The arrival of OSO’s …

I was talking to my son about an edition of Mythbusters where they were looking at, of all exotic things, Anvils.  The piece was about making the distinction between REAL anvils (which can be used for iron-work) and apparently similar artefacts (that are only for decoration).

The meme became Anvils vs. ASOs or Anvil-shaped Objects.

I realise this is an idea I’ve been waiting for in the world of Web Observatories to talk about systems that may be similar or even identical in function to Observatories but don’t use the name and may not be focussed on this approach.

Thus I’ve coined the term OSOthe Observatory-shaped Object – to denote systems which are close to the sort of WO system we are talking about even if they were not designed/intended to be an observatory but have the potential to act as an Observatory or be extended to become an observatory.

A classic example of an OSO is the Southampton University ePrints system, which started life as a document repository, but which has been extended to harvest data sets (e.g. from Twitter), to host data sets and link them to academic papers and, critically, to locate and index the existence of other repositories with other data and docs.

So now we have WOs and OSOs !!!

(With thanks to Harrison Brown and Mythbusters)