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Archive for October, 2006

WorldCat Permalinks

Posted in Uncategorized on October 31st, 2006 by darcusb – Comments Off

Echoing earlier discussion, Stu Weibel on WorldCat and their quite useful URIs. As he concludes:

The library community benefits from a public, globally-scoped identifier such as WorldCat provides for the first time. It should be the identifier of first choice in library systems.

I’d add that they can be really useful for citation purposes too; better than ISBNs in fact.

System-Level Citation Services

Posted in Uncategorized on October 23rd, 2006 by darcusb – Comments Off

Been talking with Alf Eaton (now at Nature) and Thomas Zander (of KWord) about what it would take to make it easy for different bibliographic applications to plug-in to word-processors: OOo, KWord, AbiWord, Google Docs, etc. Thomas put up a couple of use cases to help think this through.

I think it’s clear we’d need:

  1. standard citation IDs; URIs
  2. standard in-document citation fields, which hold URIs + local parameters
  3. some kind of system service or API

An idea that emerged from this discussion is a system-level bot that could take a list of URIs from a client, and then return the formatted strings and/or raw metadata. This bot would first look in a local database, and if the items were not present, could then go out on the net and find the relevant metadata.

I think still to be settled is how to allow a tighter coupling of editor and service (for example, to be able to browse citations from within the editor), and the precise technology to make this all happen. It would be nice to see a generic mechanism for this, though, so that when need applications like Zotero come on the scene, they can instantly plug-in to this infrastructure.

OpenID and Identity

Posted in Uncategorized on October 20th, 2006 by darcusb – Comments Off

Norm on something I’ve been thinking about for awhile: using OpenID for identity and authentication. Could be a really nice way to tie together distributed data and services, say for scholars.

more on OpenID and the semantic web

Desktop URIs

Posted in General on October 18th, 2006 by darcusb – Comments Off

Discussion of approaches to dealing with URIs for local files, which is related to this by Norm Walsh. A commenter mentions Magnet-URIs.

Mozilla 2.0

Posted in Uncategorized on October 16th, 2006 by darcusb – Comments Off

An update on plans for Mozilla 2.0, including this:

For instance, we can get rid of RDF, which seems to be the main source of “Mozilla ugliness”

I agree with the point that it ought to be possible to do without using RDF (or XML) for configuration files. OTOH, I can’t help but think there’s an opportunity to improve the RDF support in Mozilla on top of the new unified storage system built on top of SQLite. Indeed, others have pointed this out. Mozilla’s RDF support is ugly, then, not per se that RDF can’t be done much cleaner, with real benefits to users and developers of more data oriented extensions.

For example, I’m not really sure there’s any reason that Zotero must have been built on the raw SQLite, and couldn’t have instead benefited from an RDF abstraction on top.

Hating Library Standards

Posted in Uncategorized on October 14th, 2006 by darcusb – Comments Off

Dorothea with a take-no-prisoners rant on library standards, and OpenURL in particular. She does a good job explaining some of the reasons why I strongly resisted using OpenURL as the basis of the hCite microformat work.

Metadata SC Use Cases and Requirements Approved

Posted in Uncategorized on October 13th, 2006 by darcusb – Comments Off

ODF TC chair Michael Brauer has a quick summary of the approval of the ODF metadata use cases and requirements document I edited that will frame the proposal we will deliver sometime in the next few months. As he writes:

It will be the basis for the future work of the metadata subcommittee, and therefore provides an outlook in which direction OpenDocument moves regarding metadata. And because OpenDocument is OpenOffice.org’s native and default file format, I’m sure it also provides an outlook in which direction OpenOffice.org may move.

Open XML Final Draft

Posted in Uncategorized on October 10th, 2006 by darcusb – Comments Off

Microsoft has released the final draft of their Open XML file format specification. I submitted a detailed list of comments to ECMA, and they did respond to them. However, it’s worth noting that they made no substantive changes at all. The most serious problem is that their name model is still U.S./Western-centric. They tried to get around the problem by adding a small editorial comment that a first name is a equivalent to a given name, a last to a family, but I hardly consider this an adequate response. Their continued use of “middle” name is even more annoying, given that it doesn’t even work for many Western names; consider “J. Edgar Hoover.”

I give Microsoft credit for opening up, but make no mistake: Open XML is really not that open. It is designed by and for Microsoft, and it’s clear that all decisions on the spec were driven by their product teams. The team implementing their new bibliographic support couldn’t be bothered to make what in effect were trivial changes, and so the ECMA TC45 couldn’t be bothered to fix the spec.

Contrast this with the OpenDocument process, where the people now driving the future of the specification are in many cases unaffiliated with any of the usual players: IBM, Sun, KOffice. Moreover, all our comments and responses to them are publicly available.

Nice Commenting UI

Posted in Uncategorized on October 9th, 2006 by darcusb – Comments Off

This is a fantastically cool and elegant way to add comments to content within a weblog post. Would be perfect bolted onto a scholarly-oriented CMS as a way to get comments from people on in-progress work.

XSLT 1.0 + EXSLT

Posted in Uncategorized on October 9th, 2006 by darcusb – Comments Off

If I (or, ahem, preferably someone else) was going to port my XSLT 2.0 version of CiteProc to 1.0, this is a hint of how to do it. So like the current version, use custom functions to do the heavy-lifting, and keep the templates as clean as possible. It’s really not possible to do without support for EXSLT though.