geoscience community. Knowledge discovery, commenting by users, and collaborative workspaces (collaboratoria) are being tested through an image database of scanning electron micrographs in a joint project with Los Alamos National Laboratory. The KIP has the potential to transform geologic, biological, paleontological, archaeological, and historical research in karst by creating knew knowledge through the integration of international information in the discipline.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/todd_chavez/19/