The three main use cases identified in the current plan, and a fourth proposed one: [numbering added for this post]
- Postgrad serializing PhD (or conference paper etc) for mobile devices
- Retiring academic publishing their ‘best-of’ research (books)
- Present final report as epub
- Publish course materials as an eBook (Proposed extra use-case proposed by Sefton)
- A publishing platform.
- A collaboration platform.
- A content aggregation platform.
- An authoring environment where people might write academic content. (I put this last, because I think it’s the most controversial).
- b: Retiring academic publishing their ‘best-of’ research (books): not so much books but using a tool like Anthologize to draw together papers or other documents.
- d: Publish course materials as an eBook (Proposed extra use-case proposed by Sefton): I see great potential for tools like Anthologize as a way of compiling reading packages from web resources and packaging them to take-away on mobile devices, likewise for conference proceedings and programs and other aggregated documents.
We are investigating a new, light-weight way of publishing scientific, academic and technical knowledge on the web. Currently, Knowledge Blog is being funded by a JISC grant.And the sites it has under its wing. Annotum which has not released any code, but has very lofty ambitions. I’ll come back to Annotum below. advises against using it for authoring. WordPress is not an authoring environment
http://www.knowledgeblog.org is hosted using WordPress. It’s a very good tool in many ways, but it was intended for and is most suited for use as a publishing tool; most blogs are written by single authors who wish to place their thoughts on the web either for authors or themselves to be able to read. It is not an authoring tool, however. It does not provide a particularly rich environment for editing, and particularly not for collaborative editing. Most people get tired of the wordpress authoring tool very quickly, as it’s just not suited for serious scientific authoring. Nor does it provide good facilities for collaborative editing; normally, only one person can see a draft post, so you cannot pass this around between several authors. http://process.knowledgeblog.org/3The KnowledgeBlog site encourages people to use their current authoring tools and treat the KnowledgeBlog WordPress platform as a publishing and review system. Others are more positive about WordPress as an editor. Martin Fenner, for example is a tireless promoter of the practice. And the Digress.it help recommends using WordPress to create content from scratch, the opposite of the advice coming from KnowledgeBlogs:
We recommend using the WordPress editor directly for a number of reasons:And then there’s Annotum. The site says:
- Multiple authors can easily collaborate on a single document;
- A complete revision history of the document is maintained with the ability to roll-back to earlier versions;
- This method produces a web-ready document, native to WordPress, and avoids the two-stage process of ‘re-publishing’ on your Digress.it site; and
- You can easily embed video and other objects.
Annotum will build upon the WordPress platform as a foundation, filling in the gaps by providing the following additional features:And a long list of other features. There is no code to show yet, though. late last year:
- Rich, web-based authoring and editing:
- “What you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) authoring with rich toolset (equations, figures, tables, citations and references)
- coauthoring, comments, version tracking, and revision comparisons
- Strict conformance to a subset of the NLM journal article publishing tag set
The Co-Authors Plus Plugin enables multiple authors per article. Each author can be linked to an author page for displaying biographical info. WordPress could be extended to include additional info such as institution or past publications. Linking the WordPress user account to the unique author identifier ORCID, and describing the role of the author in the paper (e.g. conceived and designed the experiments or analyzed the data) would be particularly interesting. Plugins such as Edit Flow can extend the workflow by adding custom status messages (e.g. resubmission), reviewer comments, and email notifications. http://blogs.plos.org/mfenner/2010/12/05/blogging-beyond-the-pdf/Collaboration post publication is handled by a WordPress tool that’s been a hit in the UK, and with JISC. Digress.it is a tool for public annotation and discussion of long-form documents. The JISC incarnation is at jiscpress.org. Digress.it is related to Commentpress. (They’re different things although sometimes confused with each other at least by me. See them compared here.) For a JiscPress example see this document, which has a number of comments. “DLL hell” – “Plugin hell” – many WordPress plugins and/or themes interact with each other in unpredictable ways. I found this out first hand, trying to show-off some work my team at USQ had done on an annotation system. It worked (with bugs) in a plain WordPress site, but failed completely in Martin Fenner’s demo site where there are many other plugins installed. I never got to the bottom of that. Plugins also go out out sync with the WordPress as it evolves, so a site with lots of plugins can be hard to maintain, this is also the case with systems like Drupal which have their own enthusiastic following. Some of the above systems require the content management system to be used in very particular ways – for example Digress it treats each document as a new WordPress site and asks you to upload posts in a particular order so that the Table of Contents for the site looks right. There are two issues with this kind of approach. I’m not saying that people are not already aware of these issues, but noting that they are there:
- There’s sometimes a fair bit of overhead involved in setting things up just so. Sometimes, it would make sense to automate some of the processes. Other times maybe a re-think to reduce complexity might be in order.
There is a risk of creating a new form of the proprietary lock-in we had up until recently (and arguably we still have) with document formats like Microsoft’s .doc. The documents we create in some of these systems may end up being unusable in other systems. If you author a long document in Digress.it and depend on a particular configuration of WP and, having posts in a certain order and so on for the document’s integrity, then it is essential to consider an exit strategy and an archiving strategy (more on that soon – an EPUB export might be just the ticket).
There are similar issues/risks with stuff like WordPress shortcodes such as KCite from KnowledgeBlogs. It’s a great tool for authors, allowing them to cite things in a rational way:
DOI Example – [cite source=’doi’]10.1021/jf904082b[/cite] PMID example – [cite source=’pubmed’]17237047[/cite]But it’s proprietary to a particular processing environment. If one wants to be able to re-used these documents or archive them then it is important to consider which version of the documents in WP to keep. (I’d argue that in this case best practice would be to transform the above to an RDFa representation in HTML and treat the HTML version as the version of record – more on this later in the project).
>in the document source, both of which are obviously essential to the web. For those interested in learning more about WordPress for scholarship, there’s a Google Group called WordPress for Scientists that is worth joining even if you are not a scientist and a test site that Martin Fenner has set up for WordPress plugins. [This is a repost from the jiscPub project – please comment over there: http://jiscpub.blogs.edina.ac.uk/2011/05/10/wordpress/ ]
Copyright Peter Sefton, 2011-05-09. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Australia. <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/au/>
This post was written in OpenOffice.org, using templates and tools provided by the Integrated Content Environment project.