There are more than a few people who think Iâ€™m madâ€”or nuts, as we Americans sayâ€”but Iâ€™ve always denied it. Until today, when I found myself rolling out Danish pastry at 5.30am as I waited for the kettle to boil for a second pot of tea.
Iâ€™d got up at 4.00 to work on a plan for 2009-2011 reference titles, an interesting shift in perspective when Iâ€™ve been so focused the past few weeks on working with our terrific editorial staff to speed on publications for the first half of 2008. Somehow it seemed a good idea finally to use that pastry, which Iâ€™d made and frozen a couple months ago, and I figured I could just roll and shape them betwixt writing sections of the plan. True, I could and did, but I also had a day packed with meetings ahead and needed to fit in a yoga session, too. And thatâ€™s not to mention the fact that itâ€™s August.
A need to nurture, or to play Martha Stewart? Or maybe I just wanted something special to eat as I finished up the plan. In any case, the writing went well, inspired in part by my recent investigation of free online encyclopedias, and no one seems to object to having some extra goodies around the office.
A fascinating online project that my scientific friends seem to know about is the Encyclopedia of Earth, which I understand from Larry Sanger, mentioned in yesterdayâ€™s post, to be the first of many such expert-driven projects that will be developed by Digital Universe. The website is attractive and there are academic specialists involved and a considerable amount of content. But I still find that such efforts demonstrate the value of the work we do at
- Abduction and Web Interface Design
Adaptable and Adaptive Web-Based Educational Systems
Agent-Based System for Discovering and Building Collaborative Communities
Agent-Supported Interface for Online Tutoring
Analyzing and Visualizing the Dynamics of Scientific Frontiers and Knowledge Diffusion
Art as Methodology
Attention Aware Systems
Automated Deduction and Usability Reasoning
Automatic Evaluation of Interfaces on the Internet
Automatic Facial Expression Analysis
Case Study on the Development of Broadband Technology in Canada
That list reads like a collection of journal article titles, doesnâ€™t it?
- Adaptive Help Systems
Application Use Strategies
At the moment weâ€™re in the midst of cutting down the article list for one forthcoming publication, the Berkshire Encyclopedia of Religion and Social Justice. This is agonizing to the editors and I feel like a brute insisting that they keep removing headwords to meet our final total.
For several other projects, including the Business of Sustainability volume for the Encyclopedia of Sustainability, weâ€™re in the midst of developing the article lists. What a fascinating process it is, demanding knowledge, creativity, and organizational rigor. Consistency and balance is a constant challenge. Thereâ€™s an advantage to having a small number of people compose a list, because thereâ€™s more internal, intuitive logic applied to the distribution of topics. But any one of us, no matter how knowledgeable, is going to miss swathes of topics that to other people are naturally and inevitably part of the subject. So we try to have both: input from a lot of people, with final decisions made by one or two.