The CRIG is promoting interoperability of repositories with other services during a roadshow in the summer of 2008. It will be doing this by setting up a “Developer Lounge” where people will be encouraged to stop by and pitch their innovative technology ideas. The primary motive of this Roadshow is to interface repositories with other *non-repository* services for the purpose of finding out how repositories can better integrate in the current scholarly landscape.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

In Washington DC for the RepoCamp!

We've arrive in Washington DC for RepoCamp, but first a meeting with Richard Rodgers (MIT), Brad McLean (DSpace), Ben O'Steen (Oxford) and Dave Tarrant (Southampton) to talk about a framework for a common storage for Repositories (ePrints, DSpace and Fedora).

Shout out to Tim - CRIGian extraordinaire!

This is a shout out to Tim, an absolute rock-star of a CRIGian!  Plans for the US CRIG Chapter coming soon!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Protoype: Providing Overviews of Research Papers

I really liked this protoype as it crossed the eLearning and eResearch boundary, by providing a systematic overview of how a Research paper is written.  Think timlapse of how a research paper is written from inception (versions), and then add the ancillary information like twitters and blog posts that feed into the creation of the research paper.

What is a Developer Lounge?

I've had a couple people ask me 'what is a developer lounge', other than my explanation here I thought I would post a sample of the kind of discussion that occures throughout the day. As an event at the conference it is nothing else other than a room where developers will come to sit down and do what they do on a day to day basis (email, surf, code, etc); the only difference is that every now and again they break out into spontaneous discussion.

The key really, is having a place where the developer can feel free to talk tech: a space for active discussion (not presentation). The average lounge experiences ebbs and tides of developers coming in and out and discussing everything from their local systems to the latest geek toy.

It is these kinds of open events that allow developers to not only learn what others dveloper are doing, but to also ask questions that they would never ask in front of their peers if it was a presentation that was being given.

On the whole it is a far better method of information dissimination for the engineering community. Furthermore, as more and more of the conference proceedings are recorded, streamed, blogged, posted, etc; it almost makes going to the event redundant because you can wait for people to tell you which presentation were good and then you can go back and watch them after the conference. Meanwhile you can be networking and having syncronous conversation with your peers, whcih is surely what conference were originally about in the first place.

Protoype: Utilising the Cloud for an Academic Video Conversion and Storage Service

An interesting idea around providing a video service specific to Academia that would in the first instance handle video conversion to multiple formats and then set up the cloud storage services (in this case EC2 and S3) for other institutions.

Protoype: Minamalist Search Interface

The EduWeb Awards had the University of Chicago as the winning web site (CMS).  It was aclaimed for its minamalistic design, but we thought it could even take it a step further by utilising the Google minamalist search approach. 

We also thought it might be worth looking into Google SiteMaps to provide a common way of presenting University web sites to the user which could be optimised via the kinds of searches that took place on the local search engine.

Point being that better search facilities (analytics) should be put into the institutional search engine so as to guaratee that the user is getting back what they want. 

CMS and Repository Should Join Forces!

We discovered a very real need by both the CMS and Repository community for not repeating ourselves in trying to get the same information into both systems.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Client Appreciation Party

We sure didn't mind getting invited to the Blackboard Appreciation Party!  I think we were all gobsmaecked to see such lavishness for an Educators party?  If only our users could see us now... Though there is something to be said for showing appreciation to the people who use your system (given the expense of Bb), what are we in the repository community doing to show appreciation to our system developers and all the work they put in?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Summar of eLearning Community Observances

Some thoughts on the eLearning Community and how to interface with their systems.

Summary of eScience Community Interfacing

Some of our observations having spent time at an eScience conference.

At BbWorld Conference (Blackboard VLE System)

We spent the day in the main exhibit hall talking with people about their problems and innovative ideas.  Many of the problems seemed to be small technical glitches, and most of the innovative ideas were people trying to sell you something.  Yet, with 2000+ people at this conference you can't help but wonder if the business model that Bb is using isn't a successful one?  It is hard to imagine how repositories could integrate themselves into VLE/LMS unless they had a large both to sell their product at this kind of venue?  The problem seems to be more around the business model interoperability rather than the technical interoperability?

CrigShow in Venice?

St. Mark's Square without the pigeons!  And the Venice canals clean?  Hey wait a second...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Prototype: Motion Analysis to Detect Images in Scanned Pages

Building on from the scanned documents as complex objects prototype, this prototype goes on to suggest how distinct items within scanned pages can be machine recognised using a technique for finding frequency of action in video.

Prototype: Extracting and Finding Algorithms from Research Papers

In being at this conference we've discovered that algorithms seem to be the lingua franca for networking the multiple disciplines.  In this prototype we explore the possibility of creating a search service for algorithms so as to locate them within research papers.  We also discussed the possiblity of being able to create links between algorithms based on other algorthms within research papers.  Looking at Google Code Search seems to be a good model to follow for this search engine.  

Maybe we shouldn't be using the term "Repository" to describe ourselves?

In trying to explain what we do to a group of computer scientists, we've discovered that the word 'repository' is not a helpful word.  'Repository' is really seen as a place that holds code, (subversion, mercurial[Hg], git, .rpm/.deb repos, etc).  The same with talking about the word 'data' with them which is really seen as 'data' within 'database'.  However, what they do understand is 'resource', and specifically in regards to 'what they consume and produce in their daily scholarly routine'.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Real Documents are Complex Objects: OCRing Made Simple

Tim showing how real rapid prototyping is done!

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A summary of one of the keynotes from WorldComp'08

Parellel processing (how it affects repositories)

Try One Today!

URL's as Currency and the Four Rules of the Web

Students use URL's as currency, they pass them around accordingly...

 Four rules of the web:

1.) every object should have a URI

2.) those identifiers should be URIs

3.) when you do a get you should provide info on URI

4.) you should apply links to other URIs from this URI

Round-up from OSCELOT conference

Thoughts at the end of the day after a day with the OSCELOT community.

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You would think with two domains like eResearch and eLearning that the two would actually be aware of what the other is doing? Not the case. As the eLearning community attempts to create search and indexing tools for their resources (learning objects and user profiles), the eResearch community is looking around for interfacing scholarly tools (lab notebook, portfolio, gradebook, etc). Never the twain shall meet... but wait: scholarly tools can push out resources and we can consume resources? Is there hope? We had some interesting conversation with Blackboard people regarding their architecture and utilising RDF in their course and user hierachy tree (RDFa/Microformats). How do we break down the barrier of domains so our developers will get together and interface their apps?

The meaning of the CRIG logo

I often get asked what the CRIG logo means, well one among many meanings is that we have to go to the web, and going to the web means using ubiquitous web standards (not the so "called" standard body approved ones, but the bleeding obvious ones!); the kind you find on the first search page of Google.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Day 1 (15 Hours Awake): Arrived at Hotel

Dave and Ben are already going to beat me and my little web camera up!  I don't blame them really.

We'll win back all the money on the craps table!

We (Ben, Dave and myself, soon to be joined by Tim) have made it to Vegas for #crigshow (CRIG Roadshow); where we hope to be entertaining you all (and maybe learning a thing or two about interfacing repositories with other systems). I've devided to bring along the little videoblog cam to annoy Ben, Dave and Tim with as we go. Hopefully some moments of brilliance, but most likely moments of silliness (due to lack of sleep and jetlag), as is the first post after being awake for +17 hours plus.

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Ten hours on a flight and I've lost the ability to control my inner monologue!