The Next Big Thing: From Hypermedia to Datuments


  • Peter Murray-Rust Unilever Centre for Molecular Informatics, University of Cambridge
  • Henry S. Rzepa Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London


The concept of a datument as a hyperdocument for transmitting and preserving the complete content of a piece of scientific work is introduced. Currently the scientific publishing process loses almost all of the information environment that the author creates or possesses. It is shown that datuments can record and reproduce experiments and act as a lossless way of publishing science. This is illustrated with specific examples drawn from scientific documents and molecular science, showing how a datument containing molecular coordinates can be viewed in various styles and how typical documents deriving from organic and physical chemistry and expressed in XML can be transformed using XSLT.