Connecting a Web of Resources
Helping connect a wide web of researchers, all while doing a bit of research for ourselves.
Building an interconnected model, and learning a bit about ourselves as well.
It should come as no surprise: the world of energy research is a fast one. But, it’s still a regional one, tied to university locations and unique energy situations, from the wind farms of Minnesota to South Dakota’s ethanol plants and the traditional oil wells of the south-central United States.
Which makes the need for collaboration and standards so key. Enter the Energy Impacts Research Coordination Network — a multi-university network dedicated to providing a central meeting ground for energy scholars — not just related to the energy sources themselves, but also to their impact across the social sciences.
It’s new, and it’s exciting. But new and exciting brings one major challenge: how do you get people on the same page and connected?
Finding researchers, easily.
Imagine you are looking for an energy researcher. Someone who can give you information on residential solar energy and its effect on the communities it serves. Someone who lives in the Great Plains, and who has experience with a specific region of the nation.
How would you find them?
The hardest part of research is locating resources — harder still if those resources are people, who aren’t constrained to library catalogs and online journals. Energy Impacts sought to connect these resources — these people — by creating a directory of researchers and publications across the nation. The goal was to provide easy access to any related work through filtering by academic field, methods, and even geography. To bring everyone to the same interface, and set them free on the rest of the industry.
The process with Blend began with a long conversation about what needed to be included — and what didn’t. For simplicity's sake, we walked through the common research path, sketching out user flows and wireframes in order to provide the best path from a specific research topic need to the eventual connection.