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Archive for March, 2005

Ruby ZOOM Binding

Posted in Uncategorized on March 22nd, 2005 by darcusb – Comments Off

Laurent Sansonetti has released a Ruby binding for the ZOOM API.

Rails Gets Ajax

Posted in General on March 22nd, 2005 by darcusb – Comments Off

What happens when you take the most-hyped new web framework and add the most-hyped new web development technique? Rails v.0.11.0. From the Rails weblog:

With the inclusion of Ajax helpers in Rails 0.11.0, we’ve addressed the most important concern holding back large scale Ajax use: Writing DHTML by hand. Manipulating the DOM by hand is a labor-intensive and error-prone process rife with frustration and cross-browser compatibility. With the Ajax support in Rails, writing manual Javascript/DHTML is (almost) a thing of the past.

New Bibutils Libraries

Posted in Uncategorized on March 21st, 2005 by darcusb – Comments Off

Chris Putnam has issued version v3.15 of his suite of bibliographic conversion utilities, which has the distintion of being the first version that has its code broken into libraries.

Now we just need bindings for Python/Ruby/PHP/Perl, which I understand a few people are working on.

Distributed Scholars

Posted in Uncategorized on March 6th, 2005 by darcusb – Comments Off

A variety of projects are working on bringing innovations in contemporary internet technologies to students and scholars. Google Scholars aims to bring the Google experience to searching academic content such as journal articles. This sort of elegant federated search is desperately needed in a context where scholars generally have to go to a variety of individuals portals, each with their own UI eccentricities. We’re still living in an information jungle, and I wish journal content providers would get with the 21st century.

One group of projects are working on making it easy to quickly mark and annotate web-based bibliographic material and later retrieve it. This is basically the del.icio.us model for bibliographic data.

For this model to be really useful, however, the metadata needs to be much richer than the typical content associated with weblog posts. It needs to be “citation-ready”; rich enough, that is, that it can be incorporated into citation-management workflows.

It’s for this reason that it is encouraging to read that both unalog and CiteULike are looking into richer metadata support; likely based around MODS.

It’s not enough, however, to just capture rich metadata; we need to get it moving around. Feed readers, bibliographic databases, web applications like CiteULike and unalog, and word processors need to be a part of a seamless information environment.

So what if various projects not only passed around rich metadata like MODS, but could also talk to each other in a common language? This is where SRU has a lot of promise.

LinkBack Project

Posted in Uncategorized on March 5th, 2005 by darcusb – 1 Comment

I just ran across mention of a new Mac project called LinkBack, which seems to be an effort by developers like Nisus and Omnigroup to provide something like OLE in Cocoa. I sent roughly the following to the contact address:

Instead of repeating the same thing we saw 15 years ago, why not solve the real problem: data interoperability?

XML is an excellent tool to do this, and should be at heart of Linkback.

As a user, I really don’t want to be dependent on other applications to edit embedded data. I want that data to be open.

Omni has done some fantastic things with XML and integrated XSLT processing in OmniOutliner 3 (something which they ought to better promote). This is exactly the sort of approach that needs to be globalized throughout the OS.

So here’s a use case that LinkBack (or better yet, Apple) should enable:

I start writing in OO, dropping in citations as I go. These citations get automatically rendered with a system-level service.

I then open the document in Nisus Writer, with ALL of the logic intact. If I want to change citation styles, I should be able to do this with a flick of a switch, and without modifying any document source. Because citations are richly encoded in XML, this is easy.

… and so on.

Browserless Weblog Application

Posted in Uncategorized on March 4th, 2005 by darcusb – Comments Off

Scratch is a new weblog application based on Ruby on Rails, and its new web services support. What sets the application apart from other weblog applications is that it uses no HTML; it’s designed to be read only via feed readers.

Interesting. Maybe something like this could be hooked up for bibliographic data? Chris Karr—author of the Mac OS X applications Book—is now looking at something more ambitious, and cross-platform, using Ruby as an engine. Perhaps Scratch is a good model?