[open-archaeology] Fwd: Heritage Method Store Proposal

Benjamin Ducke benjamin.ducke at oxfordarch.co.uk
Tue Sep 21 08:16:34 UTC 2010

Whether to share code or not, is, of course a personal decision.
But I think we can trust that most people involved in an open
source project do that naturally and without thinking twice about it.
And those who don't share -- well, there's really nothing you can
do about it.

The evolution of new algorithms and software technology takes place
inside individual open source projects. Those are already well 
set up for collaborative work, using platforms like sourceforge.net.
However, collaboration also always produces an overhead. 
Most people who write software and design algorithms really like to be 
able to concentrate on exactly that: producing working code, not worrying
which fancy "Web 2.0" innovation they may unleash upon it next.

Committing code to an old fashioned SVN repository, keeping it tidy 
and well commented, synchronizing with other external projects, 
etc. is about us much house keeping work as most developers will 
be willing to trade in for programming time. 
I for one don't have the time, let alone nerve, to try and understand 
what the heck a sentence like this:

"Mahara, meaning 'think' or 'thought' in Te Reo Māori, is [a] user centred 
environment with a permissions framework that enables different views 
of an e-portfolio to be easily managed."

Actually means for my work or boils down to in terms of time needed
to curate any information I would put into it.

I think a realistic approach is to set up a good, simple CMS (Wiki?)
which stores application level description and implementation details
relating to individual methods. A Wiki article on, say, Brovey sensor
fusion, would have a short introduction to the method, examples of
successful applications in archaeology, and finally, for the techies, 
formulas and pseudo code algorithms for the key working principles.
Anybody who wants more can then be pointed to open source projects
which implement the method and/or provided with tutorial material.

Contributing to such a repository of methods would be fun, even for
me, as it does not require much time investment to start a new
article or add to an existing one. That way, it has a chance to
grow gradually.


----- Original Message -----
> this. The trick would then be to connect this to the other tools you
> mention that the specialists can use to actually collaborate. I guess
> this may be the most difficult to organize; I can imagine that
> developers will not always be eager to share software code and ideas
> for the simple reason that they need to make money and produce
> scientific papers, even when they are committed to open source
> solutions. But since I'm not a developer myself, it would be
> interesting to hear their opinion on this.
> Best,
> Philip
> From: open-archaeology-bounces at lists.okfn.org
> [mailto:open-archaeology-bounces at lists.okfn.org] On Behalf Of Anthony
> Beck
> Sent: maandag 20 september 2010 17:30
> To: open-archaeology at lists.okfn.org
> Subject: [open-archaeology] Fwd: Heritage Method Store Proposal
> Oops. Didn't realise my work account wasn't registered
> Best
> Ant
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Anthony Beck < A.R.Beck at leeds.ac.uk >
> Date: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 4:06 PM
> Subject: Heritage Method Store Proposal
> To: " open-archaeology at lists.okfn.org " <
> open-archaeology at lists.okfn.org >, "Michael Doneus (
> michael.doneus at univie.ac.at )" < michael.doneus at univie.ac.at >, "
> rachel.opitz at googlemail.com " < rachel.opitz at googlemail.com >, "
> wlodekra at amu.edu.pl " < wlodekra at amu.edu.pl >, " nina.heiska at tkk.fi "
> < nina.heiska at tkk.fi >, " gianluca.cantoro at gmail.com " <
> gianluca.cantoro at gmail.com >, " dart-investigators at comp.leeds.ac.uk "
> < dart-investigators at comp.leeds.ac.uk >, "Dr. Axel Posluschny" <
> posluschny at rgk.dainst.de >, Cameron Neylon < cameron.neylon at stfc.ac.uk
> >, " jo.walsh at ed.ac.uk " < jo.walsh at ed.ac.uk >, Dave Cowley <
> Dave.Cowley at rcahms.gov.uk >, " j.p.mills at newcastle.ac.uk " <
> j.p.mills at newcastle.ac.uk >, " remondino at fbk.eu " < remondino at fbk.eu
> >, Keith Challis < k.challis at bham.ac.uk >, "
> ahzcb at granby.ccc.nottingham.ac.uk " <
> ahzcb at granby.ccc.nottingham.ac.uk >, " anthony at discoveryprogramme.ie "
> < anthony at discoveryprogramme.ie >, " robert at discoveryprogramme.ie " <
> robert at discoveryprogramme.ie >, " mikeheyworth at britarch.ac.uk " <
> mikeheyworth at britarch.ac.uk >, " antiquist at googlegroups.com " <
> antiquist at googlegroups.com >
> Cc: " ant.beck at gmail.com " < ant.beck at gmail.com >
> Apologies for cross posting:
> Dear All,
> At the Aerial Archaeology Research Group conference I suggested we
> produce a methodology store. The aim of such a resource is to stop the
> community “re-inventing the wheel” by sharing methodologies and
> algorithms, to provide a place where methodology can be discussed and
> developed, to provide an audit trail for developments and an ability
> to “fork” methodologies in light of different localities,
> technologies, to be able to provide links between methodologies
> developed at different scales or for different environments etc. I
> discussed this with colleagues and collaborators at the Open Knowledge
> Foundation (OKF: particularly the Open Archaeology group – which I
> recommend you join), the Remote Sensing and Photogrametry Society
> (RSPSoC), the Council for British Archaeology and colleagues with a
> professional interest in these topics (Jo Walsh at Edina and Cameron
> Neylon at the Science and Technology Facilities Council). In addition
> members of the EU funded ArchaeoLandscapes project (
> http://www.archaeolandscapes.eu < http://www.archaeolandscapes.eu/ >),
> which had a meeting directly after AARG, were also supportive. The
> support for this initiative has been overwhelming. The above
> constitutes the what and why for a heritage methodology store: the
> issue seems to be not a matter of “if” we do this but of where, how
> and who.
> For the Where I would suggest we do this under the umbrella of the
> Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN: http://okfn.org/ ). This means that
> it’s clear that the resource is about openness and applies to all
> methodologies rather than just the specifics about a single interest
> group. Jonathan Gray is the community co-ordinator for OKFN. Jonathan:
> What do you think? Is this possible/desirable? What are the
> cost/resource implications. Comments from anyone else?
> The How is likely to be the most difficult questions. We can use a
> range of different technologies. Stefano Costa has suggested a wiki,
> which is a simple and easy tool. At the other end of the spectrum we
> could use something like MyExperiment or GitHub (software management).
> MyExperiment allows the production of digital workflows that can
> transform data with algorithms (something that would be very useful
> for those of us doing numerical analyses – like the heritage remote
> sensing specialists). However, this may provide too much clutter for
> other users. Between these two tools are a spectrum of other
> technologies that may be useful (Stack Overflow, Mahara, etc.).
> However, the point is to build a community around the content that are
> prepared to discuss and improve methodologies (hence – an indexing
> service of available methods is not adequate). In the short term I
> feel that we should use tools that are accessible to a large audience
> rather than exclusive to a technologically sophisticated audience.
> This stops us being too prescriptive and allows us to extend tools as
> the community requires them. I’m sure a number of you have much more
> experience than I do in this area: please feel free to comment on
> this?
> For the who, I’m happy to run with this in conjunction with the DART
> PhD students. I’ll put up a shout if things become difficult.
> For completeness I have also included members of Antiquist in this
> discussion. Please feel free to forward this e-mail to your own
> heritage special interest groups. However, it would be good if
> conversations were threaded to the Open Archaeology list at
> open-archaeology at lists.okfn.org <mailto:
> open-archaeology at lists.okfn.org >.
> Best wishes and many thanks for all your help and support
> Ant
> --------------------------------------- Anthony Beck
> Research Fellow
> DART Project
> School of Computing
> University of Leeds
> DART has 3 fully funded PhD studentships advertised. More details at
> www.comp.leeds.ac.uk/dart < http://www.comp.leeds.ac.uk/dart >
> _______________________________________________ open-archaeology
> mailing list
> open-archaeology at lists.okfn.org
> http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/open-archaeology

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