[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Axiom-developer] Re: LatexWiki

From: Bob McElrath
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Re: LatexWiki
Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2006 19:46:38 -0700
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.11+cvs20060403

Page, Bill address@hidden wrote:
> Dear "Ivan pretending-to-do-reseach-student-of-physics Savov",
> > PS:
> > My real goal is to create a research-and-writing-portal for
> > scientists based on Zope and Plone.
> Talk to Bob. :)

Yeah, me too!  :)  But I have so little time these days...

> > The first step it to create something useful for my own research
> > so that I can organize ideas. I think of it as an annotated
> > bibliography: links interleaved with my comments (in Latex) so
> > that I know what is important and what isn't.
> Sounds familiar. You should feel free to try what you like at

For personal use, I think tiddlywiki is fantastic, and I've made a latex
addition for it:
This is what I have been using in the time since I basically abandoned
latexwiki.  I use the "ziddlywiki" backend.

> > PS2: The grand scheme of things
> > In the long run, I want to build a super-duper-mega research
> > portal that will allow discussion and cooperation on any research
> > topic. The idea is to organize and structurize different ressources
> > like wikipedia, and other people's personal weblogs.
> > There will be folderish objects for Physics with a subfolded
> > Quantum Mechanics and a subfolder Quantum Informaiton Theory. Then
> > different people can add links to papers in QIT with their own
> > personal comments. A newcomer to the field should then be able to
> > immediately see what the important papers in the field are and know
> > what to read first... something a stupid text search can't really
> > provide.
> Well, that is rather grand... ;) But I predict that any effort
> like this is doomed to failure by a very simple fact: The ratio of
> the number people who read a wiki web site, to the number of people
> who will actually contribute to it, is a very big number - maybe
> as high as 10,000 or even 100,000 to 1 - a fact that is sadly
> born-out by the monthly web statistics for the Axiom Wiki. The only
> reason why a project like wikipedia succeeds is that it's goals are
> even grander than yours. Like Computer Algebra, Physics is just to
> "small" a subject.

I like your idea and have had many similar ideas myself.  At a
conference in March at fermilab, it was widely discussed that such a
thing would be a great thing to have.  Grand plans were made.  I spent a
weekend or two hacking Plone.  Another post-doc who is far less picky
than me set up a MediaWiki. ( and a
separate discussion forum  Despite the
wide consensus that this was a good idea, it's not being used.  I think
people in academia tend to spend their time writing papers, and can't
seem to justify time spent editing a wiki.  (That's true for me anyway)
It's a "critical mass" problem.  I have ideas how to solve it, but I'm
not excited about the sites above...

I still think this is a worthwhile goal, and if you want to devote time
to this I would love to discuss further.  I have some code here you
might be interested in as well.  e.g. an XHTML+MathML+SVG version of
Plone and a python tool like itex2MML which can convert tex to MathML.
I also wanted an integrated discussion/mailing list, and was sorely
disappointed in the options for Plone.  A lot of work, a lot of promise,
and nothing currently usable.  (Plone seems to be a wasteland of
half-finished projects)  I also looked hard at ATBibliography, so that I
can put \arxiv{hep-ph/1234567} and have it automatically generate a
bibliography reference by retrieving the data from the web.  The folks
at SPIRES ( were even kind enough
to offer their database for this use.  You mention wikipedia and weblogs
as well...from a professional physicist's standpoint these are kind of
the equivalent of a sixth-grader's book report and the bathroom wall,
respectively.  The real resources are on the arxiv and in journals.
Links to blogs which *discuss* a specific paper would be interesting
though, but blogs are not useful as a primary source of anything at all.

Anyway, lots of ideas, lots of interesting things to do.  I'd be happy
to discuss further.

P.S. Hello from Vancouver.  ;)  I'm on your turf at a conference until

Bob McElrath [Univ. of California at Davis, Department of Physics]

    Only after you've tried to figure something out for yourself and
    failed are you ready to absorb "the answer."

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: Digital signature

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]