Thursday, December 20, 2012

e-ScienceTalk signs MoU with Blog Forever

Without the social web, it could be argued that the Arab Spring may never have happened. Even if it had, would it have happened as quickly as it did, or on the same scale? It may not have. Without the critical mass of people emboldened by a sense of social momentum, a nascent movement for change could have been more readily quashed, reversed or obliterated, whether by the brute force of oppression or by perceived powerlessness among the populace. But movements given weight by Web 2.0 have shaken the World and mainstream media has adapted, with forward-thinking press encouraging their staff to blog, microblog and engage in all kinds of social discourse with their readers.

The volume and velocity of news and comment we are able receive in a switched-on world continues to increase, but the flip-side of this is that the rich tapestry of different viewpoints offered by the blogosphere is not permanent, but transient. We still have the writings of Ada Lovelace, Samuel Pepys, Leonardo Da Vinci and Aristotle to offer us insight to historical events through individual accounts (paper doesn’t change its terms of service), but ours is the first generation that risks leaving no permanent written record. At a time when the technologies needed to understand this rich tapestry of Big Data in what is becoming known as ‘eHumanities’ is just being developed, losing some of that data is nothing short of disastrous.

BlogForever is a European project that aims to preserve blogs for posterity. The platform is dependent on two main pieces of software: Cyberwatcher, a web data crawler developed by a small company of the same name, and the digital repository application Invenio, developed at CERN. Before the end of the project in summer 2013, the whole tool will be made open source, says Ilias Trochidis from the project. BlogForever is currently working with a number of blogs to test the platform, and discussions have taken place that could see GridCast included in this list.

BlogForever is a timely project with a unique and very necessary goal of preserving blogs for future researchers, and e-ScienceTalk are very proud to announce that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed with BlogForever.

This may be the last blog of 2012, so keeping watching and I’m sure we’ll have some really exciting news from all aspects of e-Science early in January 2013!

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