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From David Kale <davek...@cs.stanford.edu>
Subject Re: Approaching OODT as a new user
Date Wed, 12 Jan 2011 01:43:41 GMT
Good questions and fair points. I myself am by no means an expert, so I'm
going to let Chris or another person answer your questions, but I wanted to
give you spiritual support.  I'm a machine learning guy working at
Children's Hospital Los Angeles, and we're in the process of modifying and
deploying OODT for building and managing what amounts to a clinical research
data repository, an eye-opening experience since most of previous research
experience has been with canned datasets or on projects in which someone
else wrote the basic data munging tools.

My own efforts to deploy OODT have depended largely on the direct support of
the folks with NASA email addresses you pointed out (we have a grant-funded
project in collaboration with JPL), because as you point out the
documentation is relatively bare.  The good news is that we are making
comprehensive documentation, tutorials, and even how-to videos a priority
(though perhaps we need to pick up the pace...I do worry that with the
recent exposure, many new users will come to the project and be turned off
by the dearth of clear documentation).

In the meantime, the even better news is that there is a active,
enthusiastic community supporting this project -- including MANY people
whose full-time jobs involve developing it.  Thus, I highly encourage you to
join the email lists and bombard us with questions, as you will get guidance
and answers relatively quickly.

gratefully,
Dave



On Tue, Jan 11, 2011 at 4:43 PM, Scott Konzem <konzems@gmail.com> wrote:

> First of all, I'd like to congratulate OODT on becoming a top level project
> and NASA for making this project available. Thank you!
>
> From all the <http://nasa.gov>nasa.gov email addresses around here, I get
> the impression that in the early days of this project, most of the
> developers and users have been in direct contact or even within the same
> organization, so I'd like to share my experience as a complete outsider.  I
> am familiar with the challenges of managing research data at a large organization
> with many research groups, so I've been trying to figure out what OODT
> does and what it could do for me.  So far most of what I've found has been written
> either at a very abstract level for managers (the TLP press release and the
> OODT main page) or a very detailed level for developers (the javadocs). I
> haven't seen much so far for the "data people" in the middle -- the people
> who need enough technical detail to put the system into practice because
> they're tired of coding their own.  This is my experience trying to get
> that information.
>
> The website has a lot of stub pages for the individual components, so I
> thought that I might be able to get some more information by downloading
> and running the software.  This started as a NASA project, so there have to
> be stacks of documentation somewhere, right?  I downloaded the trunk and
> built it using the instructions I eventually found on the File Manager
> page ( <http://oodt.apache.org/components/maven/filemgr/user/basic.html><http://oodt.apache.org/components/maven/filemgr/user/basic.html><http://oodt.apache.org/components/maven/filemgr/user/basic.html>
> http://oodt.apache.org/components/maven/filemgr/user/basic.html), but now
> I have a directory with a bunch of folders in it, and I have no idea what
> to do with them.  The only tutorial I can find is for the File Manager --
> which I very much appreciate, even though it doesn't completely work for
> me -- and there are only two files named README.txt in the entire project.
>
> As a result, I still have a lot of very basic questions:  What do I do with
> all of these components? What do they all do?  Which ones do I need, and
> which are optional? Are they standalone executables?  Web services that
> require some sort of container?  Do I interact with them using the command
> line, or do they have web or web services interfaces?  What are the
> configuration options?  What kinds of data and metadata can I manage? What
> kinds of roles do I need to have within my organization (administrator, content
> owner, metadata maintainer), and how does the software handle these? What do
> I want to do that this project can't? (In this type of software, there's
> always something that's just a little too specific to the original purpose
> or organization.)
>
> OODT claims to have a large user community apart from the original developers.
>  How did it come to be that these organizations and individuals knew how
> to use the software?  What sort of documentation and support did the
> developers need to provide in order to get them up and running?  How can I
> get some of that? :)
>
> Again, I'm very grateful that this product exists and am excited to find
> out more about it.  Thanks for making it available for me to puzzle over!
>
> Sincerely,
>
> Scott Konzem
>

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