The Taverna Knowledgeblog

Today I am sat in a room with a fairly large group of people, who all work on the Taverna project. They are writing a Knowledgeblog book about the workflow manager, and I am providing help and technical assistance as a part of my role on the Knowledgeblog project. As well as producing a hopefully useful product (a beginner’s guide to Taverna), we are testing some of the procedures and products that we have been working on over the last few months on the project.

Posts on a Knowledgeblog now have several features that were in our plan for the project. Specifically, post revisions are now publicly exposed, providing a public provenance trail, and preventing someone from ‘unsaying’ anything without the proper process. The editorial workflow is better defined than it was for Ontogenesis (the Knowledgeblog prototype), meaning requests for reviews and the provision of the reviews themselves should be more streamlined, and despite the approach to today, doesn’t require all of the collaborators on a publication to be sitting in the same room (for this we are using the excellent EditFlow plugin, which provides ‘editorial comments’ on posts, and can fire email events upon certain, pre-defined, operations).

Posts can have multiple authors, which, combined with the ability to author posts in genuinely collaborative tools such as Google Docs (as opposed to totally non-collaborative tools like Word documents shared by email, although you can write posts like that too if you like), allows jointly authored posts to be both simple to generate and properly attributed. Finally, easy to generate tables of contents, for both posts and whole sites, makes navigating the content simple.

There are still a number of pieces of the puzzle that need to be slotted into place for us to have a fully functional platform, but I can’t help but feel we’re getting there. As I mentioned, I was here for technical support, and I didn’t really have a massive amount to do today (I spent most of it tinkering with the chosen theme to get it to support CoAuthors Plus).

The next major step will be a plugin to assist with citing papers and generating bibliographies that I am currently in the process of writing, more on that in a future post. I agree with many of Martin Fenner’s points in his post of a few days ago, citations are not currently well supported by WordPress, or any plugins so far. I am working on the dynamic generation of citations and bibliographies from specific tags within posts. This should allow for simple management of referencing by authors, and provide a range of tools for readers of articles, such as BibTeX/RIS export and on-the-fly bibliography reformatting.

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