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Chris, Mark & Glossaries

I met with Chris Gutteridge and Mark Anderson for lunch in Southampton today (Chinese, quite good) and we talked mostly about glossaries, after discussions on how much of academia is nonsense, or at least sub-optimally designed. Chris said something like Scholarly communications should in support of the Scientific method. This is not at all the case today though. Science and Academia are very different but academia should at least support the scientific method. I like that. 

BTW, guys, when I refer to your names, there should be a way for you to be notified or a site for you should list it maybe? Anyway, that’s another challenge. 


When mostly talked about glossary systems, taking some time to agree on terminology and then use cases. 

It became clear that this is something which we are passionate about so we really hacked into it. 

We discussed several perspectives and decided that the system should be net based, not just local, so as to be able to deal with group glossaries and working from multiple devices. 


To make a glossary entry you can enter it into whatever front end system you are using, just like making a note card. If you are in a word processor or a system like that and you want text in your document to become glossary entry, simply select it, keyboard shortcut/menu choice and ‘Assign As Glossary Term’ and you get the same dialog box, which you can add text to as well as links and this is important: the Glossary frame/document will have exactly the same interactions available as a regular document. 

We decided that only the glossaries which are in the document text will be appended to the document when it is published. The glossary will be appended to the document at the end of the document, under a ‘Glossary’ header. This will enable the reader to skip down to the glossary and learn new terms, if desired. This method is also computer-understandable so any enabled reader software will be able to show the glossary entry when text with a glossary entry for it is interacted with somehow. 

There was a suggestion that the first occurrence of text with a glossary entry attached will be bolded or something else visually, to indicate that it has a glossary entry. My wife Emily thought this might make the document a bit messy, if there are a lot of entries in the glossary, so this is up for testing. IF, however, a term merits special attention, it can of course be manually bolded or have a Comment° attached to it.



The benefits of such a system would be to allow someone to write a clear and concise document without having to explain every specialist term, which could make documents more clear and concise.. It would furthermore benefit readers who are new in a field.

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