Keynote #2: catfish, cthulhu, code, clouds and Levenshtein distance
The final half-day of Code4Lib 2010 began with a roving, sublimely geeky keynote address by Paul Jones, Director of ibiblio.org (you know – host of project Gutenberg, etc.). His opening challenge: “What is the levenshtein distance between Paul Jones and Cathy Marshall?” Little did he know that zoia the irc bot can compute levenshtein distances on the fly. From this opening volley, he galloped through brain science, geek slang, asbergers, quality control, zombies, physical anthropology and catfish.
If you take a look at the code4lib irc log you can tell exactly when Paul posed the levenshtein distance challenge (14:17:31 UTC/GMT) and exactly when he asked the audience to provide their answers (14:48:49 UTC/GMT).
[14:48:49] <gsf> @levenshtein “cathy marshall” “paul jones” [14:48:49] <zoia> gsf: The levenshtein distance of cathy marshall and paul jones is 12.
- Batch OCR using Open Source Tools – Jonathan Brinley
- VuFind at Western Michigan University – Birong Ho
- Please clean my data! – Vinita Tuteja, National Library of Australia
- Library a la Carte update – Kim Griggs and Michael Klein
- Serving Fedora content using Drupal and Fedora content models and disseminators – Alexander O’Neill, University of Prince Edward Island
- Library Values for the Internet – Jodi Schneider
- GroupFinder: Who/What/Where/When for patrons at your library – Joe Ryan, NCSU
- Digital Video Made Easier – Datastore and conversion using video APIs (YouTube, blip.tv): Jason Clark, Montana State University
- EAD, APIs, and Cooliris: providing access to digitized archival materials. – Tim Shearer
Final Presentations: Developing Mobile Apps and Developing bots for Google Wave
This year’s conference ended with one presentation about Google Wave and two about Mobile App Development.
Sean Hannan’s You Either Surf or You Fight: Integrating Library Services with Google Wave. Wave is Google’s next-gen communication/collaboration/publishing platform built from this premise:
Email is based on the only metaphor we had for text communication — the postal mail system. Given our contemporary idioms of emails, instant messaging, blogs, microblogs, VOIP, video teleconferencing, and collaborative document editing (ie. Google Docs), what would you get if you reinvented email today?
After a heraldic launch last year, Google Wave has been slow to gain traction even with the most adventurous of technology early adopters. Wave is definitely visionary, but it also might be a technology before its time — Either that, or next year you will be reading these posts via Wave and you will wonder “How did people ever communicate without this?” Time will tell.
When Sean polled the room to see who already had Wave accounts, almost all of the 250 people raised their hands but nobody was logged into their accounts. This bears testimony to both the tech fashion-forwardness of Code4Lib and Wave’s lack of traction as a tool that people might actually use.
Sean talked through the process of building, running and debugging an interactive bot for Wave that allows you to query some of Johns Hopkins web services on the fly from a “wavelet” in Google Wave. His bot is called uncle-milty and is located at http://uncle-milty.appspot.com