This blog post goes with my talk at Oxford Geek Nights. It’s about the work I’m doing at Crossref but the talk and this blog post are provided in a personal capacity, and don’t officially represent Crossref. That mostly means I don’t have to use American spelling. Which is fortunate for you, as I’m really bad at accents. What does ‘scholarly’ mean? “Scholarly publications” are things published in pursuit of scholarship.

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Gemini PDA

Which came first? I am, after a lag of a few weeks, finally writing a few words about my Gemini PDA. As tradition, I’m writing it on the device itself. I don’t feel that it’s possible to write a fair review after a short amount of time. I’ve had my BlackBerry Passport, my current phone, for about 4 years and I only just feel qualified to start mulling it. My imaginary review, when I get round to it, will say that on balance, it’s a very good phone with a nice keyboard, great sound, and that you should have bought one in 2014.

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Welcome

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Today marks the release of the Digital Folk report, a study into the way that folk music is being played and shared in the digital age. The report opens with a timeline of some of the tools available and their history. It reminded me that Folk Tune Finder is ten years old this year - the folktunefinder.com domain was registered at half past nine in the morning on the 27th of January 2008.

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This time last year I came to the conclusion that it’s better to celebrate new year in the summer than the winter. See what you’re dealing with. Get it over with in the daylight where you can see the thing clearly rather than stumbling around for it in the dark and probably knocking it over. And whilst there is something to be said for huddling around a cauldron of mulled wine bubbling on the stove, sacrificing ritual resolutions to ourselves to Do Better This Year so that the sun will rise again, I find that I can see so much further in the daylight.

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A couple of years ago I fished a large chunk of wood out of the river. It had a very satisfactory heft, oblongularity and poise. A piece of timber solid not only in body, but in character. In short: a perfect doorstep. I spotted it floating in a weir and thought ‘that would make a fine doorstep’. We shan’t dwell on the story of how I hoisted it out of the river and, in exchange, lost my brand new, favourite, and first ever, pair of sunglasses.

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One of my new year’s resolutions is to try and be more intentional about the way I lead my life. That includes a close look at habits and deeply wired-in behaviours. Last year I had the epiphany that whilst chocolate, ginger nuts, IRN BRU and sugary comestibles were very enticing and almost unthinkable to give up, I’m far better off without them in my life. I’ve known this for at least 15 years, but last summer I actually did something about it.

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Snowing now, is it?

My wife sent me an email. It conveyed words to the effect:

It is snowing!

I replied:

Is it now

We make a point of sending each other grammatically ambigious emails.

And that made me realise that in the sentence

“Now it is snowing”

has at least two levels of word-order to contend with.

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Working with colleagues spread across Massachusetts, New York, California, Oxfordshire, London, Britanny, Victoria, Lower Saxony (and that’s when they’re not travelling) means that face-to-face conversations aren’t universally available. Instant messaging is good because it’s the next-best thing to direct contact. With geographical distance comes timezone distance. Before the invention of immediate communication this was a self-correcting problem (most people can’t shout over more than two timezones). Of course, when one simply has to type into a computer (caps-lock for shouting) one must be sensitive to the timezone of one’s correspondent.

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On November 30th 2016, the login feature of FolkTuneFinder.com will be removed, and you will no longer be able to use favourites and group tunelists. One month ago I wrote the a blog post about sign-in on FolkTuneFinder and placed a message on the site. I also put word out on the FolkTuneFinder Facebook page. Since then I have recieved only two messages. There are 5,367 accounts on FolkTuneFinder. Some of them are spam, but some of them are real users who log in and use favourites.

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