BayesFF – Interview: Phil Barker
Phil Barker, research associate at Heriot-Watt university and learning technology advisor at CETIS, explains how BayesFF will help researchersWhat is BayesFF?It helps researchers who want to keep up to date with the research that has been published in their area to monitor what has been published in journals by filtering out all of the stuff they are not interested in.What problems/issues is BayesFF tackling?The first is that while it’s a good idea and we know that the principle works for spam filters, we don’t know whether it will work for the specific interests of researchers and the specific data we can get for journal table of contents. So one need was to check and show that it works. The other need is that the software that is currently available is primitive or it’s built up into a monolithic do-everything content management system (CMS) of some sort and what we want to provide is something that is usable from a distance so that you can use it from an API – you don’t have to be logged into the system to use it.How would you like other software developers and users to get involved in what you are doing?As we write different parts of the API there should be different functions they can test and work and see if it works for their data which may be different from our data. So we’re interested in researchers who have a diverse range of RSS feeds to try it and programmers from other systems who want to present this kind of personalised filtering to try it.What developer communities have you been involved in and if none, why not?The JISC community, obviously, for a number of years and we’re basing the work we’re doing on an existing open source CMS, SUX0R, and so we’re involved in that community as well.What is the coolest or most exciting thing in educational software development?The possibility of linking together open educaional resources and the use of some of the WordPress functionality like Commentpress and Righttoreply – linking them together is very good as it means that students could do group blogs with comments drawing in material from universities around the world eg a video from MIT, text from somewhere else and bring them together for discussion.