It’s hard to believe that the Data Harmony Users Group Meeting starts a week from today. If I thought things were buzzing in the office a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t know what was in store for me. And since there’s so much to do, it’s definitely at the front of my mind.

The last time I wrote about DHUG 2015, I decided to focus on a few of the featured talks that really stuck out to me as particularly suited to my interests. However, the week is filled with promising and intriguing presentations, from both our clients and on the home front.

It starts from the very top with our own Margie Hlava, who kicks off DHUG 2015 with “Taxonomy 101: Fundamentals, Construction, and Application,” where she’s going to start at the beginning and walk the attendees through the whole reasoning behind taxonomies and how they can effectively be used. As a taxonomist who’s still fairly wet behind the ears, this is the kind of thing that can make a big difference for somebody like me.

With my knowledge base hopefully somewhat more beefed up, I’ll be able to hit the rest of the week running. Last time, I wrote about Helen Atkins from the Public Library of Science (PLOS), who will discuss their Fate Predictor Project. Well, we have another speaker from PLOS, as well: Jonas Dupuich. His case study, “Using MAI and the PLOS Thesaurus for Matching Activities,” will look at how they have leveraged Data Harmony’s semantic enrichment capabilities to match authors with peer reviewers based on subject matter. This speeds up the peer review process, but it also has clear relevance outside of that process.

An employer, using Data Harmony in this manner, could collect information on the skill sets of their employees (hopefully, only for good). Suddenly a strange new project comes up and the employer has to assemble teams of people with very specific skills. No more, “Hey, anybody know somebody who knows how to write technical documentation while playing water polo?” That information is right there to sift through. It not only makes searching for people faster and easier, it allows connections to be made that might otherwise get missed.

Next, we’re getting to the heart of what we do at Access Innovation with Audrey Glowacki of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Her talk, “Development and Implementation of the Site Browser: Faceted Navigation Tool for Browsing NIOSH Mining Web Site Content,” gets to the nuts and bolts of what we do. NIOSH has been a Data Harmony user for a long time. We first built a custom mining safety and health thesaurus. Next, a custom web content management system (WCMS) was developed that allows users to build custom web pages. Their feedback has been very positive, and I look forward to hearing more about how they are using the software that I myself use.

Finally, we recently got a surprise guest speaker who looks to be giving a pretty interesting talk. He’s Paul G. Kotula, an award-winning author, researcher, and peer reviewer who works in the Materials Characterization department at Sandia National Laboratories. A Google Scholar search for his name reveals over 1600 results as an author, co-author, and in citations. He knows his stuff and he knows how our clients use the content that our software enriches.

His talk, “Six Months of Work in the Lab Will Save You Half a Day in the Library or 30 Minutes Online,” will explain some of this, which should prove useful to the DHUG audience, as well as us here at Access Innovations. He’s addressing a few specific points about how people in his field use information. How do researchers use collections? What do authors of scientific papers think about the publishing and peer review processes? What sort of resources do they use and why do they think they are the best or most reliable?

Answers to these sorts of questions are the type of things that allow us to better serve our clients, or how to better relay the message of how much our software helps researchers, authors, and peer reviewers alike. It’s a real scientist talking about his real needs as a researcher and sharing his firsthand experience from the side of publishing that we often hear too little from: the authors.

With all of these talks, the training that I’m sure will teach me as much as anyone, and of course the catering, it’s going to be a week to remember. This week is going to fly by in anticipation, but I’m sure next week will go by even faster.

Daryl Loomis
Access Innovations