Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Appointed to Canadian National Committee for CODATA

I am happy to announce that I have just been appointed to the Canadian National Committee for CODATA, which is an ICSU committee. I have been an observer on this committee since 1999, and look forward to continuing my work with this committee. :-)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Gmail discards and the law

Recently I was composing an email in gmail and - like I sometimes do - decided to press the discard button and not send the email. But not before gmail indicated that it had saved my message. After I discarded the email, I checked my "Drafts" to see if it showed up there. No, as I expected. But where do they go? Anywhere? Are they in some kind of Google never-never land?

And more important: are they retrievable when someone comes to Google with a court order for someone's emails? Are they stored but Google doesn't release them because technically they are not email? Might they be of value, perhaps revealing information someone had decided was too hot to send in an email?

These things are not clear from gmail's Privacy Policy Notice and Google's broader Privacy Policy.

And no, I wasn't concerned about any of my own discarded emails. :-)

Open Source Education Resource (OER) Books and Resources

Two books have recently been published on open source technology for education:
These new releases both deal with Open Educational Resources (OER). For more in OER, see the Resources list below. The tables of contents of these two books are farther below.


Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning
Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Change Pressures and Trends
  • What we know about learning
  • Technology, Teaching, and Learning
  • Media and technology
  • Change cycles and future patterns
  • New Learners? New Educators? New Skills
  • Tools
  • Research
  • Conclusion
Open Educational Resources: Conversations in Cyberspace
Table of Contents
  • Foreword/ Nicholas Burnett
  • Introduction/ Susan D’Antoni
    • 1. Open Educational Resources: an introductory note/ Sally Johnstone
    • 2. Providing OER and related issues: an introductory note/ Anne Margulies, Richard Baraniuk, Candace Thille, David Wiley
    • 3. Using OER and related issues: an introductory note/ Mohammed-Nabil Sabry, Peter Bateman, Pedro Aranzadi, Derrick Tate
    • 4. Discussion highlights/ Paul Albright
    • 5. A research agenda for OER: discussion highlights/ Kim Tucker and Peter Bateman
    • 6. A 'Do-It-Yourself' resource for OER: discussion highlights/ Boris Vukovic
    • 7. Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and OER: Part I - An introductory note/ Boris Vukovic with Claude Martin
    • Part 2 - Discussion highlights/ Boris Vukovic
    • 8. Mapping producers and users/ Jan Hylén
    • 9. Why individuals and institutions share and use OER/ Jan Hylén
    • 10. Discussion highlights/ Alexa Joyce
    • 11. Open Educational Resources: the way forward/ Susan D'Antoni

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Research publisher as a platform

As yet another newspaper "gets it" and launches an API ("Open Platform") to its content ("Newspaper as a Platform: Guardian Launches API" - ReadWriteWeb), leveraging the creativity of the masses for the creation of mashups, mixins and just plain wonderful and wonky applications, I can only hope that the holders of significant scientific content, like scientific publishers and aggregators, will also move in this direction. Nature's OTMI seems a rather Web 1.0 inspired effort, and with limited usability at that (although Nature has stopped working on OTMI). Exposing research article contents (full text, metadata, citations, datasets, ontologies, etc) - even it be 6+ months old - to the world through a sensible (and maybe even shared/standard) API would create an explosion of mashups ranging from incredible researcher-oriented knowledge discovery tools to normal human being-oriented applications for finding things like as-yet-unreported possible dangerous drug interactions or an alert for new developments around a particular disease.

The Linked Data movement is a particularly rich and forward-looking model for doing these sorts of things, with an amazing number of very useful datasets, some with research articles (DBLP; ieee.rkbexplorer which has data from IEEE articles) but no scientific publishers have as yet decided to commit to exposing their data.

It would be nice if Google published its Google Scholar data as Linked Data, even if it were only the metadata and citations, as we know that even the great G has not as yet wrestled the right to re-distribute even the ASCII dump of the full-text of publishers' articles.

Soon, hopefully. The oxen are slow but the earth is patient.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

New Scientist: "Obama goes 'all in' for science"

Obama goes 'all in' for science New Scientist, Mar 4 2009



Lecture: "Open Source Licences and the Boundaries of Knowledge Production"

Lecture: "Open Source Licences and the Boundaries of Knowledge Production"
Michael Madison, Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Research, University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Date: Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Time: 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Place: Fauteux Hall, room 351
Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

Description: What is the future of open source licensing? The presentation will use Jacbosen v. Katzer, a recent opinion from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that analyzes an open source software license, to frame a discussion of open source issues that are conceptual, historical, and practical.

For more information. RSVP needed to or on Facebook group.

Dr. Madison appears to be a fairly enlightened lawyer who has studied and published on IP, copyright and (software) licensing issues:

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Report released: "Harnessing the Power of Digital Data for Science and Society"

The Interagency Working Group on Digital Data to the National Science and Technology Council (U.S.) has release its report, Harnessing the Power of Digital Data for Science and Society".
"The report lays out a strategic vision for ´a digital scientific data universe in which data creation, collection, documentation, analysis, preservation, and dissemination can be appropriately, reliably, and readily managed, thereby enhancing the return on our nation’s research and development investment by ensuring that digital data realize their full potential as catalysts for progress in our global information society.' "