FinalSticker.pngSoftware is not static. New functionality is needed, hardware evolves, staff come and go and sources of funding change. This makes the world of software a volatile place — something that can be seen in the number of software packages that fail to gain a market. This year, a group of experts came together to form the Software Sustainability Institute (SSI).

Read the article.

In our latest guide, we take a look at how to choose a good name and the common pitfalls. We also look at searching for already used names (including trademark searches). Finally, we discuss our understanding of registered trademarks and passing off - two laws that can affect name choice.

Read the Choosing project and product names guide.

There are many more guides, on subjects from software developement to community building, on our website.

Books2_0.jpgThe ETF network is extending an invitation to all past, current and proposed e-Science or related projects to bid for funds to enable the capture of technical detail which may otherwise be lost at the end of a project.

These funded dissemination activities may take the form of a report/white-paper describing specific technical aspects of the project or the development, maintenance or extension of a specific HOWTO document. All of these outputs will be published on the ETF and NeSC information network websites. As each output is completed, we would also require that a short summary presentation is given at one of the network's monthly Access Grid Meetings. This will give the network members an early chance to hear about recently completed work. We would also like to collect these outputs into a hardcopy annual report that can be passed out to funding bodies, host institutions, etc. A selected number will also be presented at a workshop hosted in co-located with the UK e-Science All Hands Meeting. Our overall aim is to learn from each other as well as engage and inform the wider UK academic community of our successes and highlight where further work is needed.

The proposal should contain the following information:

  • Type of material proposed
  • Author name and short paragraph (~10 lines) summarising experience
  • Project name
  • Brief description of the technical work to be documented (not more than half-a-page of A4)
  • Type of output to be produced
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The NGS user survey will close on Monday 24 January. Feedback from this survey is really important to the NGS. They are carrying out the survey to help better understand the experiences of NGS users and improve their services. All information supplied will not affect your NGS usage or account, so please be honest!

Take part in the survey now!

Please note that the survey is for registered academic users of the NGS only. If you would like to talk to someone about any of the issues raised please contact the NGS.

migration.jpgTaverna is an internationally successful workflow environment developed by the myGrid team at the University of Manchester. The team recently moved the Taverna source code from SourceForge to Google Code and GitHub. We asked Shoaib Sufi – myGrid project manager and community liaison for the Software Sustainability Institute – to explain their thinking behind the move. The work behind this post was completed by Stian Soiland-Reyes, Jiten Bhagat, Stuart Owen, Alan Williams and Shoaib Sufi.

More on the blog.



If you use software in your research - or want to use it in the future - the Collaborations Workshop (CW11) is the perfect opportunity for you to meet people who you could work with.

The CW will be held on 3-4 March in Edinburgh. If you would like to know more, visit the conference webpage.

The CW enters its third year, and we hope it's going to be the best one yet. We've added new features to help form collaborations, we're aiming to attract researchers from even more disciplines and we've still got one of the best venues in Edinburgh.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Events are like dentists. Everyone thinks they're a good idea, but people aren’t always that keen to attend. This year, I'm organising an event called the Collaborations Workshop (known, to its friends, as the CW). It’s certainly an easy event to organise, because the feedback from previous years has been very good. My problem is: how do I maintain this success and hopefully make it bigger and better than previous years?

More on the blog.

AskSteve.jpgIn 2010, a crack developer was asked to join the Software Sustainability Institute. This man promptly set up as the Institute’s software architect. Today, still wanted by a number of projects, Steve survives as a developer of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can email him, maybe you can Ask Steve!

Whenever we have a software problem at the Software Sustainability Institute, we simply ask Steve. He’s our in-house software architect and all-round guru of code. Then we got to thinking: it’s selfish to keep such a valuable resource to ourselves, we should make Steve’s knowledge available to everyone. And that’s when the idea for the Ask Steve! blog was born.

So what is Ask Steve? The idea is that you can email Ask Steve! with all your software troubles and queries. Each week or so, Steve will work on a problem and post his answer to the blog. You can comment, try out the solution or simply get back with another question. Steve will sort through the questions he is posed and answer the ones that trouble the most people.

Next time you have a software problem, visit the Ask Steve! blog or email Ask Steve!

JISC Dryad-UK Project Grade 7

Department of Zoology, University of Oxford

£28,839 - £33,600

We seek a skilled computing officer to join a small active research group applying lightweight Web and Semantic Web technologies to manage submission of datasets related to journal articles to the Dryad repository, within the JISC-funded Dryad-UK Project. This is a new, technically complex high-profile project, being undertaken in collaboration with the British Library, the Digital Curation Centre and NESCent (USA), that will prove both challenging and stimulating. The post-holder will develop automated methods for exchanging metadata with publishers' journal production systems, institutional repositories and specialist databases, and will develop ontologies, metadata standards and metadata annotation software for semantic enhancement of research datasets. The post is available for up to one year. There may be the possibility of extension of employment, but this depends upon future grant funding, and cannot presently be assured.

Applicants should have a good first or higher degree, probably in maths or science, and show evidence of creativity and research competence. Good computer programming and data management skills are required, as is familiarity with the standards and principles of modern Web application development. It would be desirable if the post-holder had experience with publishing and/or repository development, script programming, metadata standards and ontology development.

Anyone interested in this position should write immediately to David Shotton, using the subject…

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WeNeedYou_0.jpgThe NGS is delighted to announce that the JISC have agreed to six-month funding extension. This will fund the NGS until 30 September 2011 and align it with the broader JISC services portfolio. The six-month extension will see the NGS laying the foundations of a new model of service.

Dr Neil Geddes, Director of the NGS, announced the news and added 'We are clearly delighted with this continuing support from JISC. We will be working closely with them through the Service Portfolio Review in early 2011 to help define the longer-term roadmap for the NGS service'.

Over the next year, there will be changes taking place at the NGS. The annual NGS user survey will help keep users involved and informed by gathering feedback on possible changes. The results of the user survey will be fed directly into the funding bid for NGS 4 so that it will reflect the wishes and needs of the NGS user community.