Edit: The presentation I gave to accompany this post is available on Slideshare I was asked by Ben Showers of the JISC to write a ‘challenging and provocative vision’ for library management systems, for a joint JISC / SCONUL workshop. I was given a free hand with this - the only parameters were that the piece should be non more than a side of A4 paper in length, and that it should use 2020 as its target year for prediction.
Introduction - (warning - old-timer indulgence) From the mid-nineties through to the end of 2006 I earned my living as a developer of Web applications, or as someone managing Web application development projects. I like to think I was quite good at it, and I certainly have a lot of experience. I worked with CGI writing in Perl and a little C, moving into ColdFusion and Java (via JServ - anyone remember that?
Last week I outlined an idea, that of the service anti-pattern, as part of a presentation I gave to the Resource Discovery Taskforce (organised by JISC in partnership with RLUK). The idea seemed to really catch the interest of and resonate with several of those members of the taskforce who were present at the meeting. My presentation was in a style which does not translate well to being viewed in a standalone context (e.
During an interesting session called the 'Great Global Graph' at the CETIS conference this week I formed the opinion that, in the recent rush of enthusiasm for 'linked data', three 'memes' were being conflated. These next three bullets outline my understanding of how these terms have been used in recent discussions, including the CETIS session: Open data: I see this as something expressed as a philosophy or, in more concrete terms, as a policy, such as that espoused by the UK Government.
Last week I posted a remark on Twitter: Can't help thinking that the idea that Google Wave will replace email rather misses the point.... The first response to this echoed my view on this suggesting that the real nature of Wave is rather harder to explain or understand, and implying that people fall back on a frame of reference with which they are comfortable. It certainly looks as though Google have anticipated this and offered some easily digested marketing messages.
Over the years I've found the ' Semantic Web' to be an interesting though, at times, faintly worrying concept. It has never much impacted on my work directly, despite my having been embroiled in Web development since, well pretty much, Web development began. Of late I've tried to follow the earnest discussions about how the Semantic Web went all wrong because it was hijacked by the AI enthusiasts, and how it is going to be alright now because a more pragmatic paradigm has gained the upper-hand, that of Linked Data.
In his Science in the Open blog Cameron Neylon has written an interesting post, A Specialist OpenID Service to Provide Unique Researcher IDs? in which he asks: Good citation practice lies at the core of good science. The value of research data is not so much in the data itself but its context, its connection with other data and ideas. How then is it that we have no way of citing a person?
A brief comment, as I hop across the North Sea back to Bristol. With the news that arXiv will now accept deposits from institutional repositories, Dorothea Salo continues her theme about a deposit flow which goes from author, to institutional repository, to subject/discipline repository. Dorothea offers some scenarios, including: Achaea University adopts a Harvard-style open-access mandate. If she wants her articles in arXiv as well, Dr. Troia must rather annoyingly dual-deposit… unless Achaea’s IR implements a deposit pipeline to arXiv, in which case the most she has to do is tick a ticky-box (and I can imagine ways to abstract away the ticky-box).
In my previous post about QR codes I made a couple of points which, after receiving some interesting comments, I'd like to expand on. I see them [QR codes] occasionally on blogs/web-pages but I just don’t much see the point of that Shortly after making this point, I suggested on a UKOLN internal mailing list that it might make more sense to include a QR code in a cascading style sheet provided for printing, rather than viewing on the screen.
I spent half an hour this morning experimenting with QR barcodes, prompted by Andy Ramsden who is running a small test/survey. I used various iPhone clients to try to decode and make use of three QR codes printed on a sheet of paper. Each of the three codes encoded different information - a URL, a simple string of text, and an SMS message with mobile number respectively. It transpires that the iPhone does not make a first-class QR decoder.
It's Sunday evening.... Brian Kelly recently resurrected the debate about Facebook and its use in an HE context. I know he's on the road at the moment so I suspect he dipped into his blog post 'reserve' for this one ;-). My initial reaction was to smile and move on, but I was caught more by a couple of the comments, from Mike [ comment] and Marieke [ comment] (both people I know and respect), which have stung me into responding.
Commenting on the Google Apps outage last week, John Proffitt, IT services director at APTI, an Alaskan public TV station, said: "It was constant troubleshooting, testing, research, posting to the Google Apps forums and so on. Plus there's the emotional strain of wondering whether you completely screwed up by moving everyone to Google Apps as our sole e-mail system. That's what freaked me out: Did Google just make me look like an idiot?
A really interesting and useful comment over on Brian's blog from Nicola Osborne talking about the rationale behind surfacing SUNCat in Facebook. I had made the point, earlier in the thread that EDINA's decision to invest a little in creating a facade for SUNCat on Facebook's 'platform' was probably a smart move in terms of marketing.... but nothing more than this. Getting your application 'out there' to 'where the users are' is a pretty standard marketing strategy.
I've just been invited in FaceBook to join something called a 'blog network'. The invitation purported to come from a well-known blogger - someone I'm happy to be associated with. I accepted the invitation, which caused the FaceBook to announce to anyone who cared to notice that I am now a fan of that particular blog. Err - 'scuse me? I just joined a 'network' - I didn't make any value judgement other than that which can be implied by my joining this network - and I don't think I implied I was a fan.
Via my colleague Brian Kelly's post, I read Catherine O'Brien's How the Google generation thinks differently on the Times Online site (Brian gets cited offering advice on parenting in a digital age!). I enjoyed the article, but one sentence in the middle caused me to reminisce about my own childhood, and my approach to 'doing' homework: The experience with which my generation grew up, of absorbing oneself in a single book and allowing its themes to meander into the mind before forming considered judgments, is in danger of being eclipsed by the new, digital world order.
At a JISC workshop last Thursday I was invited to present some ideas around an architecture to support and exploit repositories in the UK. I gave the presentation the title Repository Architecture #83 ;-) My intention was to suggest some starting principles and then explore how they held up in the face of real-world issues. Here is the slide where I outlined these principles: I also asked the question: "do we actually need a new architecture?
For some time now I've been thinking about what I think of as the ascendency of the opportunistic developer in web application development. The phrase has unfortunate connotations for those who remember the 'personas' meme from some years ago when it was revealed that Microsoft had characterised three type of developer for three of its software development products. [ 1] and [ 2]. This post is not directly related to these archetypes (the opportunistic developer was called 'Mort' in the meme, a name which has become derogatory).
I haven't minted a TLA for ages - I think I might be the the first to come up with PPP for Personal Profile Portability as a convenient handle to wrap around the current flavour of 'data portability' being touted by the major 'walled-garden' social network sites. Both MySpace and Facebook have recently launched initiatives to open up a little....but not too much. MySpace has announced its Data Availability project with some major partner applications.
Here's an interesting approach. Bernhard Haslhofer at Media Spaces has developed OAI2LOD Server, a system which harvests metadata with OAI-PMH, processes the records to create a triple store and exposes interfaces to this for linked-data clients, SPARQL clients and web-browsers. According to the web-page: The OAI2LOD Server exposes any OAI-PMH compliant metadata repository according to the Linked Data guidelines. This makes things and media objects accessible via HTTP URIs and query able via the SPARQL protocol.
Back in February I was asked to give a talk to the JISC Digitisation Programme meeting. I blogged about this shortly beforehand asking for comments and suggestions. The response was fantastic - I received a bunch of great suggestions and incorporated many of them into the presentation. Everyone who commented got a public 'thankyou' at the event, and I included all names in the slides I used. I have finally gotten around to making the slides available (someone who was at the meeting has asked for them so they made some sort of impression with someone!