Came down to London last night; forgotten quite how much I dislike this place. Within 10 minutes, I found myself turning into a miserable enemy-of-humanity, having experienced the isolation and rudeness characteristic of the place. Of course, it has to be admitted that the first (re)experience of London involves travelling in the tube, at 5.30, with luggage. Truly, London at its worse. Still, spent the evening, outside the pub, with Aengus Stewart from CRUK; highly entertaining discussion, which is, I guess, London at it’s best.

(Slight pause here…Duncan Hull keeps leaning over my shoulder commenting on this post as I write it…this is not how it supposed to happen, we’re supposed to use the internet!).

The conference is at the Royal Institution — yes, finally in the lecture theatre that I have seen on the TV, having been inexplicably ignored for the last ten years by the Christmas Lecture committee. Like all these hallowed places, it’s old, the seats are not big enough to cope with the increased bum size of the modern generation, and it’s hot. Still, it kind of nice to have been here.

…several days pause…

Well, that’s it over. Was a great conference. There was lots of interesting dicussion about many different topics. The digitial identifiers session was interesting. I’ve blogged about this before, but mostly about stuff that I thought up on while cycling. The overview from Geoffrey Bilder of CrossRef was interesting. What is a scientific paper was the most interesting, while metrics was most depressing (if useful). Come to think of it, the legal and ethical issues session was also depressing; perhaps, less useful because the answer always comes down to “it depends” and “pay a lawyer lots”. Google Wave was interesting, just because it was a big media spam thing, but I’d never got around to bother looking, so this saved me half-an-hour. The science far-future session was more heat than light, but still a relaxed way to wind down.

It will be interesting to see whether this conference goes; last year it was scientific blogging. Those at last year tell me there was more companies, and particular the publishers there this year. There was some tension here, which I suspect that they will feel over time. In the future, will the conference be an experiences meeting, where people who are using online technology talk about how the technology has impacted them and their science; will it be a place for discussion of science applied to the technology itself, with lots of evidenced statements about impact; or, will it become a trade fair for those who are developing, selling and, inevitably, seeking to control the digitial manifiestation of the outcome of science.

Going to try posting this from the train on the way home. Science Online, Science Onrails.

PS Found this excellent picture of myself looking pensive.

phil_at_science_online_2009.jpg

Image copyright by Joe Dunckley, released under Creative Commons, Attribution, Share-Alike, Non Commercial.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/steinsky/3848431053/

3 Comments

  1. Maxine says:

    Just dropped in to say hello, nice to meet you – liked all your questions and observations at the meeting. All best, Maxine.

  2. Duncan Hull says:

    Does my bum look big in this (seat)? Well the venue has recently been extensively refurbished, but as Peter Murray-Rust said “they don’t have michael faradays great invention under the seats”. Good to see you, now stop being such a Grumpy Old Man, photographic evidence here.

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