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:
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  – 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]