Re: A bit of bomb throwing....

From: Zack Rosen <>
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2006 21:46:35 -0800

> I've read your blog post and I your emails here but I don't really
> get it. You write in your blog that
> "Researchers need to stop thinking of themselves as researchers and
> start thinking of themselves as implementors."
> But researchers *aren't* implementors, they *are* researchers. They
> are researchers because they want to do research. Their main aim is
> to advance the state of knowledge, to get published, and to keep
> their funding agencies happy. Extending a description logic or
> creating a new social network analyis algorithm is research -- if
> you do it right you solved a problem that humanity has never solved
> before. Getting Drupal to work with RDF is not usually research--
> it's not going to get you published, or a PhD, or tenure.
> Researchers are not some idle pool of labor looking for work. They
> have specific aims of their own and they have to please the people
> who fund them. David Huynh is working on a PhD. I'm sure he wants
> to make Solvent a rock solid and wildly popular tool, but if it
> comes down to pleasing users or finishing the PhD, he's probably
> gonna pick the the PhD--as he should.

Sure this is how academia works. I get that. But this model simply
will not be an effective vehicle for creating the semantic web.

> You ask "Why aren't these tools being employed in real world use
> cases? Why are they being built in silo'd development
> environments? Why aren't researches collaborating effectively
> with organizations, businesses, and open-source developers
> actively pursuing semantic web concepts? "
> Because real world use cases are real real hard. Inter-organization
> communication and collaboration is really hard. Software
> development is painful enough when everyone involved works for the
> same company; when various organizations have different agendas and
> needs, cutting through the communication overhead and zeroing in on
> the concrete benefit and still having enough time to do your actual
> research is just too hard. A silo'd environment is much easier to
> cope with--you run much less risk of wasting months of effort and
> having nothing to show for it. It's much easier (and much less
> risky) to pick a small niche of knowledge and make advances in that
> niche.
> There are plenty of researchers who like to create cool tools, but
> most of the time they are doing it as something of a hobby between
> their paper writing and grant getting.
> If you really want of team of implementors, you're going to have to
> hire some. Or you can get a bunch of bobbyists interested in your
> use case, but it seems like the best way to do that is to put in a
> lot of the effort yourself.
> As a few here have mentioned, I find it a little bizarre that you
> single out one of the research groups that seems most interested in
> generating running software that actually does something useful.
> Maybe it would help if you were a little more concrete about what
> you want to see and what tools you think are lacking. There are
> tools out there--I got a decent little semantic web application
> going with a bit of python, bash scripts and XSL. You can't just
> throw an application together, but this *is* software--like a lot
> of software, it often takes some work to get the pieces working
> together.

Why is Dspace being created as it's own stand alone and thus dead-
ended CMS? Why not build DSpace on top of an already highly adopted
open-source CMS? This would let DSpace prove it's use within the
domain of libraries and allow all other organizations utilizing the
CMS DSpace is built with directly leverage the technology and
techniques towards their real world use cases.

Received on Tue Jan 17 2006 - 05:46:08 EST

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