Monthly Archives: November 2006

Graphics

I have worked with computer graphics for many years – this has been catalysed by Noel’s discussion of the Algorithm puzzles

  1. Noel OBoyle Says:
    November 30th, 2006 at 1:59 pm eI would be *very* impressed if you could figure out the solution without running the program. Try coding it – a picture tells a thousand words. :-)
  2. pm286 Says:
    November 30th, 2006 at 2:55 pm e(3) All right. I have to decide yet again what graphics system I should aim for – GTK, Swing, or even SVG.
    My latest guess is a Cantor set of some sort (perhaps a Sierpinski gasket) with an empty triangle in the middle
  3. Noel OBoyle Says:
    November 30th, 2006 at 5:44 pm eIn the old days, this would take 5 minutes on a BBC to code up and run. Even in Windows with Qbasic, it was easy. The barrier is higher now…Python requires an additional module such as PyGame.

This brings back lots of memories. I remember reading a strange report in (I think) nature about a mysterious function (later to be called the Mandelbrot set). It’s very simple – takes about 5 lines of code. So I set it up on the BBC. (For non-UK readers, in the eighties a wonderful home and educational computer, with an excellent mix of operating system, assembler, graphics and Basic interpreter (though “Basic” doesn’t do it credit).

Anyway I saw this function and wrote a little program to iterate. I ran it and couldn’t see anything special. So I thought I needed a finer grid. It was going to take about 12 hours to draw the picture (not the drawing speed – the iterations through the complex numbers). I didn’t expect but left it on overnight. I came in in the morning, having forgotten that I’d left it on, and got one of the wow! factors of my life:

mandelbrot.png (Thanks, Wikipedia)

I think mine was in monochrome, but still wow!

The great thing about the Beeb was that you could just sit down and run the graphics. That was also true on the AppleII (my first personal machine – well actually the lab’s but all mine!). Now you can’t. If I want to draw some graphics what do I do?

For a quick lash up I might generate an SVG and then view it – but that’s a bit clunky. But otherwise? How do I type move and draw on the commandline? It’s got worse.

I’ve been through the whole range of graphics software – Tek4010, Calcomp plotter, AppleII, Megatek, Evans and Sutherland PS300, BBC, VT200, SGI-GL, GKS, PHIGS, OpenGL, TK, Java AWT1.02, Swing, Java3D, Swing… and some I’ve happily forgotten. If I want reasonable high-quality interactive graphics I suppose I’d choose Swing. I hate Swing. Typical error message “You cannot add a JPanel to JFrame, you must add to a JContentPane” – absurd! The logic is clear only to the authors (if anyone). If some meaningless intermediate object is required, why can’t the software add it? And you have to remember when to use pack() and show() and …The one I remember with most fondness was TK – well ahead of its time.

So I can’t answer Noel’s problem in 5 minutes – it’s half a day or downloading libraries and working out how to use them. Or not. SVG is great, but I can’t just play with it. And I know that I and my colleagues need to start using some graphics. Where should we start…

Open Access in Physics and Chemistry, or, A Tale of Two Disciplines

My most important reading is Peter Suber’s Open Access News an incredible wealth of high-quality reading. Here’s one from today … Heather Morrison, Open Access in Physics and Chemistry, or, A Tale of Two Disciplines, a presentation at the McGill Library School, November 27, 2006:
There are disciplinary differences in awareness of, and approaches to, open access and other types of “openness”. It is likely that there are no great differences than the differences between physics and chemistry. Physics, as a discipline, has long been the leader in open access archiving, beginning in 1991 with the establishment of arXiv, and continuing with the CERN Documents Server. In physics, open access is mainstream, with open access archiving peacefully coexisting with traditional publishing. Physics is currently leading a push towards full open access publishing.Chemistry, in contrast, has had very low rates of self-archiving of peer-reviewed journal articles, and traditional publishers, until recently, were fighting open access. However, a slightly different picture emerges when we consider the broader concept of “openness”, as chemistry appears to be emerging as a leader in open data and open source science.
Many thanks Heather! The last paragraph relates to the activities – Open (NoteBook) Science, Blue Obelisk, etc. frequently commented on in this blog. Heather has been a tireless champion of OA and related fields and it’s also worth mentioning that Canada is among the most progressive countries in this area (for example see Two library groups support draft CIHR policy.). It is REALLY encouraging to have people like Heather support our cause.

There’s a strange “looking glass war” here. Having spent 11 years developing Chemical Markup Language (actually the first XML DTD) I got used to XML books saying “the chemists are using CML to exchange chemical information”. The well-kept secret was that they weren’t. They couldn’t care less about XML, RDF, RSS, REST XSD,… So Henry Rzepa and me took the campaign out of chemistry and put our effort into supporting XML in general – by creating and running the XML Dev-Mail List. By adding our 1% to the other contributors we may have had a “butterfly effect” in helping XML to make it (that was certainly not a forgone conclusion). Now, 11 years on, parts of chemistry are starting to take it seriously. Not all, but enough. A critical mass.

So what I take from this is that we need Heather, Peter, SPARC, etc. to help develop the concept of Open Data and Open Science. We’ll obviously continue to do our own bit in chemistry but it will probably be a considerable time before it becomes mainstream. Another 10 years? Note that of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) almost all promote OA and some form of Open Data – except the EPSRC).

RELAX wins

There’s been a buzz today about the changing scene in XML. On the XML-DEV list Michael Champion wrote:

I see that Elliotte Harold has declared the schema wars over, and Tim Bray, Don Park, and others have piled on. That would be great news, except for the little detail that the non-cognoscenti don’t seem to know or care.

He’s referring to Tim Bray who writes:

Choose RELAX Now · Elliotte Rusty Harold’s RELAX Wins may be a milestone in the life of XML. Everybody who actually touches the technology has known the truth for years, and it’s time to stop sweeping it under the rug. W3C XML Schemas (XSD) suck. They are hard to read, hard to write, hard to understand, have interoperability problems, and are unable to describe lots of things you want to do all the time in XML. Schemas based on Relax NG, also known as ISO Standard 19757, are easy to write, easy to read, are backed by a rigorous formalism for interoperability, and can describe immensely more different XML constructs. To Elliotte’s list of important XML applications that are RELAX-based, I’d add the Atom Syndication Format and, pretty soon now, the Atom Publishing Protocol. It’s a pity; when XSD came out people thought that since it came from the W3C, same as XML, it must be the way to go, and it got baked into a bunch of other technology before anyone really had a chance to think it over. So now lots of people say “Well, yeah, it sucks, but we’re stuck with it.” Wrong! The time has come to declare it a worthy but failed experiment, tear down the shaky towers with XSD in their foundation, and start using RELAX for all significant XML work. [Update: Piling-on are Don Park, Gabe Wachob, Mike Hostetler and some commenters. There’s thoughtful input from Dare Obasanjo, and now the comments have some push-back too.] [4 comments]
Some of the XML-DEVers are less than convinced – their argument is that paying customers in large companies don’t care how awful the technology is as long as it’s seen to be standard. W3C XSD will survive and prosper simply because it’s there, tooled up, and supported by the 800lb gorillas.
I’

Algorithm puzzles

I love algorithms. I’m not good at them, but I think they’re a wonderful expression of human creativity. An algorithm is a formal procedure which – in simple terms – works out the answer to a problem. A good algorithm has few frills, is general and is usually beautiful and can be proved to give the right answer.

So here are two algorithms which I think are beautiful and slightly mystical. Each carries the author’s name. I’m going to leave you to work out what each does. I have created meaningless variables and names so as to give few hints. I have written them in Java, but you should be able to follow them (int means integer;
The original version of the first algorithm (using iteration) (!= means notEqual):


int foo(int a, int b) {
while (a != b) {
if (a > b) {
a = a - b
} else {
b = b - a
}
}
return a
}

“To Iterate is Human, to Recurse, Divine” wrote James O. Coplien of the legendary Bell Labs. Here is the same algorithm using recursion (a mod b means the integer remainder after dividing a by b):

int foo(int a, int b) {
return (b == 0) ? a : foo(b, a mod b)
}

Isn’t that beautiful? Even if you’re not a programmer you can see that it’s very clever to create an algorithm with only one line.

If you don’t recognize this algorithm you can probably work out what it does by running a few trial variables throuh it. But what about this one…


void foo(int c, int d, int e) {
int a = 0;
int b = c;
int sum = 3 - 2 * c;
while(a <= b) {
outputProcedure(a, b, d, e);
if (sum <= 0) {
sum = sum + 4 * a + 6;
} else {
sum = sum + 4 * (a - b) + 10;
b = b - 1;
}
a = a + 1;
}

(* means multiply; <= means lessThanOrEqual).  Here we pass 3 integers (c, d, e) into a routine which runs through a loop and outputs something each time. What does it output? What are c,d,e?

The numbers 2, 3, 4, 6, 10 are fundamental parts of the algorithm – I find this remarkable!
============

PS  If any of you are still struggling with the mystery molecule, the answer is completely contained within http://wwmm.ch.cam.ac.uk/blogs/murrayrust/?p=160 – just save the picture.

Comments on Open Data

It’s great to see the positive response to ideas in Open Data. One from Rich Apodaca (Blue Obelisk) and one from Bill. the really nice thing is that there is a feeling of communal development of ideas. No single person owns this concept – but there are not too many views to make it fuzzy. I reproduce much of this verbatim.

Posted by Rich Apodaca 4 hours ago

What happens to an article in an Open Access journal that shuts down? Recently, this question was raised on the Blue Obelisk mailing list about an article published in the Internet Journal of Chemistry (IJC). Because the lights now appear to be out for good at IJC, are its articles lost forever?The good news is that by retaining copyright, authors of Open Access articles have the right to copy or reprocess their work in any form they see fit. If a traditional subscription-based journal shuts down, the fate of its entire article collection is up to the publisher, who is in nearly all cases the sole copyright holder. It’s remarkable that self-respecting scientists would knowingly allow the fruits of their hard work to meet with such a fate. With Open Access, the author is in control of keeping their article publicly visible.The bad news is that keeping an article publicly visible is the last thing most scientists want to spend valuable time and energy on. After all, that’s what the journal was there for, wasn’t it? Given the technical barriers to self-archiving Open Access content, who could blame them? First, an author needs to find a server willing to host their content. After that comes learning the software to get the article onto the server. Then comes the need to decide on the archival format, being ever-mindful of the hamburger effect. Of course, authors would probably want some assurance that the location of this article won’t change and will be “permanently” available. Does a DOI need to be re-assigned? And let’s not forget about how the poor reader is supposed to find these articles (some would say that Google is the answer, but I would disagree). Expecting each author to solve these problems on his or her own simply won’t work. There must be a better way.

To my knowledge, there is no solution to the Open Access archiving problem. But if history is any guide, this is a huge opportunity that will soon disappear. Maybe a SourceForge-like repository for Open Access content would work. Perhaps something less structured would be enough. The profit motive would certainly come into play, as the successful solution to this problem would easily have thousands, if not tens of thousands, of regular users. Whatever form the solution might take, it would most likely be a simple system built by a small organization using off-the-shelf components. I would expect nothing less from a disruptive technology like Open Access.

As one or more solutions to the Open Access archival problem begin to gain traction, other opportunities may arise and be exploited by enterprising individuals and small organizations. And so on, until a thriving ecosystem becomes established.

Proponents have been debating the “how” of Open Access for some time now. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about what comes after the Open Access transition.

I’m still getting my thoughts into place after the DCC2006 meeting. I think there will be repositories for Open Data – we are hard at work building part of them under SPECTRa. Jim Downing and I were just discussing how to get data from the experiment into the public repositories so that everyone is happy. The chemist wants as little work as possible but as much exposure. We’ve got a nifty technical idea which should help this a lot.

At present O/DSSL (to use Bill Hooker’s list – Open/Data/Source/Standards/License) is a Cinderella compared with Open Access. But Open Access is complex and fragmented – everything from the single-click-to-self-archive to hybrid journals. Some Open Access schemes are helpful to the cause of Open Data (where the author retains copyright) but other systems cause too much FUD for Open Data. Open Data requires simple concepts “this publisher allows and encourages you to scrape whatever you like from this website for purpose of disseminating and reusing science. And we’ve even constructed a robot-friendly license so no-one has to ask permission…” That is my idea of Open Access (or at least one of them – I obviously include direct publication of notebooks…).

And now…

Bill Says:

  1. November 28th, 2006 at 6:24 pm eThanks for the link!Is this the meeting you mean? I just downloaded your slides; how I love the internets! I wonder whether Google would be interested in extending Google Scholar to Google Data? That way authors could at least self-archive data before there are even Data Repositories available… or could current IRs accommodate data?

    Come to think of it, I’ve been tagging/labeling folders “oa/os” for “open access/open science”, which is what I’ve been calling the whole field in my head. I wonder whether Open Access/Open Data would do for a “brand”? Given that Source, Licensing and Standards are enablers of Access and Data, OA/OD is really the essence of Open Science.

One problem that has come up with both Open Knowledge discussions and the DCC is that the more the field broadens, the harder to contain it. I am fairly clear that we should concentrate on Science – if our labours also liberate maps that’s useful but it’s not the prime pupose. So among the words that should go in are

Open Science Data (and I like Notebook)
Open Data IMO implies Open “access” to the data but it doesn’t require “Open Access”. Something like “Open Availability” – and the licence will do the rest – “if you can get it – and we’ll help you – you can have it. Open Access often says “you can get it (we need not help you find it) but you can’t have it”.

Librarians speak out on Chemistry Publishing

In a recent perspective in Chemical and Engineering news (the “magazine” of the American Chemical Society) speak their mind on the challenge faced by (and from) chemical publishers. The article is accessible but is copyrighted by the American Chemical Society rather than the authors (this is standard practice). I therefore should, presumably, ask the American Chemical Society for permission to reproduce parts of it. I’ll quote a bit and plead “fair use” (since Peter Suber has done this I’ll follow his lead)…

Looming Threats To Society Journals

Kimberly Douglas and Dana L. Roth, California Institute of Technology

Now is not the time for members of professional scientific societies to be complacent or unengaged. The American Chemical Society Publications Division, as well as other learned society publishers, such as the Royal Society of Chemistry, may be overly confident that the obvious high quality of their journals will ensure their position against commercial competitors.

In addition, when they resist open-access efforts, society publishers appear to be more aligned strategically with commercial publishers’ short-term perspective than with the research community’s need to easily access all relevant content over the long term.

[...]Societies need to adhere closely to their members’ needs, even if that means a break with their for-profit counterparts. University faculty and administrators need to engage with librarians to ensure that the best decisions are being made for the long term.

The general high quality of society publications is taken for granted by all professionals, including the science and engineering librarians who are largely responsible for selecting and purchasing them for their institutional libraries. But research libraries face unprecedented and unsustainable demands on their budgets across all disciplines.

Unfortunately, an increasingly large component of this demand comes as a result of the commercial publishers leveraging high prices on individual title subscriptions to force librarians to purchase discounted publisher-selected collections—or bundles—of their journals at fixed prices. …

[much of the rest of the article is a useful and scholarly comparison of journal prices, price/page, etc. Many journals don't like this info being made public, especially if it reflects uncompetitively on them.]

Firstly I applaud Kimberley and Dana. To be fair to the ACS it does allow comment which is not aligned with its own editorial and business inclinations. And it does allow Open something to the article (I wouldn’t call it Open Access as it could be closed down and it has required the authors to hand over their creative work.).

The question of pricing is an important one (and should be pursued), but not – IMO – the most important one. I support their campaign against bundles (where a librarian negotiates with a publisher for a “cost effective” selection of journals at an all-in price. This merely supports the effective publisher stragety for divide and conquer). If at some time in the future all quality journals cost acceptable amounts but were still closed the librarians might declare victory but I would feel defeat.

I remember some years ago going to a meeting (it may have been under SPARC) in Cambridge run by the library on publishing. The discussion centered heavily on how to change the pricing model. Unfortunately this is of effective importance only to librarians (who have increasingly become purchasing officers). Journals are effectively free to academics in employment in large universities and effectively inaccessible to everyone else. The academics do not top-slice their grants for particular journals – the librarians do that at a higher university level.

So I remember saying that the real issue was control. Who controls MY academic output? Me? I’d like to think so. But if it’s in chemistry journals I don’t. Here’s an example…

Yesterday I was taken to task (slightly) for not having more documentation on JUMBO. At one stage I said “well, a lot of it is in peer-reviewed papers”. And then I realised that I could not distribute my own description of the program within the program distribution.

One thing that this blog does make me write things that suddenly hit me, so I’ll write it again…

“I have written a program. I have offered this program for peer-review and published a description of the program for other scientists to read. The publishers will not let me distribute this description.”

So all strength to Kimberley and Dana. But let us also take back our own property.

Open Science

Bill Hooker has written a most impressive post on Open Science – I give some flavour of it but you should really read it for yourself. Combined with his Part 1 (on Open Access) this is a resource full of links, references and comments

The Future of Science is Open, Part 2: Open ScienceIn Part 1 of this essay, I gave an outline of the scholarly publishing practice/philosophy known as Open Access; here I want to examine ways in which the central concept of OA, the “open” part, is being expanded to encompass all of science.

Terms
Though I am adopting the term “Open Science”, there are an number of similar and related terms and no clear overriding consensus as to which should prevail. This year’s iCommons Summit saw the conception and initiation of the Rio Framework for Open Science. Hosted on the iCommons wiki, the Framework is presently an outline consisting mainly of a useful collection of links and does not offer a formal definition. In a 2003 essay, Stephen Maurer noted that:

Open science is variously defined, but tends to connote (a) full, frank, and timely publication of results, (b) absence of intellectual property restrictions, and (c) radically increased pre- and post-publication transparency of data, activities, and deliberations within research groups.

Jamais Cascio and WorldChanging have been talking about open source science, making a direct analogy to open source software, for some time. Chemists Without Borders follow Cascio’s definition in their position statement:

Research already in progress is opened up to allow labs anywhere in the world to contribute experiments. The deeply networked nature of modern laboratories, and the brief down-time that all labs have between projects, make this concept quite feasible. Moreover, such distributed-collaborative research spreads new ideas and discoveries even faster, ultimately accelerating the scientific process.

Richard Jefferson, founder and CEO of CAMBIA, uses the term BiOS (either “Biological Innovation for Open Society” or “Biological Open Source”), and the Intentional Biology group at The Molecular Biosciences Institute talks about Open Source Biology. Peter Murray-Rust has recently put together a Wikipedia page on Open Data; he writes:

Open Data is a philosophy and practice requiring that certain data are freely available to everyone, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control.

Though Science Commons, which grew out of Creative Commons, doesn’t use the term “Open Data”, they have a “data project” and the concept is clearly central to their efforts. Best and most open of all (in my opinion), Jean-Claude Bradley has coined the term Open Notebook Science, by which he means:

…there [exists] a URL to a laboratory notebook (like this) that is freely available and indexed on common search engines. It does not necessarily have to look like a paper notebook but it is essential that all of the information available to the researchers to make their conclusions is equally available to the rest of the world. Basically, no insider information.


[and his further links include the Blue Obelisk and related activities]

I’ll just comment here that Open Data/Science/Notebook/Knowledge… need much greater exposure. Definition is important because then we know what we are talking about and can use a shorthand. Thus “Open Source Software” now needs no further explanation while Open Science (or the others) is not yet clear.

I hope to tie these up with the Digital Curation Meeting, but I’ve been busy wrestling with my code. It’s really fought me for days. Coding is one of those activities which can be maniacal or monomaniac – once started you often have to finish. I think I’ve cracked it, but the Unit tests will decide.

5 Years of Open Babel

I’ve mentioned Geoff Hutchison and Open Babel here before in the context of the Blue Obelisk awards. Open Babel is an Open Source “universal adapter” (see below). So it’s nice to report his announcement of 5 Years of Open Babel from the mailing list. To quote:

I’d like to take the opportunity to outline a bit of what’s happening with Open Babel right now and what 2007 might bring. Last year, we released version 2.0, representing a full stable release. Since then, we’ve released two updates to fix bugs, thanks in part to many user reports and contributions. There are contributed binary copies for Windows, Mac OS X, and a range of Linux distributions.

So what is Open Babel. Basically it’s one of those universal adapters such as you get in airports.

300px-mains_plug_travel_adaptor.jpg

(Thanks to Wikipedia – it’s so liberating to be able to paste pictures without worrying about copyright). This adapter can take 1 input (US) and transform to 2 different outputs (UK and European). Note that this transforms the mechanical format, not the voltage. (it’s a bit similar to transforming the syntax, but not the semantics). There are smarter adapters – some can manage 4 inputs and 4 outputs. But they feel as if they may fall to bits any time.

Open Babel is a lot more powerful than that! It can manage 70 formats. And also carry out some semantic conversion. It’s not a Swiss army knife – CDK and JOELib are more like that. It does a single job – syntactic and semantic conversion – and it does it through Open voluntary labour.

It is critical to highlight how important Open Babel and other Blue Obelisk activities are to the pharma industry. I’ve highlighted this before. I expect that Open Babel is used by every pharma company in the world. I estimate that in direct costs, staff etc. the pharma industry spends several billion (that’s a US billion = 10^9) USD per year on chemical informatics of some sort. (For example we can guess the amount spent on CAS, Beilstein, and chemoinformatics software). None of this goes on Open Babel.

That’s not quite true. Last year we had support for a summer student from Merck (Nick England) who added some exciting routines to Open Babel. Note directly costed – let’s say ca. 5000 USD. So thank you Merck. And also thanks to MDL for a summer student to write a CML Reader in Java.

But that’s about it. In IT there is a huge industry investment (direct and implied) in things like Apache, Eclipse,  etc. But in chemistry nothing. It’s pure free-riding by the pharma industry.

Now there is no moral argument here. We write these systems for a variety of motivations and they are fulfilling (though non-hackers have NO IDEA how much effort actually goes in.) NO IDEA. I have spent the weekend trying to refactor my molecule builder, and the gear wheels are spread out across the floor. Nothing is working. I promised my colleagues it would be ready for tomorrow. We’ll see. This post is a welcome relief.

So, dear pharma industry, if you read this – think about what you owe Geoff and the rest of us. It doesn’t just happen. It isn’t easy. The refactoring is desperate. We know you are shy – people in pharma don’t like to come out into the daylight so if you mail me I’ll keep it confidential. Or you can post an anonymous comment to the blog. I will have no idea who your are. At the very least add a post that says something like “Thank you Geoff from an anonymous person in pharma who has found Open Babel useful”. That sort of message is highly motivational.

Density and mystery

Carsten Niehaus (of the Blue Obelisk) has posed a puzzle – it must be catching. It’s about finding the ordering of density of three liquids with only two weightings. I don’t know whether there is an answer… I suecpt the question isn’t well defined.

But it reminded me of when I used to meaure the density of crystals – such as the mystery molecule (I hope you know what the answer is now – maybe I’ll give some hints below)…

So how do you measure the density of a crystal almost smaller than you can see? You can’t weigh it and measure the volume… You do it by flotation. Just find two liquids of different densities – say chloroform and hexane. Chloroform is denser than hexane. Assume the crystal has a density somewhere in between. Mix the liquids and drop the crystal in. Does it float? If so, add some more hexane until it neither floats nor sinks. Then find the density of the liquid by measuring some liquid and weighing it. The density of the liquid is the same as the density of the crystal.

Why should we do that? Well the density is an intrinsic property – it is the same throughout the crystal. So even if we chop it into chunks with a few atoms the density is the same. So if you know the size of the unit cell (amd hence the volume) – from X-ray crystallography – you can find the mass of the unit cell. That’s a simple integer multiple of the molecular weight – that’s how I determined it was “about 250″.

I mentioned the problem to my colleague Jonathan Goodman and he knew in 3 seconds..

The answer is actually contained in the post Mystery Molecule – more clues… just inspect it very carefully.

I’m feeling generous – Here’s an important part of the mass spec of the molecule. It might give some hints. (The x-axis is hamburgered – but no worse than some of the supplemental data that gets deposited.)

massspec.PNG

Digital Curation 2006 in Glasgow – II

I’ve just got back from the meeting and will try to summarize some key points. It was an excellent meeting and I never got round to blogging it real-time, so some of this will be fragmented.

A lot of deja vu from Open Scholarship – another reception in the Hunterian Art Gallery and many overlapping membership. Filthy waether – although I lived in Scotland for 15 years I don’t think I’ve ever seen as dawn a dawn as yesterday – huge black clouds off the Clyde. However Glasgow is clearly a city that believes in itself – a very charming welcome from the Provost in the City Chambers. One very encouraging point – she made it clear that Glasgow positively welcomed asylum seekers – most Glaswegians could trace their ancestry back to immigrants.

Nice to see the conference had a blog. However – see below – I couldn’t get access and so couldn’t contribute. I’ll add some things later (or link to this blog).

Now… two points for all conference organizers but specifically for those in scholarship/eDocuments/eScience, etc. etc.

  • Please can we have wireless Internet?  This has been a problem in several recent meeting I have been to. More than one presenter wanted to be able to show live demos (I particularly wanted to see Multivalent which seems to be some tool which can translate bitstreams into semantics – obviously you have to do some work).
  • Why do the organizers mandate Powerpoint? Especially at a Digital Curation Conference? Normally I override this by taking my laptop. This doesn’t take extra time if it’s prepared beforehand. But I was in a 5-minute session and it wasn’t really fair to try to use HTML (what’s HTML?). So I leave you with my first Powerpoint slide (a pretty good hamburger):ppt1.png
  • I don’t understand it and the poor repository robots won’t either. So why are we curating this?

The next few posts will be sporadic. For those who don’t know England and Australia are playing for the Ashes. Cricket (yes, that’s what it is about) is sometimes a good background when nothing much is happening. However England have got off to a terrible start and it’s affected my concentration. So more tomorrow.