The conference offered the following invited talks:
- Monday 15. September 9.30-10.30 by Brewster Kahle: “Towards Universal Access to All Knowledge”
- Tuesday 16. September 13-14 by Carole Gobles: “Curating Services and Workflows: the Good, the Bad and the Downright Ugly”
- Wednesday 17. September 9-10 by Daniel Teruggi: “Users - Usability - User requirements - User friendly... are these concepts the centre of every project?”
Abstracts of the talks
Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive: “Towards Universal Access to All Knowledge”
Advances in computing and communications mean that we can cost-effectively store every book, sound recording, movie, software package, and public web page ever created, and provide access to these collections via the Internet to students and adults all over the world. By mostly using existing institutions and funding sources, we can build this as well as compensate authors within the current worldwide library budget.
Can We? This is essentially a question of technical and financial feasibility. To assess that, it is necessary to estimate how much published information there is in variety of different media: text, audio, software, moving images, and the web. From this, we can estimate how difficult the digitization and storage challenges would be if we were to attempt a comprehensive collection. The really good news is that storage on this scale is not only currently available, but affordable, and the price keeps dropping.
May We? Will we allow ourselves to re-invent our concept of libraries to expand and to use the new technologies? This is fundamentally a societal and policy issue. These issues are reflected in our governments’ spending priorities, and in law.
Will We? We have the ingredients to do something great: the storage technology, the communications technology, and most importantly the political will to live in an open society. Indeed, universal access to all knowledge is within our grasp. But to make it happen certain steps are required.
Carole Gobles: “Curating Services and Workflows: the Good, the Bad and the Downright Ugly”
Carole Goble's slides | PDF (7.1 MB)
Digital curation is about maintaining and adding value to a trusted body of digital assets for current and future use by, and on behalf of, a community. It is a long term process where those assets are managed, cleaned up and corrected, associated with metadata, annotated and discussed, and appropriately preserved or reliably disposed of. They are, of course, also used by applications and scientists who had anticipated using them and applications and scientists that had not.
What if the assets are workflows that link together services, resources, tools, codes? Workflows are not just fixed, mechanical scripts. They are method, know-how, justification and best practice. The encapsulation of process is just as important as data and publications, and should be curated too. Workflows even have a key role in assisting curation. What if the assets to curate are (web) services? Services local to the scientist or out in the community are the sources of many of the analytical processes and datasets accessible to a scientific community, but are also highly dynamic, and frequently incomprehensible without curation.
In this talk I’ll relate our experiences good, bad and ugly — of curating workflows and services in the Life Sciences, gained through our myGrid project and its related activities. Our Taverna workflow workbench enables access to over 3500 open, third party, (web) service operations, which need curation of some sort. Our myExperiment scientists social network and Virtual Research Environment encourages community-wide sharing, and curation, of workflows. A new initiative, the WS4LS BioCatalogue, plans to combine managed, quality curation by the few alongside community-wide tagging and recommendation by the masses, for Web Services in the Life Sciences. From these specific experiences I’ll draw some general observations, and in particular explore the role of semantic technologies and the social tensions of curating and sharing.
Daniel Teruggi: Users - Usability - User requirements - User friendly... are these concepts the centre of every project?
Daniel Teruggi's slides | PDF (8.9 MB)
Researchers have got accustomed in the last ten years to work in international projects with partners from different countries and often with European funding. This has indeed given way to a wider collaboration and understanding among countries, researchers and citizens. In the centre of every project there are always the “users” which can be specialised users with a precise view on a domain and specific requirements, or they can be general users; just wanting to discover and easily use a system or software. The definition is in fact so broad that any feedback is always welcome as a confirmation of development trends and choices. Are users so important finally? Is it essential to have their views and feedback? What roads can we follow to improve efficiently the collaboration?