In early October 1996 NSSDC added a User Survey option to its principal World Wide Web (WWW) pages and advertised this survey in research community newsletters. The survey asked people to characterize themselves (researcher or otherwise; disciplines of interest), to respond to a series of questions intended to enable NSSDC management to improve (or initiate) important services, to provide an overall evaluation of NSSDC's data and services, and to evaluate each of several individual services.
During October and November 1996 62 responses were received, split equally between people identifying themselves as researchers and those identifying themselves as non-researchers. Of those, 35, 24, and 20 people identified themselves as interested in astronomy, space physics, and planetary data/services, respectively. The research community was most interested in astronomy and space physics data/services, while the non-research community was most interested in planetary and astronomy data/services.
Half the respondents rated NSSDC data and services as "very good" overall, 35% rated NSSDC "excellent," and the remaining respondents rated NSSDC "good" or lower. These evaluations were very similar for both the research and non-research communities.
Many good comments and suggestions have been received. One recurrent theme was to make yet more data network-accessible. Another was to facilitate the finding of relevant and interesting data and services for the general public; in response to this comment, NSSDC is now working on an option "For the General Public" to appear on the NSSDC home page. One suggestion was to keep ANON/FTP file access capability as an important service even while building enhanced-functionality WWW interfaces.
"The Space Physics Data Availability Catalog is an excellent tool, not only to find out what data is available, but to easily find out where and how to get at the data."
--Dr. Howard Singer, NOAA SEC
"Information about planets for 2nd grader studying space. Thanks for having information published at a level he can understand."
--Jimi Cortez, in grade 2, Waialae Elementary School, Honolulu, HI
"THANK YOU for being available! It means that people at smaller institutions can still be active researchers. That makes us happier, better, and more exciting teachers."
--H. L. Preston, Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geology
Valdosta State University
Erin D. Gardner, firstname.lastname@example.org, (301) 286-0163
Hughes STX, Code 633, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771, U.S.A.