The BarCamp Boston session History 2.0 presented some cutting-edge ideas marrying technology with historical preservation and information gathering. The speaker sounds like he’s had a number of bad experiences with historical societies and archives and has been pondering how various tools or approaches could improve services, historical documentation, and informing folks about collections. He criticized libraries for being stuck in a world of Dublin Core metadata because (and I’m paraphrasing here) we all know things can be described in multiple ways. He did not say anything about how a controlled vocabulary works to bring all these different terms for one object together to make something findable. He shared a great story about one institution putting some photos online and asking for and allowing people to comment getting feedback from a woman who could identify people (one was her grandfather) in a photo and describe about what the photo was. He argues for more Web-based collaborative tools, democratizing history, and saving local history.
This post has turned into my notes from BarCamp Boston 5 on Saturday.
A talk based on the book Cooking for Geeks by Jeff Potter, one of BarCamp Boston’s organizers, gave a brief overview of cooking styles, taste and how to determine if you’re a supertaster, food safety, and some trendy cooking methods, like sous vide. The book has more nifty bits, interviews, and yummy recipes (and, yes, I can speak from experience on that one). I also learned about how scientists can alter how worms move by manipulating nerve cells with lasers and watched a MakerBot demo. The usability talk emphasized the importance of having someone besides the developer(s) test what’s being built. The agile presentation has some good dos and don’ts. Do: ticket, openly discuss priorities, and hire good people. Don’t: travel, architect in advance, add project managers, conference call, interview, and estimate. He mentions how increasing team size becomes problematic, which builds on what Michael Mah repeated at Wednesday’s Software Quality Group of New England meeting based on studying agile teams and quality assurance.
Plummelo seeks to combine the world of cooking and recipe websites with cooks who want to interact online and know what groceries they need to buy based on the recipes they find online. Coupons and grocery store specials would be a bonus. They work with community agriculture groups, local and specialty markets, and other chains. They want to adopt a microformat for recipes to facilitate sharing and data mining, but right now, they’re working on ingredients the most. Also, cooking instructions are copyright protected, as you may know, but ingredients and amounts are not. Their goal is not to drive traffic away from other cooking sites—they want to develop friendly partnerships and such.
A tour of scraping and analysis technology indicates an exciting future for automated textual gathering and analysis.
When choosing a content management system, be cognizant of the community, scalability, usability, add ons, and how the program is written. Folks have often analyzed CMSes. This talk is particularly concerned with Drupal, Joombla, Plone, and WordPress.
tags: bcb5, BarCamp Boston 5, BCBos