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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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. I think that community should continue to be at the heart of every step. Others have written about the rights and wrongs of altmetrics for signalling and assessing knowledge.

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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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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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