From an email to the gmod-annouce mailing list by Brian Osborne:
GMOD and Apollo lists,
My name is Brian Osborne, and I'm writing to introduce myself and the newly
created GMOD Help Desk. Some of you may know me as a participant in Bioperl
where I've been contributing code, documentation, and general support for a
number of years. This Help Desk position, lasting about 3 years, is funded
by a grant written by leaders of GMOD and NESCent, the National Evolutionary
So, what is the purpose of the GMOD Help Desk? There are 2 immediate goals.
One is to extend and further popularize GMOD, with an emphasis on the
evolutionary biology community. The second is to improve the GMOD
documentation, including those files found in GMOD's packages and the Web
site. The focus is GMOD proper and many of the associated applications
including, but not limited to, Apollo and Gbrowse.
Right now I'm working with Scott (who you all know) as well as Hilmar Lapp
and Todd Vision from NESCent and writing up the requirements for the
documentation work: which GMOD components, what constitutes the
documentation, what may need to be edited or updated, what may need to be
consolidated, what may need to be removed or reorganized. We'd also like to
see more documentation for the biologist. What is already clear is that
there is a lot of good documentation in the GMOD world, and generally
speaking there is no lack of documentation either. But there is a fair
amount of documentation that hasn't been attended to and there is little
I would also like to add that this position has been created to help GMOD,
not direct or instruct GMOD developers. Suggestions may be made concerning a
given piece of documentation, for example, but this will be done with a
feeling of collegiality and always with the aim of helping the GMOD user and
maintaining good relations in the GMOD community.
If you've never heard of NESCent take a look at their site,
http://www.nescent.org. NESCent is in Durham NC, it's a center that supports
evolutionary biologists of all kinds in a number of ways, including hosting
meetings and hackathons, funding sabbaticals and post-docs, and doing
outreach and education. For example, I attended a working group a few days
ago at NESCent where informaticists, your very own Chris Mungall and Mark
Gibson, and NESCent's H. Lapp, gathered with a group of biologists from the
Cypriniformes Tree of Life group and wrestled with phylogeny, homology, and
ontology. These are exciting endeavours and bear directly on GMOD as the
developers are aiming to store these very sophisticated biological
representations in the Chado schema.
Thanks again and I will be in touch,
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