To: The SGML Technical Working Group
From: Bob Donohue
Re: Small Business Innovative Research Application Reviewers

Date: February 9, 1995

I am soliciting your help to participate in the review of Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Program proposals. The SBIR program provides grants of money to small business to conduct research of specified topics of interest. In this case, the technical topic of interest is the Electronic Exchange of Scientific and Technical Information among Department of Energy organizations. Explicit in the proposed technical area of interest is the use of ISO 8879, Standard Generalized Markup Language (please see the attached) It is our feeling that this group is the best qualified to review and make a determination with respect to the technical merits of each proposal.


The SBIR program was created to increase private sector commercialization of technology developed through Federal R&D and increase small business participation in Federal R&D.

Funds provided by SBIR are used to support an annual competition for Phase I awards of up to $75,000 for about 6 months to explore the feasibility of innovative concepts. Phase II is the principal research or R&D effort, and the awards are up to $750,000 for a two-year period.

In order to be responsive to the participating small businesses, the review process is very tightly scheduled; in fact the actual review must occur within two weeks and the scoring of the reviewer comments must occur within one week. As many as 50 applications could be reviewed. Consequently, it is imperative that time be set aside by each reviewer so that each application can be fairly considered.

If you are interested in participating or have more questions, please call me at 615.576.8342 or Email, I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Research on the Electronic Exchange of Scientific and Technical Information Among Organizations

In 1990, DOE received legislative authority to use its resources to enhance mathematics and science education. Largely through the national laboratories, DOE developed and implemented a number of outreach programs that are recognized both for their quality and unique scientific expertise and resources. However, because of technological barriers to nation-wide implementation, these programs have had primarily local impact. An architecture which makes educational outreach programs accessible nationwide is a necessary goal.

New standards and technologies emerging today allow DOE to take a much needed corporate approach toward accessing and integrating educational program resources in ways not previously imagined. Recently, DOE has adopted ISO Standard 8879, Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), as the standard for exchange of full text scientific and technical information. SGML handles full text as well as multimedia, an integral aspect of information developed for students and teachers. A non-proprietary architecture for capturing information electronically as well as for facilitating easy access and exchange of full text math and science documents and multimedia is essential in the future.

DOE intends to capitalize on standards, information technologies, and expertise to link its education materials programs through long distance learning systems to student and teacher populations in support of the Nation's future scientific and technical needs. In so doing, the need for well-educated, highly skilled scientific and technical personnel to carry out the DOE's basic research and development and operational missions will be addressed. Grant applications are solicited in only the following subtopics:

a. Collaborative Writing and Editing of Scientific and Educational Materials-Authoring and editing of educational documents and multimedia output (e.g., graphics, pictures, voice) can occur in groups within sites, among groups within sites, and among organizations. This collaborative writing and editing process is currently cumbersome, untimely, and cost ineffective particularly in organizations which have related, but geographically dispersed sites. Grant applications are sought for developing a wide-area-network for collaborative writing and editing of scientific and technical education documents within and among geographically dispersed organizations. The network should include the use of ISO Standard 8879, SGML. It should reflect where and how the markup should occur and depict the use of SGML encoding in a simple, non-offending manner, particularly to the originating author(s). The network should be designed to: (1) demonstrate a wide-area-network pilot between the DOE Office of Scientific and Technical Information and at least three dispersed DOE contractor and educational sites, and (2) maximize access and utility by students meeting educational requirements for technical careers, and post-college occupational opportunities. Applicants are expected to be thoroughly familiar with the SGML and knowledgeable of the current state-of-the-art of methods and procedures for writing, editing, and electronic and multimedia publishing. A general knowledge and understanding of math and science education programs within the United States is expected as well.

b. Electronic Exchange Architecture-The exchange of electronically created full text scientific and technical educational documents and multimedia (e.g., graphics, pictures, voice) within and among organizations is currently very difficult or impossible. This situation results from the use of multiple types of electronic files, proprietary systems, mixed hardware and software platforms, etc. Grant applications are sought to develop an organization-wide, full text, electronic exchange architecture applicable for use by widely dispersed DOE sites, DOE contractors, and educational organizations. The architecture should include the use of the ISO 8879 SGML as the encoding standard for making the full text and multimedia data neutral and transferrable over time and across multiple organizations with mixed platforms. The electronic architectural exchange should reflect electronic exchange requirements for implementation both within and among at least ten multiple and geographically dispersed government, contractor and educational sites. A description of required standards, technologies, organizational requirements, and related costs for implementing the architecture should be included with the design in the grant application.