OpenWetWare:Steering committee/Meeting - October 2007

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audio from the meeting

SC Reports

Brief reports on the month's activity should be written by each chair 2 days before the SC meeting. At the meeting each chair will bring up any open issues that require discussion, but won't need to recount everything described below.



  • Nature wikiReviews -- they are just going to try out one review, I think it's going to go nowhere unless they make a more serious effort. I offered to have them periodically publish reviews that live on OWW in the meantime: we would serve as a sort of buffer (in that we're OK with non-peer reviewed content) and also would provide a support base for wiki-editing / scientists who are already familiar with it. Will let you know if anything comes of it. In the meantime, if anyone is interested in following up with another publisher about this, I suspect there would be some takers.
    • Sri talked with cold spring harbor press who is interested in something similar.


News and highlights

  • MIT course 20.109 is highlighted this month, and I hope to do a highlight on PHYC500 in November. For now, there is a link to the OWW blog portal as a news item. I also am unable to make the SC meeting this month.
    • We will replace the community portal link on the main page with a permanent link to the blogs
    • Bill suggested having an RSS feed from the blogs on the main page for a little while once posts pick up...


  • Recent Survey Stats: Julius B. Lucks 09:40, 4 October 2007 (EDT)
    • The survey has been live for 18 days
    • There have been almost 100 views of the survey
    • There have been 14 surveys filled

I suggest leaving the survey as a news item for the rest of October. I suspect though that we are going to need to advertise it in a more proactive way if we are to get feedback from a significant portion of the oww community.

  • Bill will work w/ Sri to put together a mailing list of all OWW users to use in case of a site outage, etc.


Lots of neato stuff happened. Bill:

And Austin:

  • uninstalled the google maps extensions (try wibbit if you now want a map, i.e. see OpenWetWare:Map)
  • and the ShowHide extension (replaced by toggle)
  • and installed wibbit, the Exhibit mediawiki extension. You can see it's table editor in the row of editing icons now. The table editor is pretty awesome. We need some documentation/outreach explaining the new tool to existing users.
  • more info here: OpenWetWare:Software/Extensions#Removed_extensions

Wordpress blogs:

  • Bill is working on a way to syndicate the blogs through, which speeds up google indexing and provides analytics
  • and will eventually find a way to reconcile the wordpress and oww user tables so they are the same
  • for now email Jason if you or someone you know wants to have a blog hosted by OWW. We should document and streamline this process.
  • for now the blog portal is linked from the oww mainpage as a news item, but soon it should be possible (with the rss extensions and feedburner) to provide a dynamic list of recent posts

Add comments and suggestions etc. about extensions and other software topics to OpenWetWare:Software#Comments

I'm going to compose these updates into a more readable form and post them to the SC blog with a 'software' tag -Mac Cowell

    • Mac also suggested doing a screencast after the




RSS feeds

  • Bill will provide details on which of the RSS extensions is the best for long term maintenance (e.g. cleanest code, best developer community) and we'll decide on 1 of them by next SC meeting.\
  • Reshma mentioned one of them showing an empty date field
  • They should support pictures and links
  • Barry brought up that long-term maintenance is a critical part of the decision, Bill will debrief on that on the wiki.

New User Page auto-generation

  • We will move over Julius' page as a starting point
  • Reshma suggested that it not be loaded with templates or anything -- it doesn't need to look pretty, more important that it be understandable.
  • Maureen said that getting familiar with wiki formatting is a major roadblock for new users, so we should definitely include examples of the most commonly used things (tables, bullets, etc).
  • Also, how to use the discussion within the wiki -- e.g. automatically post something to their talk page so that they get a welcome message, and it can explain how to give a similar message to another OWW user.

Wikiomics move

  • Austin mentioned that we could lock the pages and then have people categorize ones that should be moved.
  • Main problem is that we can't get ahold of people with permissions on the DB

Word import

  • Bill will talk with Scott Mohr and Steve Koch to get some sample word docs that would be useful to convert to wiki to test a new word->wiki extension. If you've got a pile of protocols (or anything else useful) in word format, get in touch with Bill to use it as part of the trial.

Lab Notebook

  • There is a meeting tomorrow (Friday, 10/5) at Noon EST for brainstorming lab notebook features. Please call in to help make OWW lab notebooks usable.


  • We can get an unlimited # of DOIs for 5K since we can get our own prefix. The problem is that those aren't official until they are registered, and each one costs ~$1 to register with an accredited DOI Registrar (like CrossRef).
  • So it wouldn't be cost effective to put a DOI on every history page.
  • Sri suggested making the journals have clearer policies about accepting wiki links rather than squeezing links into DOI.
  • Ricardo mentioned that Nature Preceedings has DOIs with versions that might be worth looking into.