Open Licensing in Health IT

John Halamka, renowned CIO of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), is a blogger, and he just added a Creative Commons license after making the following remarks: I want my blog to be used for education, training, and research. I hope that its contents appear in derivative works such as other blogs, websites, and wikis. I’d prefer that these derivative works be openly shared. I would also ask that any material that is repurposed has attribution to me as the author. Content from my blog should not be sold. Charging for access to that which I make freely available … Continue reading Open Licensing in Health IT

Distributed Data Stores: the birth of a new layer in the stack

I learned web programming in 1995, when a SQL database for storing your data was the obvious choice, but the options were still few, expensive, and slow. Since then, the SQL database has become ubiquitous, and the options are many, including at least two very solid free/open-source solutions. But when it comes to large datasets, the paradigm for data storage is in the early stages of a radical shift towards distributed data stores. Google’s got its own (BigTable). Amazon’s got its own (Dynamo). And now Facebook, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, and other web sites with large datasets are moving in the same … Continue reading Distributed Data Stores: the birth of a new layer in the stack

Putting the “End” in EndNote.

EndNote is a tool used commonly by a number of academics for adding endnote references to their papers. You keep an EndNote library of references, and you can easily add them to your Word document as you type your paper. So, this is a classic example of a file format that becomes vastly more useful if other programs can produce and read the EndNote file format. Web sites that list publications can also list their EndNote citation string, and individual researchers can publish an EndNote library of all of their publications. The network effect around a file format, it’s beautiful. … Continue reading Putting the “End” in EndNote.

Bridging the Clickable and Data Webs

Over the last few years, I’ve been the Creative Commons representative to the World Wide Web Consortium (w3c). This means that I work with a bunch of great folks on web standards, specifically trying to define solutions that will help Creative Commons. Since 2005, I’ve led a w3c task force on RDFa, which is a standard to help you add extra markup to your web pages to make them more easily machine-readable. The idea is that, if your browser can recognize the title, authors, copyright license and many other attributes of a web page, then it can be a lot … Continue reading Bridging the Clickable and Data Webs

Why I’m switching to Yahoo Search

[Disclaimer: Yahoo supports RDFa, which is a specification I’ve worked on. So, obviously, I’m excited. But hey, that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.] Yahoo recently announced SearchMonkey, and for the first time in 10 years, I have a reason to switch search engines, from Google to Yahoo (In fact, I just did that in Firefox.) Most web-savvy engineers know that online services succeed in big ways when they become platforms: when other developers can expand on the functionality in ways not foreseen by the original developers. Yahoo is the first to figure out how to do just that with a major … Continue reading Why I’m switching to Yahoo Search