Some practicalities and ground rules, since this project is an opportunity to work out some strategies for organizing and carrying out collaborative research efforts:
A log is like a research notebook, in that it's a place to collect what was done or decided or discovered and what the researcher thought about from day to day. It seems that a web form should be more useful because it can be distributed and easily updated --members of a team can know more about what others are doing. Just how detailed to make log entries is a matter of personal style and taste I suppose, but at a minimum it seems worthwhile to
I'm figuring that we can get them started with logs (using Netscape Composer if nothing else) first thing on Monday morning. Personal agenda is to get people using the web as a 'productivity tool', at least partly to find out how to do that better.
- record decisions
- summarize progress with discrete tasks
- articulate questions that arise
- provide a place to put hypertext links that others might find interesting (to external or local web pages)
It might be worthwhile to experiment with a 3-frame log display page, less for invidious comparisons than for an easy way to keep track of group progress.
Some questions I'd like to know the answers to (some probably dumb --but there's a lot to learn about Access):
An observation: it's probably advantageous to have a linked separate table for the annotations --the table would have the primary key field and perhaps author and title fields for easy identification, but its main purpose would be to house the annotations.
I'm experimenting with Access 97's 'publish to the web' function, initially just trying the Wizard to create a static version of the database. A dynamic version is also a possibility, so they say. Of course at 1.8MB it's too big to be sensible in this form, but the initial question is: does it work? well.... takes forever, and stalled on the Mac but did finally come up on the PC.
Some bibliographic bits for exploration, indicative of the vast amount of stuff that's out there:
From some searches via www.google.com:
Set up a temporary home page at http://miley.wlu.edu/bomb/
Developing an absolutely foolproof and easy-to-do backup strategy for the database is important. Should be daily, should involve more than one location/medium (even servers can crash...). No big deal, but far better sooner than later...
Clearly, consistency will be Meredith's and maybe also Ginger's first worry. Besides the question of spelling, there's also the matter of bibliographic format --everything will need to be checked for correctness. Another phase will look at the subjects to check for completeness (are all the names one would expect to find in fact there?) and coverage (are the really essential Einstein (Fermi/von Neumann/etc.) sources present?).
2 June 1999
John Blackburn and I met with Frank Settle to talk about organization for the R.E. Lee project. Elements: the Access database is on the L: drive (L:/chemistry/bomb/), consists of 17 fields and 1157 items, and the basic tasks are to annotate many of the items and build an interface to make them accessible. John and I are hoping to (1) learn about Access and (2) conduct some experiments in collaborative research, using some form of document sharing, some sort of daily logging, and some combination(s) of software for editing and display. Cindy made a test page for frames, to accord with my wish to have a means to display (e.g.) logs simultaneously.
I extracted the subject codings, discarded blank cells, then alphabetized the 2588, to get some idea of what the universe is that we're working with. I find 425 subjects, including various misspellings which need correction in the Access database (but leaving out differences in capitalization --von Neumann/Von Neumann)
I also extracted the names and locations (though there may be a few that are miscoded) to get a sense of what-all is contained in the database.
1 Mar 1999
Here's a link to DOE INformation Bridge, a source of FULL TEXT from DOE-sponsored report literature --2 million+ pages at the moment
27 July 1998
Following a conversation with Frank Settle I gathered the following links to some interesting-looking treatments of the Manhattan Project: