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Thursday, July 05, 2007


My research

Recently, I've been pretty quiet on this blog, and people have started noticing and suggested I post more. Of course I don't need to point out what my response was...

The reason I haven't been blogging much (apart from laziness, which can never be ruled out) is that The House of Commons has become something of an IP blog. Okay, it sounds obvious, I know. And, as it seems I say at every turn, I have no background in law, and my expertise is in computer science and software engineering. And one of the unfortunate aspects of the blog as a medium is that you don't really know who's reading it. The few technical posts I've done haven't generated much feedback, but then maybe that's my fault for posting so rarely that the tech folks have stopped reading.

So the upshot of this is a renewed effort by me to post more often, even if it means technical stuff that doesn't make sense to all our readers. It's not like I'm short of things to say.

To start with, in the remainder of this post, I want to try to put in to words, as generally as possible, what I consider my research perspective to be...

Basically what I'm most interested in is the discovery of online documents that we might consider to be commons. (But remember, I'm not the law guy, so I'm trying not to concern myself with that definition.) I think it's really interesting, technically, because it's so difficult to say (in any automated, deterministic way, without the help of an expert - a law expert in this case).

And my my computer science supervisor, Associate Professor Achim Hoffman, has taught me that computer science research needs to be as broad in application as possible, so as I investigate these things, I'm sparing a thought for their applicability to areas other than commons and even law.

In upcoming posts, I'll talk about the specifics of my research focus, some of the specific problems that make it interesting, possible solutions, and some possible research papers that might come out of it in the medium term.

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Anonymous Jenine said:

interesting research topic, i am doing an IT phd on digital rights management and online music.

you might find this link of interest
Blogger Ben Bildstein said:
I just had a look at Scribd (by the way, how do you pronounce that?). It's interesting - it allows anyone, without registering, to upload documents and make them public. And by default documents are licensed with Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 3.0 (Unported).

(I tried uploading a random file I had lying around where I tried to write a program for generating prime numbers, without using assignment, in pseudocode.)
Blogger Jordan said:
Keep posting! I really enjoyed your article in SCRIPT-ed. We should talk in detail sometime soon -- I'm currently looking into use of CC and similar licences by cultural heritage orgs in the UK. One of the aspects I hope to go into is how these organisations are trying to track use and re-use of the material that they make available.
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