[Chicago] Trac?

Ted Pollari tcp at uchicago.edu
Thu Sep 28 23:45:29 CEST 2006

On Sep 28, 2006, at 2:45 PM, Garrett Smith wrote:

> If you have specific ideas for how you're thinking of using Trac,  
> post them and we can do some brainstorming on how it could be used.

In brief, one of the many things my group does is work with many  
collaborating researchers, analysts and data-managers  in clinical  
and social science research and help them manage data and other  
research related tasks -- much of the time it's a byproduct of  
working more efficiently ourselves =) -- one of the central themes of  
our work of late has been examining and adapting tools from software  
development and the open-source software environment to the  
university research environment.  One great example of this is  
getting researchers and bio-statisticians to do their data analyses  
more or less completely programatically and version both their  
datasets and their data management/manipulation code.  As fundamental  
as these processes may be to many in the software development  
community, it's a completely new concept to many in clincal trials  
and social sciences, among many other fields -- the 'track changes'  
option in ms word is the closest that anyone seems to get to  
versioning and even that is used inconsistently and poorly (a straw- 
man, I admit as it can't be used well, IMHO ;)  With my own  
experience in research psychology, I can say that solid data  
management processes are just not commonly taught in these fields --  
and if they are, it's not done in any sort of formal manner.

So, anyway, web-based collaborative tools are big and we're looking  
for ways to satisfy a number of needs without becomming full-blown  
plone developers or allowing the heavily sharepoint wielding MCSE  
types around here make a "solution" for the research groups with  
which we're affiliated.  So, anyway, trac's wiki functionality,  
skinability and interconnection with SVN have been making it look  
like a good option for us to move some of our projects to rather than  
some of the home-grown zope based options we've been using for a few  
years, which need updating and improvement.

So, yeah, that's the gist of why I asked.


Ted Pollari
Research Programmer
Department of Health Studies
The University of Chicago
tcp at uchicago.edu

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