This Ada Lovelace Day I'd like to tell you about Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin. As the BBC put it, she was 'responsible for crucial developments in the techniques of X-ray crystallography, a method used to determine the three dimensional structures of complex organic molecules'.
She's inspiring because she was a brilliant scientist – a Nobel prizewinner for chemistry and an early woman fellow of the Royal Society – and because she was committed to hold scientists responsible for the technological and ethical changes their research created.
I'm neck-deep in assignments and work this week, so this is a very brief entry! The BBC and Wikipedia links can explain her work better than I can anyway.
[Update: I was so busy I didn't look at the time, but it turns out the Science Museum has Dorothy Hodgkin's model of pig insulin. I'm now inspired to see how many of the Royal Society's 'Most influential British women in the history of science' we can link to our collections and write about on our collections blog. If you haven't come across the blog before then I'd recommend it – I know I'm biased but the posts our curators write just keep getting better.]
I've been meaning to finish this for ages so I could post it, but then I realised it's more use in public in imperfect form than in private, so here goes – my thoughts on linked data, APIs and the Science Museum on the 'Museums and the machine-processable web' wiki. I'm still trying to find time to finish documenting my thoughts, and I've already had several useful comments that mean I'll need to update it, but I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, etc.
Wikimedia@MW2010 is a workshop to be held in Denver in April, just before the Museums and the Web 2010 conference. The goal is to develop 'policies that will enable museums to better contribute to and use Wikipedia or Wikimedia Commons, and for the Wikimedia community to benefit from the expertise in museums'.
If you've got stuff you want to say, you can dive right into the conversation – there's a whole bunch of conversations at http://conference.archimuse.com/forums/wikimediamw2010, including 'Legal and Business Model Barriers to Collaboration, 'Notability Criteria' and 'Metrics for Museums on Wikipedia'.
I'm going to be at the workshop and will do my best to represent any issues raised at the meeting. I think it's particularly important that we avoid 'Feeling glum after GLAM-WIKI' if we possibly can, so I'd like to go there with a really good understanding of the possible points of resistance, clashes in organisational culture or world view, incompatible requirements or wishlists so that they can be raised and hopefully dealt with during the in-person workshop. I'd love to hear from you if there are messages you want to pass on.
I'm also thinking about an informal meetup in London to help cultural heritage people articulate some of the issues that might help or hinder collaboration so they can be represented at the workshop – if you're a museum, gallery, archive, library or general cultural heritage bod, would that be useful for you?