August 13, 2010

MASSIVE rebuilding project

Once upon a time -- OK, it was in 2004 -- I created a free online database of math and science songs, which I called MASSIVE: Math And Science Song Information, Viewable Everywhere. Its visual appeal was limited and so were its search options (e.g., you couldn't do compound searches such as "songs by artist X including term Y in the title"). Nevertheless, I was quite proud of my creation and rejoiced when it was featured in the NetWatch section of Science magazine.

And then life got really busy -- fatherhood, new job, etc. -- and I stopped updating the website. That was three years ago. Now I'm trying to move the project forward again.

There are many aspects of the website that could be improved from the user-interface side, and yet the question I find myself returning to again and again is, "How can I make this as easy as possible to update?" My experiences as a contributor to, a website devoted to target-based drug development for "neglected" diseases such as malaria, have reminded me over and over that regular updates of curated information are both (A) extremely important and (B) extremely hard to achieve.

So you'll have to pardon me if in the coming months the MASSIVE website continues to look as though it were designed by a middle-school student. I've got three years of curation catch-up to do.

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