Welcome to the Open Repository blog


I spent a little time yesterday brushing up on good blogging techniques and one of the lessons I’ve been reminded of is to keep the titles of posts relevant. I think this one is up to scratch. So welcome to BioMed Central‘s Open Repository blog. It’s good to get started on the right foot.

I recently had a conversation with someone about why we would need a blog for Open Repository (and from now on I’m going to use the shorthand of OR). OR is a strange beast.  It is it’s own project that is also bound to developments in the DSpace software community, both of which are tied in to ongoing changes within the field of institutional repositories. There’s a lot going on.

Over time I’ve been asked about various levels of communication with respect to the three areas listed above. We could have set up various email lists for different information strands. But emails require a formality that doesn’t necessarily always lend itself to the intended message. Nor do they particularly lend themselves to group discussion.

This blog should become our central point of information, not only about ongoing project developments but also issues of wider interest, some of which will affect the project, others that may just be of interest to repository managers and the repositories community. Reading of all posts is not mandatory; comments are encouraged, especially if they become conversations. 

Urgent announcements will of course still be sent out by email, but in the meantime, set up your RSS feeds and let us know what you think. 

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Marlene Schooler

Just read a really plausible novel called The Prophesy Gene. The main characters uncover a number of unintended genetic mutations as a result of the 1980s Aral Sea environmental disaster in Central Asia and the accidental release of a genetically modified strain of anthrax.  The author makes a pretty scary claim that mankind is stifling its own evolution by premeditated and accidental genetic engineering and mutations because we can’t possibly understand all of the consequences to ecosystems and dormant genetic sites and the food chain when we monkey with this stuff.  For example, some people eat oxen that have grazed on mutated vegetation and those people’s digestive systems irreparably stop working.  Or some dangerous fungus that humans eradicate because it causes disease but they don’t realize that it also sequesters carbon dioxide and could reverse global warming.  But I think the best one is that if it wasn’t for scientist’s genetic meddling, humans might one day evolve senses that bats and sharks have like hunting by their internal sonar or the ability that butterflies and some birds have to navigate by the earth’s magnetic field.  The book is by Stuart Schooler.  His website is http://www.stuartschooler.com and there’s a link to a blog and a Youtube video (http://vimeo.com/53365895).