Whatever happened to that Lister LR2 engine that valiantly got us from Staffordshire to Oxford on only one cylinder? That was hoisted out and replaced with a model with only marginally higher horsepower? It sat in my father’s shed for years. That is, until I met someone that I knew I wanted to spend my life with. And not all that long after we got to know each other I started to hatch a plan.

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After much searching, I found the boat that I wished to call home. Dawn, for it was she, was moored in Staffordshire. My father and I both booked precious time off work and, after testing the suspension and kicking the tyres, we set off for the week-long journey. Destination: Oxford.

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November, fast unfolding as I speak, marks eight years since I stepped onto a boat and called it home. Boat-buying typically starts in summer, when all is bright, exciting and verdant (if you’re lucky). Like house-buying, it can take ages. There’s an array of things to fix: Surveys, licenses, insurance and, in my case, an engine. I’m not the first to move in just as a brutal winter descends.

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Barbara Helen Newman was my grandmother. She died aged 99. I would like to write a few things down to celebrate her life, keep her stories going and tell you a bit about her. Of course her personality and presence is what really counts, but I’m not sure I have the ability to adequately distill a description of her character out of the day-to-day interactions I had with her. Her quips and word-play were quick off the tongue but just as ephemeral.

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They say the skies are bigger Up North. I’ve recently witnessed this natural phenomenon first-hand. It’s true. The best theory I have so far is that the sky expands, inching out and pressing down toward the horizon. Meeting abrupt and solid bedrock, it flexes and springs up, vault-like, forming a dome. As any structural engineer will tell you, this paraboloid is capable of supporting and holding back crushing weights. The arch transfers the load deep into its footing, pushing downward and outward.

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How's the baby?

parenting

This piece was originally published in the Crossref Staff Newsletter. I’m reasonably confident that you won’t have read it. People ask me “how’s the boat?”. There are two easy answers to that, neither of them particularly satisfactory. The long answer, which involves sacrificial anodes and hinges, topcoats and oil changes, weeds and invasive species, though it answers the question, leaves the listener considerably dislocated from its starting point. The short answer, that it’s fine thank you, seems churlish and falls short of the spirit of the question.

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I presented these ideas at the altmetrics18 workshop. You can read a slightly more formal version of this blog post here. These five principles are my answer to some of the difficulties and problems I have observed in the past couple of years. In that time I have been collecting the kind of data that altmetrics are built from, and talking and working with researchers. Altmetrics data is derived from the community.

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Zohreh Zahedi and Rodrigo Costas recently published a comparison of altmetrics data providers. Included in the comparison was Crossef Event Data, the service that I have been designing and building for the last couple of years. I am writing this blog post as a personal response to their study, “General discussion of data quality challenges in social media metrics: Extensive comparison of four major altmetric data aggregators”. We will also publish an official Crossref response, which I will link to when it is published.

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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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