STM Innovations Seminar 2006

Programme and registration information

Innovation's 2006 Theme

This year's theme will be 'technologies and community' featuring five speakers, a panel session, and two short 'initiative updates.' STM publishers serve a variety of communities ranging from broad-based disciplines to specialist societies and research groups. A major characteristic of the technologies that are emerging under the rubric 'Web 2.0' is that they are designed to be used by communities, not just individual users. Wikis, globs, social bookmarking tools and recommender systems all harness the power of groups to enable new forms of content creations, discovery and consumption.

Our speakers this year are mavericks. While they are all innovative and outspoken participants in the technological change that is engulfing the online world, you will get no party line 'Web 2.0' cheerleading from them.


08:30    Registration

09:00    Introduction
Chair: Geoffrey Bilder, Scholarly Information Strategies, Ltd

09:15    Ontologies and STM Publishing
Allen Renear, Associate Professor at The Graduate School of Library and Information Science, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
For twenty years, Allen has been conducting research on theoretical and applied topics in content management, electronic publishing, and document representation. His talk reports of work being conducted with Carole Palmer at UIUC and will discuss two important technological trends that are converging.

  • The first involves the change in researcher behavior that is occurring in response to the use of comprehensive indexing and navigation environments such as Google Scholar and SCOPUS. Researchers are developing new, almost sub-cognitive heuristics for locating, evlaluating and using information on the web.
  • The second is the increased adoption of techniques for making scientific information interoperable, computationally processable and communally available. As this begins to happen, and is supported by the tools that allow users to exploit computationally available representations of scientific information, the use of traditional publishing artifacts like journals, abstracts and articles will become increasingly indirect.

Taken together, these changes in researcher behavior are likely to influence library acquisition strategies over the medium to long term. What can publishers do to adapt their services to new researcher and librarian expectations?

10:00    The Social Journal
Dorothea Salo is George Mason University's Digital Repository Services Librarian
Dorothea has long experience helping STM publishers develop electronic workflows and she has worked on content standards for electronic books. As a librarian, she has worked extensively with social software such as weblogs and wikis and is running an online social-software workshop for librarians in early 2007. Dorothea's personal blog, Caveat Lector, was an 'edublog award' nominee in 2005.

Dorothea will talk about the origins of the scholarly journal as a community-builder and how journals have since lost their power to define and unite communities of research and practice. As a long-time observer of the role that social software has played in libraries and on campus, Dorothea will go on to explore how the new wave of social software can help scholarly societies and journal publishers re-establish their primacy as scholarly community builders.

10:45    Refreshment break

11:15    The Connection Machine
Leigh Dodds is an Engineering Manager at Ingenta where he is responsible for the architecture and development of the IngentaConnect website, a large aggregation of academic research content. Leigh has been working with and writing about Semantic Web technologies for a number of years. He is also well known for his blog, Lost Boy.

While the web is the most famous example of a hypertext application, it is currently far behind the state of the art. The richness found in many hypertext applications, some of which date back many years, is derived from a degree of centralization and control unfeasible on the Web. Indeed, it was sacrificing these characteristics that has allowed the Web to be the success it has been. And yet current web trends ('Web 2.0') are enriching the online environment. Leigh will provide a practical description of how publishers can contribute to these trends through sharing metadata, use of microformats, embracing deep linking, etc. Leigh will show that semantic web technologies, far from being a pipe dream, actually provide a unifying framework that enables rich manipulation, and fine-grained access to interoperable scientific data.

12:00    Panel Session (includes morning speakers) 
Chaired by Geoffrey Bilder

12:30    Lunch

13:45    Initiative Update (CrossTech)
Ed Pentz, Executive Director, CrossRef

14:00    Initiative Update (PRC - Publishing Research Consortium)
Mayur Amin, Director of the Research Office, Elsevier

14:15    Wikipedia: The Fog of the Edit War
Jason Scott is an historian and chronicler of an early manifestation of the social software application - the online Bulletin Board System (BBS). In 2005, he created and released a film on this topic, titled 'BBS: The Documentary.' Jason is also the creator and Webmaster of TEXTFILES.COM, a website dedicated to collecting the files and related materials from the era of the Dial-up BBS. Jason's interest in the social dynamics of BBS's has extended to exploring new social software systems, notably, the Wikipedia.

Though the Wikipedia has garnered unprecedented publicity in the past few years, most of that attention has been on the Wikipedia's terms -- taking the Wikipedia's description of itself at face value. Jason will introduce STM to the inner workings of the Wikipedia through the close dissection and analysis of a classic Wikipedia 'edit war.' This edit war sheds light on the little publicized Wikipedia editorial hierarchy, the written and unwritten rules making up the Wikipedia's editorial policy and the inherent sociological tensions of the Wikipedia community. This analysis is bound to prove eye opening to publishers interested in the Wikipedia publishing model.

15:00    Keynote Presentation
Copyright: The Hiddle Middle Path

Ted Nelson is best known for coining the word 'hypertext' and being first to envision a system for world-wide digital publishing. What is not known is the breadth of his designs and what they could mean to the publishing community.

Today's infrastructure of computing was designed in the 1970s by enthusiasts who wanted to write programs, exchange files, simulate paper, simplify what users saw, and sell software. They did not consider the knotted issues of how to extend paper publishing into the digital realm. The result, three decades down the line, is today's armed confrontation between copyright thieves and copyright jailers.

Whereas Ted Nelson's design has always proposed a middle way - a new form of commerce which he believes is legal, empowering, and beneficial to all. (Hint: he also coined the term 'micropayment'.) In today's climate of dread and danger, perhaps it is time to experiement with Ted's challenges to the prevailing methods. Perhaps we can bring users and rights holders back into the same community, and make more money as well.

16:00    Close

Programme and registration information

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