Jon Phipps’ not-an-NSDL blog

May 25, 2007

The graduate

Filed under: Personal — Jon Phipps @ 12:46 pm

RebeccaOur younger daughter graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia last weekend with a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish, summa cum laude!

We’re very, very proud of her.

On Saturday, we had a great time wandering around the Italian Market Festival (I found myself missing the Italian neighborhood I sort of grew up in) and then to celebrate we went to dinner at Bar Ferdinand for excellent tapas and a good wine selection. Very noisy on a Saturday night, but highly recommended.

If she looks a little tired in the picture it’s because she put in a large number of all-nighters in the last few weeks.


DSPs, DCAPs, and WIKIs, oh my!

Filed under: RDF — Jon Phipps @ 12:06 pm

The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative is looking for someone to build them a wiki. At least I think that’s what they want.

From the Call for Tender page:
“DCMI Call for Tender 2007-03: Wiki format for application profiles convertible into XML”
From the DCMI home page:
“Call for tender for a machine-processable application profile format”

I don’t think that these two descriptions are describing the same thing at all. Of course, that just reflects my sense that “machine-processable application profile” doesn’t mean “application profile that can be scraped from a wiki page and expressed as XML”.

I’m more inclined to think that a “machine-processable application profile” means a DCAP that can be directly used to validate data that has been created with the intention of conforming to a specified DCAP (or is it DSP? — I wish that they wouldn’t suddenly change the terminology just to fit the model).

Increasingly, I’m viewing “machine-processable application profile” as meaning machine-processable-DCAP-derived data-entry forms (XFORMS) used to generate DCAP-conformant XML data that can be validated using a machine-processable-DCAP-derived RELAX NG schema, W3C XML Schema, or Schematron ruleset. RDF triples would then have to be derived from the validated XML.

The intermediate XML validation is necessary because a sensibly efficient way to validate RDF against a DCAP currently doesn’t exist. Although Alistair‘s notion of rules-based RDF validation based on SPARQL query assertions looks like it might work in a Schematron-like way. This would then imply the ability to derive SPARQL queries from a machine-processable DCAP.

While the idea of a wiki-based DCAP editor is conceptually interesting, it would seem to me that a tender to produce exemplars of the above based on the current DCAP XML expression would be far more useful in actually providing useful test cases for determining the validity and utility of that expression.


Filed under: Semantic Web — Jon Phipps @ 9:32 am

Danny Ayers points to a screencast by David Huynh of MIT demonstrating a new data viewing tool.It’s indeed awesome — one of those things where about halfway through I said “holy mackerel!” or words to that effect. It’s definitely must-see TV.

David Huynh of MIT, responsible for wonders such as Timeline and Exhibit has made a short screencast demoing his latest marvel, Potluck. It’s currently a research prototype though appears very close to being web-ready. When you’ve seen the screencast I think you’ll agree with me – it’s awesome .


May 15, 2007

Thingology (LibraryThing’s ideas blog): Danbury, CT kicks off LibraryThing for Libraries!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jon Phipps @ 9:14 am

There are a lot of limitations, but this is still a really interesting and exciting development.

We’re happy to announce that the Danbury Library in Danbury, Connecticut has become the first library in the world to put LibraryThing for Libraries on its live catalog…

Underneath, the data comes from LibraryThing and its members. We’ve cleaned some of it up–Abby, our head librarian, and Jenny Anastasoff, a local librarian who’s intern with us, have been hunting down and excluding personal or irrelevant tags.* But its strength is the strength of LibraryThing’s people and their collections—200,000 members, 13 million books and 17 million tags.

Thingology (LibraryThing’s ideas blog): Danbury, CT kicks off LibraryThing for Libraries!.

Blogging like it’s 2003

Filed under: Personal — Jon Phipps @ 8:58 am

I have a couple of blogs that I had almost forgotten about and haven’t updated since 2003. I’m putting links here just to make it a bit easier to find them.
I’m not using the Radio Userland software anymore — it started to chew through my system resources when it was running — but they’ve been great about keeping the blog up. Radio was a great tool in its day, and maybe still is. A personal, public, secure web server on the desktop is still a pretty interesting idea.

You can also find here some stories there that I wrote in early 2002 trying to reground myself after being in NYC on 9/11. Warning: the stories are encoded in ISO-8859–1, but the pages self-identify as UTF-8 (one of the little flaws in Radio or maybe the author) so you have to change it. One of these days I’ll fix that, along with a couple of typos I just found, and also maybe post the stories somewhere else. Oh, and parts of the 9/11 story still bring tears to my eyes 5+ years later. I guess that’s a warning too.
My very first non-Userland experiment. At the time, I didn’t think much of the software or the service, so there’s only one ancient post. But I claimed it in technorati anyway. Maybe I’ll use it for something, someday.
For a brief period of time, back when I was working for NSDL Core Integration, I blogged about the NSDL on my own domain. I stopped when I left, and now the blog is lousy with comment spam. While trying to remove the spam i discovered that the version of WordPress I’m using isn’t compatible with PHP5 and my ISP kindly defaults .php to PHP5 now. Maybe I’ll fix that someday. Best I could do was turn off comments and trackbacks.

May 8, 2007

The view from 900 feet

Filed under: Personal — Jon Phipps @ 11:55 am

We have an environmentally insensitive hot tub outside in the backyard that’s surrounded on 3 sides by a ‘privacy’ fence. We also live about 4 miles from a small airport, and it’s not unusual at all to have a plane fly by at a fairly low altitude. So I didn’t pay any attention to our airspace today as I stepped out of my robe and into the hot tub, until the plane flying overhead cut his (her?) engine and circled, slowly, with my hot tub at the center of the circle. Of course I could just have been imagining that I was briefly the center of someone’s attention, but still, I looked up and waved. Then went back to watching the far more interesting barn swallows chasing each other around the yard. After completing the circle, the pilot resumed the plane’s original heading and things got quiet again.  

Sometimes there’s a lot less privacy out here in the country than there would ever be in the city.

May 7, 2007

Linux … Hell

Filed under: NSDL Registry — Jon Phipps @ 7:19 am

Alistair Miles has written a brief account of the fun he experienced installing Trac for a project. This is nicely describes my experience installing/updating packages on RHE Linux and explains in part why we don’t do it very often at the Registry.

May 4, 2007

Big projects, little time

Filed under: Personal — Jon Phipps @ 3:08 pm

This is just an observation and I certainly don’t mean to whine, but it can be pretty tough to make continuous progress on a very large project like the Registry when working half-time and half of that time is taken up with academic administrivia — writing/reading papers, conferences, grant proposals, meetings, trying to keep up with new ideas and technology.

I have nothing but admiration for anyone who manages to get something real accomplished under those circumstances. I live in somewhat constant fear that I won‘t be one of that august group.

Back to blogging

Filed under: Personal — Jon Phipps @ 3:00 pm

It’s been busy, so I haven’t been blogging. I also had some essays kicking around in my head that I just didn’t have time to write up, and so I wrote nothing. Well, the essays are still there but it’s a tad less busy so I’m going to try some small posts and see if I can get back into it.

Some of what I write will be more personal and thinking-out-loud than in the past too. So you should expect even more crap than usual.

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