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    CERN Courier 45 : ATHENA tests the digital logbook
    Oleh : CERN Courier
    Rabu, 23 Februari 2005 (09:15 WIB) dari IP

    Sumber : http://www.cerncourier.com/main/article/45/1/13

    Even in this digital age, most scientists prefer old-fashioned paper logbooks to computer-based systems. This is not just a case of scientific conservatism - the paper version has several benefits in terms of ease of use: tables can be drawn and modified rapidly, sketches can be added and there is no risk of a computer crash causing delays.

    ATHENA's log-book

    However, in many experiments the hand-written logbooks are laboriously copied and distributed to the labs around the world involved in the project. Until this is done, the contents of the logbook are accessible only locally. Also, notes jotted down in haste during an eventful nightshift may be hard to interpret a few months later, even for the person who wrote them.

    A summer student project run by CERN's IT Department has produced a better solution. With the generous assistance of Hewlett-Packard, students supported by the Helsinki Institute of Physics were able to develop a logbook using the firm's recently launched HP Forms Automation System. The technology involves printing a very fine pattern on every page, which provides a unique code for every point on each page. The digital pens used are normal ball-points with a built-in infrared sensor that reads and stores the code while writing, and uploads this information to the Web when the pen is docked to a PC.

    With this approach, all the advantages of traditional pen and paper are preserved, but the information from the logbook can be made immediately accessible to collaborators around the world on a password-protected website. During testing, members of the ATHENA antimatter collaboration in Genoa were able to follow what their colleagues at CERN were writing on a daily basis.

    Moreover, because the data stored by the pen are time-stamped, it is possible to link notes in the logbook much more accurately to digital recordings from various instruments at the experiment. By incorporating character-recognition software, it is possible to search these digital logbooks for keywords, making them even more practical.

    A spin-off of this activity, prepared for CERN's 50th anniversary celebrations, was a digital guestbook, which was signed by visitors to the open day and official ceremony. Hundreds of entries from well-wishers were posted immediately on the Web, and can be seen at http://gridcafe.web.cern.ch/gridcafe/guestbook.html.


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