Tuesday, 17 February 2009
Repository as Blog?
As ever, it's the people who are closest in proximity to you that get to talk to you the least.
Simon Coles, an chemistry researcher with his own EPrints development team works in an adjacent building to me, and today I managed to have a technical discussion with him and his team for the first time in about a year!
Simon does a lot of really interesting innovation in the area of the scientific information environment, and he runs a national scientific information service which gives him a really pragmatic attitude to what actually works in practice and what is simply a good idea. He runs the eCrystals data repository that shares scientific metadata and data on crystallography experiments.
One of his team's recent developments has been the scientific data blog - the use of blogging software to act as a laboratory notebook, describing experimental procedure with attached data files. As he described the ideas, and their implementation as a piece of blogging software, it occurred to me that a repository could appropriately provide this kind of service, after all, a daily posting of text and data files sounds very like an eprint consisting of an extended abstract with uploaded documents.
Of course, "To a man with a repository, everything looks like a deposit", but which sounds most likely? A blog environment that curates scientific data files? Or a data and document curation environment that provides a blog style-interface?
What you'd need to add to a repository (apart from some bespoke deposit interfaces) is the ability to create the document that you are going to deposit within the workflow itself. In the page where you are invited to upload a document, you should also have a Rich Text Editor (like blogger) so that you can type the document in.
That's a project for another day. After a truly exhausting time at #dev8D my repository developers need to charge their batteries :-)