Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Choosing a proper noun for a Project Name

So, you've got a great idea for a project / research group / lab / product. It's going to change your field and soon, everyone will know your name. But, what is your name?

Some people are tempted to choose a name or a acronym that spells out a word in the dictionary. Maybe something that evokes a characteristic they want their project to embody. Maybe you decide to call your new lab "TIGER" because you are developing orange and black striped organisms.


But before you choose the name, consider the downsides of this decision. Until you are more famous than tigers, it will be almost impossible to track yourself on the web. There will already be thousands of people out there using your name as a word, rather than to refer to your activities. Someone who loves Tigers will beat you to the Twitter username "Tiger". The Detroit Tigers will always rank higher than you on Google. Many of your visitors will leave the moment they realize they aren't going to find any photos of Tigers on your site. And your would-be visitors will have to try strange combinations of of search words just to find you.

Using a combination of upper case and lower case letters to write your name often does not help. Many search functions ignore capitalization so your search for "TiGeR" will return the same results as "TIGER" or "tiger".

So when choosing a name, maybe it would be better if you went with something a bit more obscure, like "Omeka".

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thomson Reuters harassing Zotero community

I, along with presumably 285 other people who are interested in Zotero's development got this email this afternoon:
Dear Zotero Development Community Members,

First off, please allow me to apologize for clogging your inbox with this unsolicited message, but I hope you'll understand that the severity of the situation requires me to contact you. In its ongoing litigation with George Mason University, Thomson Reuters has demanded that the university produce contact information (name, email, and username) associated with all two hundred eighty-six Zotero SVN/Trac accounts.

We can think of no use Thomson Reuters's counsel would have for this information other than to intimidate and harass you, and we made every effort to avoid turning over this information until compelled. We have requested that the contact information be placed under protective order, which in principle means that only the lawyers involved should have access to the information. Nonetheless, we feel it is our obligation to notify you that we are being forced to release this data. Please note that you are in no way required or requested to keep this disclosure confidential. If you are contacted by Thomson Reuters or their attorneys in connection with this lawsuit, please do let us know.

We deeply apologize for this encroachment on your privacy, and we sincerely hope that it does not dissuade you from remaining active members of the Zotero development community.