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At the Australian Digital Futures Institute (ADFI, née LFII) we have been working on a software project, funded by our friends at ARROW, to build a lightweight web front-end to the Fedora Commons repository software. It used to go by the name of Sun of Fedora, which was just a temporary off the cuff in-joke kind of a name. (It uses the Apache Solr search engine).

It now has a new name.

Choosing a name mainly consisted of the ADFI doing a lot of ‘research’ on Google and Wikipedia and IMing each other lke crazy. The process threatened to consume what remains of the project budget so we cut it short after a couple of hours.

I suggested Christine after the Siouxsie and the Banshees song about a person with multiple personalities on account of the software is used to show the same repository in many different ways. Most of the ADFI staff turn out to be too young, too inattentive or too sheltered to remember Christine although I’m pretty sure it would have been on Countdown. It would have made for a good tag-line for the software.

Now she’s in purple, now she’s a turtle.

Anyway, Bron Chandler suggested Fascinator, amongst many many other names. I liked that one, as it’s a kind of add-on to a hat and is typically smaller than a Fez. It also sounds a bit like ‘facet’ which is nice, as the software uses facets to help you discover stuff in the repository. I think having an ‘F’ is nice too. The Fascinator, powered by Fedora.

This, from the current Wikipedia page is apt for a bit of open source software:

They are available pre-made, but are also quite easy and cost effective to self assemble. They are also sold in kit form.

Turns out The Fascinator is also the name of a ragtime tune by James Scott. I haven’t been able to source an Open Access version you can listen to, but maybe someone out there can knock it out for us using the sheet music.*

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The Fascinator it is.

It is not an acronym and very importantly it is not in upper case but we await construction of a gratuitous backronym, from the man who brought you ARROW, ARCHER and DART or from the creator of FABULOUS and Absolutely Fabulous.

We have soft-released the software before but now there is a new, open project site where you can download it, if you’re comfortable with Subversion and installing software on Linux and such. There are instructions for Ubuntu.

The Fascinator will also be used in a project that Caroline Drury and I are leading to take a snapshot of the contents of Australian university institutional repositories, partly to test the software and partly to give a series of point in time snapshots of what is in them for research purposes. We’d like to look at the range of ways people describe their content and compare the way different repository platforms are used.

I road tested the name on The Long Suffering Sandra.

PT: You know that software I’ve been working on called Sun of Fedora?

SC: No.

PT: Well anyway, we’re going to call it The Fascinator. Is that a good name?

SC: Only if it’s a project to do with hats.

PT: Well it is, it builds on Fedora, which is a kind of repository.

SC: In that case it’s a stupid name, you don’t put a fascinator on a fedora.

Oh yes we do. Here’s the demo site. And besides, here’s a thing which is both a fascinator AND a Fedora. Unfortunately it’s already sold. (I hope Glamour Bomb doesn’t mind me borrowing this image).

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* I wonder if anyone in the ADFI happens to be a piano teacher in her spare time? (There are a couple of tracks on eMusic in case you’re interested (no, I’m not an eMusic affiliate cos the form was too scary)).


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