On 11-08-24 09:17 AM, Doug Reside wrote:
> Hmmm...in some ways I think money might get in the way, as it often
> limits institutional and personal commitment to only what was paid
> for. What I'm proposing is an open source development effort on
> mutually beneficial tools. Many projects/scholars need a page
> turner/XML editor/variorum-edition-viewer but most develop these
> independently. What if the TEI used what limited funds and political
> capital it has to organize and direct development efforts where the
> only payment is that you're building something you need anyway.
I wasn't talking only about money; I was talking mainly about time.
Here's a concrete example:
Some years ago I wrote, as part of my job, on UVic time, the Image
Markup Tool version 1. It's a pure TEI tool designed to help mark up
images in TEI. I now have a plan for version 2 of that tool, and I've
set up the project (C++, cross-platform, open-source), and even written
some code, but a recent attempt to get support from my institution for
my spending time on the project completely failed. In order to get
permission to spend time working on a project, I need to have it
sponsored by a faculty member as part of a project they're doing; and
nobody is willing or able to do this. Nowadays, there appears to be
mechanism by which my university can say to me "This is a good idea and
broadly useful for many people both here and elsewhere, so spend time on
it." So the project will languish, as I can only work on it in my spare
time, and I hardly have any of that at the moment.
This is a relatively new situation. Up to about three years ago, we had
substantial institutional support for generic tool-building, and created
many broadly-useful tools as a result. I think the change is partly due
to financial constraints, and the desire to quantify and control what we
do, and demonstrate its immediate value to the home institution. There
are lots of good reasons for that, but it's undeniably dispiriting for
people who want to develop generic tools.
I take your point about the TEI taking a stronger role in organizing and
encouraging tool development, but I think it's generally the case that
the most successful open-source projects are those which have a single
leader, or a very small cadre of leaders, who are passionately involved
over a long period of time. I don't know if organizational support from
TEI would help or hinder that.
> On Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 11:39 AM, Sebastian Rahtz
> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> On 24 Aug 2011, at 16:26, Martin Holmes wrote:
>>>> What if the TEI now devoted its energies and financial resources to
>>>> sponsoring community open source tool building efforts.
>>> I would really welcome this. It's remarkably difficult to get
>>> institutional support for generic tool-building these days; everything
>>> has to be tied to a specific project, or a specific grant, with no
>>> prospect of realistic broader application and no hope of continued
>>> development and support.
>> I would observe that there _is_ loads of tool development
>> for doing stuff with TEI. Good work from, eg, Textgrid people,
>> and the things around publishing in France.
>> But remember that this is chicken and egg stuff. We came into this discussion
>> with the observation that TEIC has badly falling income. Yes, it would
>> be great if it "sponsored" open source tools, but there is no serious
>> cash in the kitty to _pay_ people to work on them. So we'd still
>> be expecting institutions to pay the programmer salary.
>> If Mr Mellon or Mr Google would grant the TEI $100k a year
>> to commission small-scale tool development, I think we'd
>> find ways to spend that wisely. But "if only I had
>> a rich uncle" cuts no ice. There is money out there,
>> but it needs commitment and hard graft to get it.
>> Sebastian Rahtz
>> Head of Information and Support Group
>> Oxford University Computing Services
>> 13 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6NN. Phone +44 1865 283431
>> Sólo le pido a Dios
>> que el futuro no me sea indiferente
University of Victoria Humanities Computing and Media Centre
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