The Content Mine one year on

workshops

This is my first blog post on the splendid new ContentMine website, and thanks to all those who have worked so hard. It’s exactly a year since we launched The Content Mine in Austria:

We launch The Content Mine In Vienna, Interviews, Talks and our first public Workshop

Here are some of the comments I made in that post:

Last week was one of the most exciting in my life – but also among the hardest I have worked. I travelled from Budapest to Vienna to be the guest of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and to give a lecture: .. I changed the title to “Open Notebook Science” in honour of the late Jean-Claude Bradley and to promote his ideas. My talk’s on Slideshare.

Then the “launch” of The Content Mine ( http://contentmine.org ), my Shuttleworth Fellowship project, which aims to extract 100,000,000 facts from the scientific literature. The philosophy is not that *I* do this but that *WE* do this.

have reliable, compelling, distributable software. That’s hard. But we’ve got one of the best small teams in the world – it would be harder to think of a better one. That’s because we are developer-scholars – we are not only very experienced]in the coding and design of information , but we are also expert in our own right in our fields (Chemistry, Phylogenetics, Plant Genetics, and Informatics/Scholarly Publishing). That means we know where we are going, know what works (or rather what *doesn’t* work!) and know who else in the world is doing similar stuff. And because I’m funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation there’s a guarantee  that we won’t get bought by Elsevier or Macmillan or Thomson-Reuters. I wouldn’t swap any of the team for ten million dollars – that’s how important they are to my life.

we are reaching out through workshops. We’re doing several this summer [2014] – Edinburgh, Berlin/OKFest, Wikimania, OK Brazil, and one or two more yet to be finalised. We’re informed by the Software Carpentry philosophy, where we run a workshop for a sponsor, and during the workshop train apprentices. Then these apprentices will be able to help run new workshops and then their own workshops.

Then the next day an all-day hack run by OKFN Austria (Stefan Kasberger [now on our team!] and Peter Kraker (Panton Fellow) – report here. A wonderful hackspace (metalab), couches, soft drinks + honour payment, bits of kit lying around – graffiti – you know the sort of thing.

And then at the end 4 invited speakers (including PMR). We are very impressed by OKFN Austria – the day drew perhaps 25 people. And a lovely city.

But Exhausting! At the  end I crashed for a long night. (In writing my Shuttleworth Quarterly report I was asked “What was your greatest loss during this quarter?” Answer: SLEEP!)

A year on we have remained true to the vision – we have run lots of workshops, developed lots of software and made lots of friends. And I now feel we have achieved “critical mass”. People know about us, want to share the vision and want mutual help. I now hope to blog frequently on this blog and to discuss strategy, technology and the wider social and political dimensions of content mining.

[Credits: Judith Murray-Rust, OKF Volunteers, license CC BY 4.0]

 

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the bear

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