Monday, November 14, 2011

Publishing

It is interesting to note that one of the giants of computer science and programming, Donald Knuth is also the creator of the typesetting system TeX which forms the backbone of scientific publishing (I personally use a variant called LaTeX that lets me quickly prepare a document, using special codes for different types of structures). If the printing press gave the spark of renaissance, reformation, then one of the pioneers of what I consider a digital renaissance also enjoys a similar figure, this time being a creator of a digital publishing system. We have a digital Gutenberg and Galilei embodied in Knuth.

The benefits of this digital publishing system cannot be overstated. For my work I have all kinds of shortcuts, templates that let me write a scientific document almost as fast as I can think it. When I am done, with another script the whole thing goes to the Net, one piece is added to a tracking system, generated PDF file is appended to another master file. The whole thing grows, becomes searchable, can be watched, downloaded by others as soon as I make put this material "out there".

If this is not revolutionary, I don't know what is.

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