Information is more than documentation, information is a scientific instrument too.
Not only new experimental results, but also the analysis of known data can create new knowledge and new applications.
Our starting point was our own need of such technologies.
LCI Publisher regroups chemists, physicists and mathematicians from the University of Hamburg, Germany.
Primary, we wanted to dedict physical properties from the chemical structures of liquid crystals, by the analysis of published data, but No satisfactory technologies were existing to handle such problem.
At first, we developed the LiqCryst database series, which are quite successful in various aspects.
For example we already can predict physical properties from chemical compounds by statistical extrapolation from currently known similar compounds.
As result, LiqCryst becomes one of the world wide best published database running as scientific instrument.
This success can be explained by our new understanding of scientific information.
from our point of view a scientific database should have these aims:
- be a complete documentation
- be a scientific instrument to analyse data
- be an expert system to predict new properties from currently known data
To be a real useful tool, a scientific database should also be:
- secure in functionality
- easy and fast to use
- integrated with other software
- running on Windows PCs with low system requirements
Common database programs cannot fullfill these requirements:
- most databases cannot handle chemical structures
- most databases are SQL based which is quite useful for administration and economical uses but not for complex scientific data
- chemistry databases are limited in database functionalities
A scientist has different requests to a database management system:
- scientific informations are data and rules, e.g. knowledge is more than a simple data!
- scientific data are more than numbers, text strings are more than images, they are objects containing values, units, interdependences etc.
- scientific data need to be evaluated and standardized
The consequence of these findings is, that we need object orientated databases instead of SQL databases.
Further, we have to consider that not only one institution in the world can realize the whole data's compilation, but that specialist have to create, in their research fields, specialized knowledge bases.
These single systems should communicate to build up a global scientific knowlegde system.
At this time, we are developing the tools of such a knowledge system, the SciDex technology.
But we need the specialists all over the world to create the whole system.