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CEO, Co-Founder
Nov 25, 2008

From 2-5 November I attended Pharma-Bio-Med, a conference & exposition for pharma, bio & medical information professionals that took place in Dubrovnik this year. It was a great experience and in the last weeks I was working on some of the concepts I took away from the conference, I made some quick demo movies and posted them on our new company website: -After the presentation of the 2nd break-out sessions, Dr. Ian Sinclair mentioned that it was strange that we are still having PLD's (product literature databases) and that he believed that they are orthogonal with the lean/just in time methodology. After some further consideration I believe there is great value in Dr. Sinclair's observation, so I worked out a flowchart of how a just in time product literature database could work. I recorded a screencast and posted it on our website. -Related to the above point I put together a proof of concept for a knowledge management system that generates semantically defined vocabularies. I'm opening it up as a beta release for a knowledge management system for the Drupal community (so that we can also use it with my colleagues). There is still some work with it, but it demonstrates how easy it could be to capture a lot of the value that currently gets lost when you are doing research on online resources. The demo movie is available here. It was really striking for me how apparently most pharma companies have implemented Microsoft Sharepoint servers and how all the people I talked with were frustrated by the limitations and this system... Together with my colleagues we'll be doing some research on how we can build internal application sites that can integrate with these existing systems (e.g. systems that have a better user interface and that are easy to validate). During the conference I mentioned a number of free and open source solutions, as a reference I'm adding the links here below:

  • Freemind: an open source mindmapping software.
  • Gopubmed: an application site with interesting semantically defined metadata for Pubmed articles.
  • Opencalais: an application site from Thomson, that has a free service that can generate semantic metadata (e.g. identify entities) for your content, a bit like a semantic auto-tagging service.
  • The Drupal Calais module: a module that makes it easy to use the calais webservice on Drupal.
  • Jing: a free utility from TechSmith, the makers of Camtasia studio, that makes it really easy to make 5 minute flash movies.
  • Drupal and libraries: a link to a post on about the subject.
  • Libraries that use Drupal: a link to a site dedicated to the use of Drupal in libaries.

Kristof Van Tomme is an open source strategist and architect. He is the CEO and co-founder of Pronovix. He’s got a degree in bioengineering and is a regular speaker at conferences in the API, developer relations, and technical writing communities. He is the host of the Developer Success & the Business of APIs and the API Resilience podcasts.


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