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According to most of the plenary addresses of the 2000 All Scientists Meeting in Snowbird, Utah, ecological
researchers must “think outside the box”. Sociologists, modelers, climatologists, paleoecologists, remote
sensing specialists, and science administrators all emphasized the need of ecological scientists to become
comfortable with multiple disciplines and define questions that are significant in each of these fields
simultaneously. Only through such mutual respect and understanding can multiple disciplines be merged
into a coherent interdisciplinary research team. In this issue, we pick up this theme and encourage
researchers and information technologists to move beyond the traditional role of information management as
a data archiving service. We have a unique set of skills to offer ecologists, and those skills are more likely to
be used when we define our expertise in relation to pressing ecological questions. The Fall 2000 issue of
Databits presents the many ways information managers and technology experts are lending their unique
talents to address complex ecological issues and problems today. We have included summaries from
information management workshops held at the All Scientists Meeting in the hopes that the readership of
this newsletter will envision applications of their own research across the multiple disciplines that comprise
ecological science.

DataBits continues as a semi-annual electronic publication of the Long Term Ecological Research Network.
It is designed to provide a timely, online resource for research information managers and to incorporate
rotating co-editorship. Availability is through web browsing as well as hardcopy output. LTER mail list
IMplus will receive DataBits publication notification. Others may subscribe by sending email to with two lines “subscribe databits” and “end” as the message body. To
communicate suggestions, articles, and/or interest in co-editing, send email to

—– Co-editors: Ned Gardiner (Coweeta) and Brent Brock (Konza Prairie)

Table of Contents

Featured Articles
About this Issue1
Partnership Between Long-term Ecological Research and Information Management: Successes and ChallengesBarbara Benson2
Advancing Communication and Networking: Opportunities and Challenges for LTER/ILTERWilliam Y.B. Chang6
Technology Focus: Environmental Applications of Advanced Computing InfastructureTony Fountain7
Ecological Informatics: Innovative Tools and TechnologiesHap Garrett10
GIS on the Internet and LTER: A Frontier for Research, Applications, and SolutionsNed Gardiner11
News Bits
Into the Fray: Observations by a New LTER Information ManagerWade Sheldon15
Online Real Time Weather Data at Konza Prairie Biological StationBrent Brock16
Good Reads
Ecological Data: Design, Management, ProcessingJohn Briggs18
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can one find a quick check on computer terms, such as the definition of ‘petabyte’ or the meaning of ‘gif’?Karen Baker19