Tracking scholarly discussion online, as it happens

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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A decade of Folk Tune Finder, an open manifesto for the decade to come

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 domain was registered at half past nine in the morning on the 27th of January 2008.

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Annointing the Threshold

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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Why I'm giving up on Facebook

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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Talking to teams in different timezones: an idea

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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Login and favourites are being removed from FolkTuneFinder

On November 30th 2016, the login feature of 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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Royal Mint "most secure coin in the world" website is insecure

The Royal Mint are launching a new pound coin. It’s The most secure coin in the world according to their website. I saw it linked from BBC news. The site looks good. It’s all about how businesses should look out for the new coin and adjust their security practices. It goes into some detail about just quite how secure this coin is. They’ve obviously put a lot of thought, time and energy into the micro-lettering and latent image.

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I got a BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu tablet

I’m sitting on the bus writing this on my BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu edition tablet. It promises ‘full convergence’ so, taking it on face value, I thought I’d start typing a blog post using the on-screen keyboard at work then continue with a bluetooth keyboard once I get home.

The tablet ships with LibreOffice, gEdit, mystery ‘browser’ and Firefox which might be used to access Google Docs. But I’m not using any of those to write this blog post. I am instead using the Notes app, for reasons I’ll come to.

These are my first impressions. All of them are honestly observed, but a couple turned out to be special cases. But they were all things I experienced.

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