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Category: Meeting Notes

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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Rich PDF. Open Access. …

Wednesday meeting with Christopher, Mark and now, Adam Procter. Notions discussed include Open Publishing an a new name for a ‘rich’ Open Access PDF with EXIF was suggested by Chris. Use .tif self describing. Very much in line with my rich PDF notion.

Annotate eprints. No

Paragraph level addressability. Hmmm…

Eprints Labs. THIS is what we will try to make happen. Author can be on both sides of the workflow of course. Could be brilliant to show at The Future of Text.

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Jeremy Freeman & Documents. Kill The PDF (email to Les & Gang)

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is run by a guy called Jeremy Freeman.
He really does not like PDF, as is highlighted about 14 minutes into this podcast: 14 mins in:
“…one thing that was really interesting about the presentation that he gave, he was talking about the way that scientists share their results once they have them – when we spend a lot of time looking at this sort of stuff at Wired, it’s an academic paper – it’s a PDF on a journal that you can download and you can look at charts and graphs and read a static document, that’s what it is basically, there might be the odd chance to download a bit of data or watch a video or look at some pictures but for the most part it’s the same technology that’s been around for hundreds of years albeit you can now download it in a PDF and to Freeman’s mind, and it’s a fair point, that’s ridiculous…’
And early goal for them, as is mentioned a bit later in the document, is to kill the PDF.
Can we contact them? What would we say? Maybe we should have an online meeting with Bill McCoy?
I have copied a few brilliant brains on this email. Do you have any thoughts as to what we might be able to do to deliver highly interactive scientific documents?
These guys have money and momentum. I hope we can slingshot somewhere useful with them…
Frode Hegland
The Liquid Information Company
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