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Finding HMAS Sydney Chapter 4 - Cognitive Science and Domain Expertise
HMAS Sydney : Life boats with official badge mounted on the bows. Copyright: Australian War Memorial Cognitive Science & Domain Expertise 4
HMAS Sydney : Life boats with official badge mounted on the bows Science Science thrives on critical review. Most of the articles published by scientists are subjected to rigorous and occasionally brutal peer review. The system is not of course fool-proof; errors occur, and biases pose a constant hazard. FSF Director/Consultant Kim Kirsner and John Dunn have published more than 150 refereed articles and chapters in the area of Cognitive Science. In addition, they have attracted approximately 20 grants from the Australian Research Council, another source of critical review. Kim Kirsner is an elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Science.
<ul><li>Cognitive Science </li></ul><ul><li>Cognitive Science comes into play when memory and decision making influence interpretation. The contrast between the reports from the Kormoran crew and the alleged observers on the coast illustrate the point. </li></ul><ul><li>The accounts in the Kormoran database were: </li></ul><ul><li>Elicited by domain experts from the RAN </li></ul><ul><li>Elicited from members of the crew who were in many cases domain experts (e.g., in navigation) </li></ul><ul><li>The information provided the crew was critical to survival, and, significantly, </li></ul><ul><li>The information was provided 7-21 days after disembarkation, unlike Detmers coded dictionary (where the delay was up to 14 months) and the Port Gregory reports (where the delay was 40 - 50 years) </li></ul>
The Finding Sydney Foundation (FSF) Between 2001 and 2005, the Technical Search Committee of the FSF implemented due diligence procedures on the arguments and conclusions discussed during 2003-4, and endorsed and published the work in numerous Powerpoint presentations (e.g., Finding Sydney Foundation , 2005, 2007) Between 2004 and 2007 FSF Director Bob King played a significant role in the definition of the position of Sydney, and in the nomination of the search boxes for each of the wrecks.
The Technical Search Committee The Technical Search Committee (TSC) of the FSF included Ted Graham (Chair), Bob King, Ron Birmingham and Bob Trotter. The TSC was responsible for search recommendations until mid-2007, when Mearns occupied this role. Kim Kirsner was a Director from 2001-2004 and Kim and John Dunn acted as pro-bono consultants to the FSF thereafter. The FSF adopted an inclusive approach to Directorship. In 2006, following an agreement by her to give first priority to a search in the northern area, Glenys McDonald was invited to become a Director.
Domain Expertise Kormoran: Officer’s galley port side aft superstructure, burnt. Copyright: Australian War Memorial.
<ul><li>Sources of information for wreck-hunting </li></ul><ul><li>The variety of evidence available for wreck-hunting is daunting. Ship--wrecks typically produce some or all of the following sources of information: </li></ul><ul><li>1 First hand accounts by the Captain, the officers, and the crew, </li></ul><ul><li>Navigational charts and recordsAccounts from observers on other vessels or the shore </li></ul><ul><li>Signal records </li></ul><ul><li>Lifeboats, Life-rafts, Life-belts, and Flotsam and Jetsam where hind-casting the position of the loss depends on an understanding of oceanography including the action of wind and current </li></ul><ul><li>5 Accounts from observers on other vessels or the shore </li></ul><ul><li>6 Second-hand reviews by naval administrators and courts </li></ul><ul><li>7 Historical descriptions and analyses </li></ul><ul><li>8 Databases used for Anti-Submarine Warfare , a point highlighted for the first author by research staff at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts during a visit in 1993 </li></ul>
Sources of expertise for wreck-hunting Navigation records often provide the best source of information for wreck-hunting. Bob Ballard’s achievements (Ballard, 2008) are substantially based on the successful use of navigation information. David Mearns too has used his expertise in this domain to good effect. In the case of Kormoran however, critical information survived the battle and a week at sea in the heads of the crew - the domain experts - and memory and forgetting were critical. In other cases, oceanography, navigation, history or oral history might be more important. Because most of the information in the archives compiled in 1941 depended on recollection, Kirsner and Dunn’s expertise was appropriate. Henceforth we will refer to this material as the Kormoran Database . The in-water work depended on different skills, and we acknowledge Mearn’s expertise in that domain. Forensic Science, with experts from many disciplines provides an appropriate parallel to wreck-hunting.