I watched the State of the Word address by Matt. There are some very exciting things happening with WordPress. It is always interesting to think that WordPress and FaceBook are almost the same age, they have both had a significant effect on the internet landscape.
In his State of the Word Speech, Matt mentioned that plugins which have not been updated in two years will be removed from the search results on WordPress.org/extend. My question is:
Why choose two years? Why not choose votes of “it doesn’t work” for the past two full points on the development cycle?
So if WordPress 3.2 is the newest release of WordPress, then all plugins which are not voted to have worked on at leasts 3.0 and above would get removed from the search results. With just 2 points on the development cycle it would probably be less time than two years. So, what Matt is proposing is probably a more lenient strategy. By my question is not about what time depth but rather why time depth. Why choose time depth rather than the dynamic that an audience says something is working with the current version of WordPress?
I have been looking at the WP Theme, MiniCard. It is really cool. The design follows a Tim van Damme style layout.
Tim van Damme's Famous business card layout
I have been playing around with Minicard for some time. I have used it as my splash page for about a year. (I have been using K2 since 2005 so any change in theme is a big step). There are some things I really like and some things I think could be improved upon. (Granted I am using and looking at the free version.) I really like the minimalist business card design. However, one of the things that I find difficult is separating what is too much info from what is just enough. Right now I have quite a few social networks loaded on my front page so, even though it is Minimalist, it is almost not business card.
TheJourneyler.org as I had from 2010-2011
Most of my suggestions have to do with the options page, but a few have to do with layout.
A place to store a Child Theme.
K2 has a really cool way of selecting where the author wants to store their child theme so that when the theme is upgraded the child theme is not written over. Because the Code is GPL’d, I think this code could be copied from K2 into the GPL’d version of MiniCard. Being that the whole Tim Van Damme (TVD) idea is to be unique with style, it seems that Minicard would benefit from embracing child themes by providing a user the option to not just use a child theme, but also facilitate where to store that child theme.
It seems that it would be really easy for users of MiniCard to use more or some Social networks which are not on the list provided on the options page. I think it is crazy for any user to expect a developer to have anticipated all the possible social networks out there. I went through TVD’s wall of fame just to get some inspiration and noticed a few networks that minicard does not offer out of the box:
In one of the past revisions to the Minicard theme there was released, an easy way to add a custom social network. This is much improved over earlier versions of this theme. (I think this is still the case in the current 2011 release.)
A Contact Info page separate from my social networks page.
One thing that might be helpful too is separating Messaging and Contact from social networks. “Messaging and Contact info” is usually treated differently from “social networks”. That is social network info like skype, aol, google chat, IRC, etc. are not really conceptualized in the minds of the people on the TVD wall of fame as “social networks”. If this information is provided then it most often falls under the “contact” section rather than “my social networks” section. Out of the box MiniCard does not have a contact section, so I can understand how this info is lumped together with the users social networks.
Perhaps one solution to this is add an optional (included in the theme by default but not active by default) template page that could be added to MiniCard for contact info and pull data from the hCard data as well.
Interesting enough Themeforest had a theme much like MiniCard.
MiniCard like Theme displaying Contact info
Add direct color and background pattern.
There are more color options “out of the Box” on the pro version of the theme. However, the color options are not as user selectable as they could be. I have seen color wheels and a palates for suggesting associated colors as option panels for selecting css values. A color selector for the background, and the various parts of the theme would be nice.
More hCard options:
MiniCard does support hCard, but as I was looking over the format of hCard I think that more can be embedded in hCard content than what MiniCard allows for out of the box. That is I think that MiniCard could be improved with more fields in the admin section for the site admin to input their data. There is an hCard creator on the Microformats website. It shows the supported values in the hCard speck.
The company I work for has an archive for many kinds of materials. In recent times this company has moved to start a digital repository using DSpace. To facilitate contributions to the repository the company has built an Adobe AIR app which allows for the uploading of metadata to the metadata elements of DSpace as well as the attachement of the digital item to the proper bitstream. Totally Awesome.
However, one of the challenges is that just because the metadata is curated, collected and properly filed, it does not mean that the metadata is embedded in the digital items uploaded to the repository. PDFs are still being uploaded with the PDF’s author attribute set to Microsoft-WordMore about the metadata attributes of PDF/A can be read about on pdfa.org. Not only is the correct metadata and the wrong metadata in the same place at the same time (and being uploaded at the same time) later, when a consumer of the digital file downloads the file, only the wrong metadata will travel with the file. This is not just happening with PDFs but also with .mp3, .wav, .docx, .mov, .jpg and a slew of other file types. This saga of bad metadata in PDFs has been recognized since at least 2004 by James Howison & Abby Goodrum. 2004. Why can’t I manage academic papers like MP3s? The evolution and intent of Metadata standards.
So, today I was looking around to see if Adobe AIR can indeed use some of the available tools to propagate the correct metadata in the files before upload so that when the files arrive in DSpace that they will have the correct metadata.
The first step is to retrieve metadata from files. It seems that Adobe AIR can do this with PDFs. (One would hope so as they are both brain children of the geeks at Adobe.) However, what is needed in this particular set up is a two way street with a check in between. We would need to overwrite what was there with the data we want there.
Even if the Resource and Metadata Packager has the abilities to embed the metadata in the files themselves, it does not mean that the submitters would know about how to use them or why to use them. This is not, however, a valid reason to not include functionality in a development project. All marketing aside, an archive does have a responsibility to consumers of the digital content, that the content will be functional. Part of today’s “functional” is the interoperability of metadata. Consumers do appreciate – even expect – that the metadata will be interoperable. The extra effort taken on the submitting end of the process, pays dividends as consumers use the files with programs like Picasa, iPhoto, PhotoShop, iTunes, Mendeley, Papers, etc.
Another thought that comes to mind is that When one is dealing with large files (over 1 GB) It occurs to me that there is a reason for making a “preview” version of a couple of MB. That is if I have a 2 GB audio file, why not make 4 MB .mp3 file for rapid assessment of the file to see if it is worth downloading the .wav file. It seems that a metadata packager could also create a presentation file on the fly too. This is no-less true with photos or images. If a command-line tool could be used like imagemagick, that would be awesome.
This problem has been addressed in the open source library science world. In fact a nice piece of software does live out there. It is called the Metadata Extraction Tool. It is not an end-all for all of this archive’s needs but it is a solution for some needs of this type.
I was recently looking at licenses for databases and discovered the ODbL license. This license was pioneered by the OpenStreetMap Project. I was reading their introduction to why the change was needed. This introduction outlined what the change was, what the change would allow them to do, who agreed, who disagreed, what the cost of the change would be, among other things. I thought it was a very open, engaging and confidence building way to move a group of volunteers through change. It allows for more kinds (also different kinds) of product use. It is well worth the look at not only if you are interested in the open licensing of data in databases and why CC-BY-SA and CC0 licenses do not work for data [also as PDF], but also how they are answering the questions of the community as they are moving the community through change.
This post is a open draft! It might be updated at any time… But was last updated on at .
Meta-data is not just for Archives
Bringing the usefulness of meta-data to the language project workflow
It has recently come to my attention that there is a challenge when considering the need for a network accessible file management solution during a language documentation project. This comes with my first introduction to linguistic field experience and my first field setting for a language documentation project.The project I was involved with was documenting 4 Languages in the same language family. The Location was in Mexico. We had high-speed Internet, and a Local Area Network. Stable electric (more than not). The heart of the language communities were a 2-3 hour drive from where we were staying, so we could make trips to different villages in the language community, and there were language consultants coming to us from various villages. Those consultants who came to us were computer literate and were capable of writing in their language. The methods of the documentation project was motivated along the lines of: “we want to know ‘xyz’ so we can write a paper about ‘xyz’ so lets elicit things about ‘xyz'”. In a sense, the project was product oriented rather than (anthropological) framework oriented. We had a recording booth. Our consultants could log into a Google-doc and fill out a paradigm, we could run the list of words given to us through the Google-doc to a word processor and create a list to be recorded. Give that list to the recording technician and then produce a recorded list. Our consultants could also create a story, and often did and then we would help them to revise it and record it. We had Geo-Social data from the Mexican government census. We had Geo-spacial data from our own GPS units. During the corse of the project massive amounts of data were created in a wide variety of formats. Additionally, in the case of this project language description is happening concurrently with language documentation. The result is that additional data is desired and generated. That is, language documentation and language description feed each other in a symbiotic relationship. Description helps us understand why this language is so important to document and which data to get, documenting it gives us the data for doing analysis to describe the language. The challenge has been how do we organize the data in meaningful and useful ways for current work and future work (archiving)?People are evidently doing it, all over the world… maybe I just need to know how they are doing it. In our project there were two opposing needs for the data:
Data organization for archiving.
Data organization for current use in analysis and evaluation of what else to document.It could be argued that a well planned corpus would eliminate, or reduce the need for flexibility to decide what else there is to document. This line of thought does have its merits. But flexibility is needed by those people who do not try to implement detailed plans.
I am looking to re-skin Wikindex. I thought that I would add some CSS classes that would embed the meta-data in a manner that the citations could be picked up by Zotero quite easily. It seems to be a bit more difficult than I first anticipated. As a Microformat for citations is not yet been fully fleshed out. Obviously one way to go would be to embed everything in a span element as COinS does but that is not really what I am looking for. (Mostly because I don’t have a way to generate the Attributes in the span element automatically.) I have thought of using RDFa. But I still need to do some more research and see what can be gleaned in terms of which controlled vocabularies to use. I am hoping that this Lesson On RDFa will really help me out here. Finally I do need to know something about OAI so that once the Resources are put into Wikindex I can then tell OLAC what language they belong to.
In the past week have been confronted with several issues related to project planning, task & time management and project execution. Just defining the “deliverables” has been a real challenge. Given that the workforce of the company I work for is largely constituted of people who consider themselves to be volunteers, it makes for an interesting work environment. I naturally gravitate towards planning for tactical success and wanting to view things from the “big picture” perspective – knowing how the parts fit together. Project planning and project execution involves a lot of decision making and a lot of communicating about decisions.
Over the last year I have been watching with some interest the UI development of WordPress. UI design is an area that I really enjoy. So when I saw Jane presenting on this issue of “How decisions get made at WordPress” (on the Open Source part of the project), I thought I would watch it. I thought that I would be watching how a company does UI decision making. But the focus of the talk was broader than that. It was generally good to see a model at work in a company where there is a successful product. As I listened to the discussion I was struck at how their project deals with:
In many respects the company I work with deals with these same issues. It was good to see how another company/project deals with these issues, and sees these kinds of issues as important to the success of their product.
One of the projects I have been involved with published a paper this week in JIPA. It is a first for me; being published. Being the thoughtful person I am, I was considering how this paper will be categorized by librarians. For the most part papers themselves are not catalogued. Rather journals are catalogued. In a sense this is reasonable considering all the additional meta-data librarians would have to create in their meta-data tracking systems. However, in today’s world of computer catalogues it is really a shame that a user can’t go to a library catalogue and say what resources are related to German [deu]? As a language and linguistics researcher I would like to quickly reference all the titles in a library or collection which reference a particular language. The use of the ISO 639-3 standard can and does help with this. OLAC also tires to help with this resource location problem by aggregating the tagged contents of participating libraries. But in our case the paper makes reference to over 15 languages via ISO 639-3 codes. So our paper should have at least those 15 codes in its meta-data entry. Furthermore, there is no way for independent researchers to list their resource in the OLAC aggregation of resources. That is, I can not go to the OLAC website and add my citation and connect it to a particular language code.
There is one more twist which I noticed today too. One of the ISO codes is already out of date. This could be conceived of as a publication error. But even if the ISO had made its change after our paper was published then this issue would still be persistent.
During the course of the research and publication process of our paper, change request 2009-78 was accepted by the ISO 639-3 Registrar. This is actually a good thing. (I really am pro ISO 639-3.)
Basically, Buhi’non Bikol is now considered a distinct language and has been assigned the code [ubl]. It was formerly considered to be a variety of Albay Bicolano [bhk]. As a result of this change [bhk] has now been retired.
Here is where we use the old code, on page 208 we say:
voiced velar fricative [ɣ]
Aklanon [AKL] (Scheerer 1920, Ryder 1940, de la Cruz & Zorc 1968, Payne 1978, Zorc 1995) (Zorc 1995: 344 considers the sound a velar approximant)
Buhi’non [BHK] (McFarland 1974)
In reality McFarland did not reference the ISO code in 1974. (ISO 639-3 didn’t exist yet!) So the persistent information is that it was the language Buhi’non. I am not so concerned with errata or getting the publication to be corrected. What I want is for people to be able to find this resource when they are looking for it. (And that includes searches which are looking for a resource based on the languages which that resource references.)
The bottom line is that the ISO does change. And when it does change we can start referencing our new publications and data to the current codes. But there are going to be thousands of libraries out there with out-dated language codes referencing older publications. A librarian’s perspective might say that they need to add both the old and the new codes to the card catalogues. This is probably the best way to go about this. But who will notice that the catalogues need to be updated with the new codes? What this change makes me think is that there needs to be an Open Source vehicle where linguists and language researchers can give their knowledge about a language resources a community. Then librarians can pull that meta-data from that community. The community needs to be able to vet the meta-data so that the librarians feel like it is credible meta-data. In this way the quality and relevance of Meta-data can always be improved upon.
My wife has been tasked to be the Professional Development Coordinator for the company at which we work. Her task has several interesting things about in the area of data tracking. One question needing to be asked is: “what are the experiences and skills of our current employees?” This suggests that a databases with cross sections of professionally related events, people and skills is needed. These data then need to be able to be viewed by various stakeholders so that the data can be read and analyzed and understood; eventually to be acted upon and incorporated into company strategies for doing business.
One of the things that is obvious from the start is that a web based collection system is need for the data. A storage solution is also called for. And finally an web based analysis tool for presenting the data in a variety of manners for final use is needed.
So in an effort to help my wife out I have been looking a OpenSource implementations of Resume databases and CV building Databases. It has been my experience that when it comes to IT solutions that people need unique implementations and have unique criteria to meet but do not have unique problems. I think I even found a service that provides some professional development tracking called Onefile. But for our company it makes sense to approach this problem with an eye to integrate it with other corporate IT infrastructure, rather than silo it as an outsourced the system.
Summaries of Goals
This effort to take a strategic look a professional development of employees is part of an effort to look holistically at the corporation’s pool of human talent. The motivation is to be able to strategically deploy our skills in a manner where there is the largest return on investment. It is also important for us to be able to present our talented people and the products of their efforts to the world; both for credibility and for marketing.
Difficulties in the business world
There are quite a few legal challenges for companies (working in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere) retaining these kinds of records, let alone sharing them with business partners.
Social networks are notorious for being able (if they are successful networks) pull information from users easily.
http://www.xoops.org/ This is an open source social network which looks interesting but I am not sure how much momentum is behind it.
4.5 out of 5
This social network looks really cool and targets the e-portfolio
The situation though is that everything that goes into a resume or a CV after biographical information is an event in which the person was involved, a skill they have or a resource they have helped to create. So if we could automatically pull information from the events and resources and then organize them according to Who then we would almost be there. (I am not sure how our company is tracking these kinds of information. It is most likely in a MS Word document.)
Events have several attributes one of those is time.
This is course management software: with calendars and DHTML in Video.
So How do we pull data from the container which holds our resources?
Well the container holding our resources is DSpace.
But these options work with wordpress….
I have usually shunned JAVA in favor of PHP. But as I am looking at some apache projects I might have to install Tomcat on my server to take a look as some of these things… they are looking pretty cool.