I have been meaning for quite a while to find some time to code a plugin for the Open Journal System (OJS) platform. Unfortunately it didn’t happen yet. However, the good news is that the chance somehow came to me, since this year’s PKP conference will be held in few
weeks days in Berlin, that is where I recently moved and now live. And at the same time as the PKP conference there will be a PKP hackfest where I hope to have the chance to push forward my idea for an OJS plugin and eventually get some coding done.
The idea it’s quite simple, but my knowledge of OJS’ is not (yet) such to allow me to have a clear idea of how to implement it. The plugin should enable the detection and markup of certain bits and pieces (read “named entities”) of articles from an OJS installation. Although my application of the plugin is (originally) targeting a specific type of named entities, citations to ancient texts, to be found mainly in Classics journals, it’d possible to generalise the idea for a wider application. Indeed, the plugin could be thought of as applicable to any named entities contained in journal articles, provided that a web service for that is available.
As an example, let’s suppose to have an existing installation of OJS, where an article contains the following paragraph (which is actually taken from a real world article appeared in Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies):
Thus, in the paragraphê speeches ([Dem.] 37.58–60, 38.21–22), a binding settlement is sometimes described as a “boundary marker (horos); in an inheritance dispute (40.39), the binding decision is a telos or peras.
The text in bold contains two references to Demosthenes’ works, respectively (1) a reference to lines 58-60 of the speech Against Pantaenetus and (2) another to lines 21-22 of the one Against Nausimachus and Xenopeithes. The plugin would parse each paragraph and then produce a result somewhat similar to this, where the cited texts are displayed alongside the text article. All in all the whole idea is not much different from OJS’s citation markup assistant, although at the same time it can be generalised to cover other kind of named entities (people, organisations, etc.).
Some aspects that I believe are important for the implementation of such a plugin are:
- client/server architecture: the plugin should act as a client with respect to the Named Entity Recognition web service; I have already a working prototype for a web service (based on XML-RPC) performing the extraction of citations as described above;
- the markup of the extracted named entities should be customisable, ideally based on a template rewrite system, and should allow one to output RDFa or microformatted markup.
- being able to review, correct and therefore store the output of the automatic extraction will be a plus (possibly including interaction with authority lists to which the named entities can be linked to).
So, this is the idea in a nutshell. I’m looking forward to discuss it together with interested OJSers next week in Berlin and I hope there will be a follow-up post with some updates on the hackfest’s outcome.