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Goals for 2009

As always, there’s a lot on my plate, but, in addition to smaller tweaks to handle odd characters and improve the scrapers, I’m hoping to make these some of the top priorities for 2009.

Prettification

Our student aide Serena Epstein has been doing some wonderful work to style up the Exhibits, including a nifty background image and much cleaner layout. There are a few odd tweaks we’re working on, but we should get those beaten into submission soon.

Moving to Talis Platorm

For both performance and stability, I’m (still) planning to move the datastore from its current home into the Talis Platform. They’ve helped me get set up with an account — now I just need to learn some things and finally block out the time to make the move.

Play with Linked Open Data

There is a fair number of links that can play nicely with the Linked Open Data cloud. One example I’m particularly interested in is links to the Internet Movie DataBase. Those links will give access to open data about the movies, and I’d like to turn that into some Exhibits for movie buffs — for example by having an Exhibit of movies and blog posts, with faceted browsing by the stars of the movies.

Integrate Course Information

This is actually the long-term biggie. It’s (I hope) great to have these Exhibits for browsing the blog activity. But the ultimate goal is to be able to find blogs based on course information — departments, topics studies, textbooks used, etc. One example question I’d like to address is, “I’m teaching Frankenstein in my history of science class. Who else is teaching it, in what department(s), what textbooks are they using, and what perspectives are they bringing to it, where are they blogging about it, and what else is on the syllabus?” Okay, that’s more than one question. But you get the idea. I’ve put up a new version of an information structure to help make this happen on my more technical blog (danger! thar be heavy geekery!). The next step is to find a happy way to build an interface for gathering all this info (and making it worthwhile for people to contribute it!).

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