Wednesday, 23 May 2012

How to create a good project acronym or tag

In the modern web it is very important that your project consider branding in the form of a unique acronym (or in web parlance, a 'tag' or 'keyword').  In fact, once you have decided on what the project is going to try and achieve (after the initial brainstorm), the next thing the project should do is decide on a clever acronym.  Coincidentally, this usually tends to be one of the more enjoyable aspects of the project as it utilises that puzzle part of your brain.  Just remember not to spend too much time trying to decide on which acronym, and once you do decide your acronym, remember that it CAN NOT CHANGE. Otherwise, see below for a quick couple of tests you can do below to check to see your acronym is a good one that will help your project be found on the Web.

Why should you create a project acronym / tag? 
Imagine you are half way through your project and giving a presentation at a conference. You come to the final slide and provide a link to your project page.  The people watching quickly try and scribble down the URL.  These same people go home and one day, several weeks later, they are reminded of your project and want to look it up, however they can't seem to find the URL that you provided.  The solution: a clever, memorable acronym (ideally with an accompanying image or icon) can make all the difference, as instead of a person having to remember a URL, they are able to just go to Google and type in the acronym / tag from memory and quickly find your project.  

So you probably know what a tag is but what is a “unique” tag? Below you’ll find a quick guide on how to create a unique tag, or at least a unique-ish tag:
  • (1) Come up with some ideas for a tag. Usually people try and come up with a clever acronym based on their projects description.  Some requirements for a unique tag:
§  Your tag should be 6-12 characters in length and contain only letters (A-Z) and numbers (0-9), e.g. “fedorazon”
§  The tag should be a single “word”, no spaces should be in the tag.  Though you are welcome to compound words into a single word, e.g. “crm4uni”
§  No special characters should be included in the tag, i.e. no dashes (-), underscores (_), full stops / periods (.), commas (,) or any other character you’d have to press in combination with the “shift” key on your keyboard to create.  Just stick with single “word” combinations of A-Z and 0-9.
  • (2) Once you have some ideas for a tag, check your tag by going to Google, Bing and Yahoo search engines and typing it in.  If no more than a hundred or so pages come up with that combination of letters and numbers you most likely have a good unique-ish tag.  
    • Please note:  To have zero hits back from a search engine is obviously a truly unique tag, though we recognise this is not easy to achieve.  Ideally you want a tag that is unique but also human readable, so make sure it is easy to say out loud, as in “My project is “Shuffl” spelled with two “F’s” just look it up on Google you’ll find it”.
  • (3) Make sure the world knows what your tag means. Provide a page on the web with a matching URL describing what the tag means, for example ANDS uses the tag #andsApps to tag anything related to the programme of work relates to those collection of project. 
    •  Also, make sure your ANDS-Liaison is aware of your tag. Why? – because ANDS will look to archive your project and collect all the info about your project (including Web content, emails and reports).  
    • A unique tag makes the initial archive collection process much easier for us (as well as you and other organisation like the Internet Archive who will preserve your blog in the long term).
  • (4) Once you have a tag, use it everywhere (see ideas below) – not only because it will make it easier to find stuff but because it will help increase your search engine optimation aka “GoogleJuice”.  Though for that to happen you must make sure to pass your tag out so people will click on it lots (perhaps get some business cards with the tag on it)!
§  Use your tag on Web 2 Tools like: Wordpress, Blogger, Flickr, Twitter (via hash symbol “#”, Technorati and (last but not least) delicious.
§  Use your tag with your code repository like: GoogleCode, GitHub, Sourceforge, Bitbucket, etc.
§  Use your tag on word documents (2007/10) when you save the document there are boxes for both ‘author’ and ‘tags’ prior to clicking ’save’
§  Use your tag in the subject heading of all emails to your ANDS-Liase, this is especially helpful so your programme manager can keep track of correspodance with the various project participants.
  • (5) ONCE YOU HAVE DECIDED ON A TAG DON’T CHANGE IT. This is essential as if you change your tag half way through your project then you will lose all of the aggregation the benefits stated above.
§  Q: When should I create a tag? 
§  A: Ideally you should create a tag during bid writing stage (or even earlier if you are building on an idea <- never hurts to tag up an idea at a Eureka moment for your own notes).  
§  Most importantly for a project you should make sure that everyone knows the tag and agrees that it is a single unique tag.  The team should be refering to the project via that tag prior to the bid being submitted and should not change once the bid is funded.
§  Q: Won’t this tag get lost as more tags are added to the internet?
§  A: Potentially yes, but ideally we will have archived your content into our archive before that happens so that the data will be a coherent collection that others will be able to use in the future.
§  Q: Why is a tag for every project important to ANDS? 
§  A: By all projects having a tag we are able to start doing more quantitative analysis of data, for example text mining on various collections of projects.  If we fund several technical projects we can text mine the data produced by those projects to get an idea of what technologies are being regularly used or what is cutting edge.  This helps inform us on what kind of training events we should be putting on or what new innovation spaces we should be exploring.
§  Q: In twitter I use the hash or pound symbol (#) to tag tweets - do I always have to use the “#” symbol with my tag?  
§  A: No you do not need to use the hash symbol for other tagging tools.  For Twitter it is a good idea as it also enables you to set up a twitter archive (see Google) where you can then have your tweets saved beyond the two weeks that twitter keeps tweets!
§  Q: What if the online Web application I am using doesn’t have a tagging system, how can I tag content? 
§  A: You can set up a delicious account which enables you to tag any page with a URL of it’s own.
§  Q: What if I am confused and don’t understand tags? 
§   A: Contact your ANDS liaison who is just a phone call away 
§  Q [1] = A tag is basically a keyword you assign to help classify the information you create on the Web.  This article helps somewhat, though we use a more lossy definition of tags, see Q&A above:

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

How to appropriately acknowledge ANDS funding

We encourage you to talk / publish about your ANDS funded Apps project wherever possible, e.g. by delivering seminars about your project, producing on-line or printed materials such as newsletters, publishing Web pages, etc. 

However, when you do this, we ask you to do two things:

  • Please acknowledge ANDS and ANDS/DIISRTE funding as described in the guidelines that are found on the ANDS website. This also applies to your project blog! So, if you have such a blog, please make sure you acknowledge ANDS and ANDS funding as described above on every page.
  • Please let your ANDS contact know and give us a link to (or a copy of) the publication, seminar, etc.

Key Apps Deliverable #4 – Demonstrations of Value

Good news stories about the software and how it is adding value by helping researchers to do cutting edge research that wasn’t easy or even possible to do before, are a key deliverable in all the ANDS Apps projects, and a great topic to blog about.

These “Demonstrations of Value” are expected to:
  • result in data being transformed or integrated across multiple sources to produce new forms of information that enable innovative, high-quality research outcomes;
  • deliver value to at least one high profile research champion;
  • be relevant to a range of government portfolios; and
  • engage with National Research Capabilities.
The “value message” (i.e. WHAT value has the software added to the research process?) and an outline of the envisaged strategy for communicating of the value message to a wider audience (i.e. WHO? will present the message, through WHAT? media channels and WHEN?, will have been defined in each ANDS Applications Project Description prior to contract signing. These Deliverables will always require a high profile Researcher or Policy Maker to publicly state that the software product is allowing them to conduct research / develop policy that wasn’t possible before.

Blogging about the dissemination activities by the high-profile Research or Policy Champion themselves is perfect blog content, however any other stories about the project and interest in the product by other groups within Australia and Internationally are also excellent material for your blog. In particular, we also would love to hear about demonstrations of value and other “good news stories” that were not envisaged in the project contract - ANDS and DIISRTE are very interested in hearing that their investment is having a widespread impact.

TAGS for these types of post: EITHER andsContractedDoVs OR  andsOtherDoVs, andsValue, andsApps, fundedByAustralianNationalDataService, DIISRTE, {your project's acronym or tag}, {your ands project code, e.g. AP67}, {any other keyword tags you can think of that will help your project be discovered by like-minded projects}.

Key Apps Deliverable #3 – A Software Requirements Specification

For all ANDS funded software development projects, we require a Software Requirements Specification (SRS) near the beginning of project. There are two options:

Complete a non-public, paper document based on a traditional SRS developed by the IEEE (NOTE: Do not use this pdf document - ask your ANDS contact for the template in Microsoft Word format if you are interested in this option).

Include the same information that is found in a traditional SRS, in your own Project Blog. This way, researchers and other development teams around the world will be able to discover what great work your team is doing.

If you decide to go down the Project Blog path, there are a few basic requirements on your Blog:
We also highly encourage the use of a web analytics engine so you can monitor the readership of your Blog.

Once you have set up this blog, ANDS requires the following 6 posts (including the listed tags) which will replace the traditional SRS.  A very nice early example from the Apps projects is the  blog from the Bird Species Distribution Records project (Edgar) from JCU. Links to the relevant posts from Edgar are shown below:

·         Post 1. "PRODUCT TEAM": Example from the Bird Species Distribution Records project, Edgar (AP03).
- Who are the people on the team and what skills/tools are they going to use during the course of the project to produce your primary product?
- A team picture and/or individual pictures with bios as per each role in the team is highly encouraged.
- This is also a good place to state the licensing you will be using for the content of the blog (e.g. Creative-Commons-Attribution) - please remember to use a link to the license and the correct CC logo.
TAGS for this post: andsApps, andsProjectTeam, andsSkills, fundedByAustralianNationalDataService, DIISRTE, {your project's acronym or tag}, {your ands project code, e.g. AP67}, {any other keyword tags you can think of that will help your project be discovered by like-minded projects}.

·         Post 2. "PROJECT DESCRIPTION" and/or "CASE FOR ACTION": Example from the Edgar Project
Please provide a short (one or two sentence) description about why you are doing this project, why it matters and to whom.  Also if you have the project aims and objectives to hand or any other simple outlines for what the project is doing, this would be the place to put it (though keep it simple and perhaps add a diagram so your readers stay interested).
TAGS for this post: andsProjectDescription, andsContext, andsAims, andsObjectives, andsApps, fundedByAustralianNationalDataService, DIISRTE, {your project's acronym or tag}, {your ands project code, e.g. AP67}, {any other keyword tags you can think of that will help your project be discovered by like-minded projects}.

·         Post 3. "TARGET CUSTOMERS and/or "HOW THE PRODUCT WILL MEET OUR USERS NEEDS", i.e. problems, solutions and benefits.  Example from the Edgar Project
Some questions to consider as you write this post:
- Who are your customers (both leading edge and typical)?
- What benefits will this product provide to each of those customers?
- What problems do your customers have and how will this product solve them?
- We would request that specific customers be named including their expected participation in the project (the customer should not be someone internal to the team).
TAGS for this post: andsCustomers, andsOwners, andsApps, fundedByAustralianNationalDataService, DIISRTE, {your project's acronym or tag}, {your ands project code, e.g. AP67}, {any other keyword tags you can think of that will help your project be discovered by like-minded projects}.

·         Post 4. "KEY FACTORS CUSTOMERS WILL USE TO JUDGE THE VALUE OF OUR PRODUCT", i.e. how do you independently measure success?  Example from the Edgar Project
Some questions to ask while writing this post:
- What parts of the product are the most important to customers and their perception of its value to what they want to do with it?
- How efficient is the product compared to how the customer originally did the task the system is replacing?
- How is your product better than what already exists out on the Web or are you just repeating what already exists?
- Is the product perceived as high quality and reliable by the customer?
- How do you enable your customers to independently review the product (how does the project manager or other team members try and influence the customer, is this reflected upon)?

TAGS for this post: andsQuality, andsValue, andsAssessment, andsCustomers, andsApps, fundedByAustralianNationalDataService, DIISRTE, {your project's acronym or tag}, {your ands project code, e.g. AP67}, {any other keyword tags you can think of that will help your project be discovered by like-minded projects}.

·         Post 5. TITLE: "KEY TECHNOLOGIES & KEY FEATURES".  Example from the Edgar Project
Please provide a list of the full stack of technology being used, including links to specific versions of the technology with full descriptions (feel free to use wikipedia links), e.g. networking protocols, operating systems, programming language and libraries, development tools and environments, frameworks, paradigms, methodologies, testing methods and usability tools, etc.  Based on this list, provide context for the technologies being used including:
a.) What is the most important part of technology being used?
b.) What will require the most development effort and why?
c.) What features are the most important to gain customer satisfaction and buy-in?
d.) Non-functional requirements.
e.) A high-level architectural diagram.

We also require you to provide a link to the source code repository (see our blog post entitled “KeyApps Deliverable #2 – Setting up a Product Code Repository) i.e. version control system, and that an open source license is chosen prior to starting the development - ← we encourage use of branching/forking repositories such as Mercurial or Git on or GitHub itself.  Please contact ANDS for guidance if you are using an internal SVN that isn't open to the public as this goes against the open source ethos we encourage projects to adopt. Although of course there are circumstances for keeping the code internal at first, we just need to have a discussion to make sure we understand how the code will be eventually opened up.
TAGS for this post: andsFeatures, andsFunctions, andsTechnology, andsArchitecture, andsTools, andsApps, fundedByAustralianNationalDataService, DIISRTE, {your project's acronym or tag}, {your ands project code, e.g. AP67}, {any other keyword tags you can think of that will help your project be discovered by like-minded projects}.

·         Post 6. TITLE: "PROJECT OUTPUTS & OUR PRIMARY PRODUCT".  Example from the Edgar Project
- What are the outputs that will be delivered and how will it be expressed so the outside world will understand what has been produced and what is reusable?
- What supporting documentation will be provided with each of the products so it can be reused?
- Will there be a dissemination event or training that will be rolled out alongside the product to help new customers to use it?
- Of all our outputs which product will be the most likely to be reused by other institutions?

TAGS for this post: andsOutputs, andsProduct, andsApps, fundedByAustralianNationalDataService, DIISRTE, {your project's acronym or tag}, {your ands project code, e.g. AP67}, {any other keyword tags you can think of that will help your project be discovered by like-minded projects}.

Please make sure to provide an ATOM / RSS feed so we and others can easily find these posts on the web.  Also please don't forget to add the ANDS logo and 'funder' statement with regards to DIISRTE support on each page, as described here.

Once you have published these six blog posts please let your ANDS contact know, as the ANDS technical review group will read over the posts and provide feedback, ideas and thoughts about other projects with similar technical requirements.

Once your SRS deliverable has been signed off, please continue blogging on a regular basis – it is a great advertiser for your project!

Key Apps Deliverable #2 – Setting up a Product Code Repository

Projects should use a public and open code repository from day one of their project. ANDS recommends that a meeting should occur at the start of the project between the managers, developers and users to discuss how the code repository website will be used to organise and iterate through the generation of the code, e.g. are you going to use the wiki on the code repository to list features, or are you going to use the bug tracking tool to list who is doing what, how will your blog be used to announce when milestones or sprints have been achieved, does this repository make sense to other institutions who might want to reuse code, etc.  Be explicit and talk about the little details right from the start; even better, write down what you have agreed with regards to how the code repository is going to be used on your development blog so that if others start to use it they will know what the expectations are.

ANDS recommends the use of either GoogleCode or GitHub, and if your project intends on providing software that others can use and reuse we would suggest the use of a branching repository like Git or Mercurial so that code can be easily forked and re-joined with the trunk.  

As per your project contract, the use of an Open Source license like Apache 2.0 or GPL 3.0 is required for your project deliverables and use of a creative commons license is recommended for non-code resources. Please make sure licenses are not only listed on the code repository but also listed in the README file and headers / code comments of any files.

Please approach your ANDS contact for any answers, advice or guidance. 

Key Apps Deliverable #1 – RIF-CS descriptions

All software tools developed through the Applications program, the associated input and output datasets used in analyses, and the researchers conducting the analyses on the software tool are expected to be described in Research Data Australia (RDA), ANDS’ discovery service for Australian Research Data.

In order for information to be included in RDA, the information must be encoded in the RIF-CS (Registry Interchange Format - Collections and Services) schema that allows description of these components of Apps projects and the connections between them:
  •          Datasets (which are represented as “Collections” in RIF-CS)
  •          People, Organisations and Institutions (which are represented as “Parties” in RIF-CS)
  •         Software (which are represented as “Services” in RIF-CS)
  •         Funded Research Activities (which are represented as “Activities” in RIF-CS)
The simplest idea to illustrate what is going on in any Apps project can be shown as such…

…where Data (i.e. “Collections”) of different types are being fed into a Software Tool (i.e. a “Service”) to produce new output data (i.e. a new data “Collection”).

Based on this simple information model, the Apps team have produced some example RIF-CS records to describe and illustrate the relationships between various input data sources, the Apps software tool being developed, the output dataset, the researchers using such software products, and the owners of the input and output data. This is illustrated in graphical format here:

The RIF-CS XML for this above example can be downloaded from here

Alternatively, the records and relationships can also be explored using records published to the RDA “Demo” area. The easiest way to explore these sample records in RDA Demo is to start at the service record and to navigate the relationships from one entity to another, backwards and forwards). The service record in RDA can be found here.

Note that the content of these example records are based on pure fantasy, but what we’ve tried to do is to embed a combination of relevant information/instructions/examples at the appropriate places in these example records to demonstrate how to use each RIF-CS element.  Any instructions have been copied directly from the RDA Content Providers Guide.

All of the ANDS Apps projects do need to deliver a set of sample ‘draft’ RIF-CS records in RDA within a couple of months from the project start, that describe the input/output datasets, the software system and the researchers involved in using the system. Your ANDS contact will help you in making these records. Once crafted, the records will be assessed by an ANDS metadata analyst and when approved, the records moved to RDA for public display. The sample records approved at this time are expected to be then used as the model for future RIF-CS records that will be automatically fed to RDA from the finished software product throughout the project and into the future.

Which tag should I use for each Blog entry?

So we (ANDS) and others can easily find certain blog entries you’ve created, we do require the use of certain standard tags to be associated with certain blog posts. Please note that are all single-compounded words using camelCase.

Blog posts

All posts in your blog
  • fundedByAustralianNationalDataService
  • andsApps
  • {your ANDS project code, e.g. AP72}
  • {your project's acronym or tag}
  • {any other keyword tags you can think of that will help your project be discovered by like-minded projects}

SRS Post 1 
  • andsProjectTeam
  • andsSkills

SRS Post 2 
  • andsProjectDescription
  • andsContext
  • andsAims
  • andsObjectives

SRS Post 3 
  • andsCustomers
  • andsOwners

SRS Post 4 
  • andsQuality
  • andsValue
  • andsAssessment
  • andsCustomers

SRS Post 5 
  • andsFeatures
  • andsFunctions
  • andsTechnology
  • andsArchitecture
  • andsTools

SRS Post 6 
  • andsOutputs
  • andsProduct

Any post outlining a contracted “Demonstration of Value” dissemination activity. These may be posts outlining talks/seminars given, media releases, upload of videos to YouTube etc, by the "Research Champion".

  • andsContractedDoVs
  • andsValue

Any post outlining extra dissemination activities that were not outlined in the contract. These may be posts outlining talks/seminars given, media releases, upload of videos to YouTube etc, featuring team members other than the “Research Champion”.

  • andsOtherDoVs
  • andsValue

Project Product Test post: once the team knows what their primary *reusable* product is they need to write a post describing how they are testing it with users and what that testing method will involve.

  • andsUserTesting
  • andsCustomers

The Final Product blog post: celebrating and advertising the Application product that has been developed, and focussing on how it has been used by the Research Champions/ Community

  • andsFinalProduct
  • andsProduct
  • andsCustomers
  • andsQuality
  • andsValue
  • andsAssessment

Our thoughts about writing a Project Blog

In the Apps program, we are strongly encouraging our partners to write and maintain a blog documenting the progress of the project throughout the lifetime of its funding (and possibly beyond). This will help to advertise your project and be noticed on a global scale, publish early wins and good news stories, exploit synergies and build a community around your project .

The general content of the blog is up to the team working on each project, but writing it is a great way to allow others find out about the work you are doing and to facilitate interactions with other groups around the world. You could be found by potential collaborators, users of your software, and/or people who are interested in your project in general.

Here are some good (blog) articles about how to write effective blogs for, or the benefits of blogging in the research, software development and business worlds.

Apps Partners Google Group

This is a Google discussion group specifically for those involved in ANDS Applications projects. If you are involved in an ANDS Apps project, we encourage you to join the group to keep track of the latest news and read and post questions, issues, news, and anything else you can think of around your Apps project.

If you would like to join the list, please contact your ANDS Contact.

Apps Community Day #1

The first of the ANDS Applications Projects Community Days saw 27 participants (mostly Project Managers and Lead Developers) representing 18 Apps projects from 15 institutions come together in Sydney on the 29/30 March 2012 to present their projects, discuss a variety of issues, and learn about ANDS and how it can help them achieve research data outcomes. 

The event revealed a number of unexpected connections between projects at the level of outputs, tools, and data sets. For example, there is potential for some of the Climate Change Adaptation projects to reuse image-viewing technology developed in the medical domain, or usage of the same spatial data sets across multiple projects.

Over the course of the event, participants saw how they can draw on each other’s expertise, and many conversations that started during the day have continued beyond the end of the event.
Feedback from participants has been very positive, and we’re looking forward to working with them to help them bring data together to answer new and bigger questions.

List of Apps Projects

ANDS has agreed to fund 24 projects across numerous partner organisations in the Apps program. 

The list of contracted projects is below:


Project Blog / Wiki

Short Video Presentation by the Project Team
Institutions and Research Networks involved

Project Manager
ANDS contact*
Tropical Data Hub


Tropical Data Hub – Tools Development

Marianne Brown
Bird Species Distribution (Edgar)

JCU, CDU, ALA, Birds Australia, QCIF
Marianne Brown
Climate Model Downscaling Data for Impacts and Adaptation Research

Ian MacAdam
Marine Video

Stefan Williams
Extreme Weather Events and Health Impacts

Validation of genomes and transcriptomes with proteomic data

UNSW, U Adelaide, BPA, AWRI
Marc Wilkins (UNSW) / Georgina Edwards (Intersect)
Positive Places: spatial analysis of public open space

Fiona Bull /
Bryan Borufo
SMART’s Multi-utility dashboard – Infrastructure Analytics for Integrative Research

U Wollongong
Pascal Perez
Soils to Satellites
Peter Doherty (CSIRO/ALA) / Martin Pullan (U Adelaide/TERN)
Brain Mapping National Resource

Andrew Janke / Anders Boman
Multimodal Kidney Imaging

Monash, Australian Synchrotron
Anitha Kannan
Founders and Survivors: Genealogical Connections

Leonard Smith
Brain and Mind Research Institute Applications project

Neal Anderson
Climate Change Adaptation Information Hub

Andrew Bowness
Marine Virtual Laboratory Information System (MARVLIS)

Brendan Davey
Cancer Genomics Linkage Application

Cas Simons
Primary production in space and time

Macquarie, CSIRO, TERN
Colin Prentice
A Data Transformation and Model Calibration System for Carbon and Nitrogen Dynamics in Australian Ecosystems 

 Marco Fahmi
Bird Distribution Records – Atlas of Living Australia Component

Peter Doherty
AURIN & ANDS – North West Metropolitan Region of Melbourne Data Access, Integration and Interrogation and Demonstrator Projects

UniMelb, AURIN, Govt agencies
Serryn Eagleson
Human Chromosome 7 Proteomics Integration

Monash, Macquarie
Anitha Kannan
SEQUITOR: A demonstration integrated coastal knowledge
Online decision support toolkit for climate resilient seaports

Jane Mullett / Ravi Sreenivasamurthy

*  AW = Andrew White,
     JC = Jeff Christiansen, 
   MW = Mingfang Wu,
     SK = Stefanie Kethers,

ANDS Applications Project Blogs/Sites