Josh Shortlidge and InterEthos at the Ethos Roundtable in December!

We'd like to invite you to attend our December session, which will be an extra special one, because the featured guest will be the Ethos Roundtable's co-founder and co-convener, Josh Shortlidge.

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010
4:30 - 6:30 pm
Charles Hotel
1 Bennett Street
Harvard Square
Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Featured guest: Josh Shortlidge, InterEthos and the Data Collaborative
Topic: InterEthos

Here's a little bit about Josh:
Josh Shortlidge is very happily over-employed at the Data Collaborative, in Arlington, Massachusetts, where he and cohorts are constantly challenged to "go where no database has gone before". The list of clients and the complexity of data infrastructure projects are both world-class, with a wonderful blend between for-profit and non-profit work.

From the time he could walk and talk, Josh was always told by his mother to "go out and change the world". So in addition to working on Data Collaborative menageries, Josh is always looking for ways to improve the world, with the ultimate goal of bringing peace.

He holds an MBA in entrepreneurship from Babson College, and sports a long list of entrepreneurial endeavors, with a healthy balance of successes and failures. See his LinkedIn home page for more details.

Josh became possessed by the word "ethos" over a decade ago, while playing the technical lead in an editorial services startup. He co-created and co-hosts the "Ethos RoundTable" with Deborah Elizabeth Finn.

The InterEthos project is all about enhancing the interoperability of how ethos is measured and shared.

Five other team members have committed time to the project including Ruth Koch-Ashton (Ruby on Rails / Open Source Developer), Molly Hitt (Project Manager of the Ever-Changing), Jay Gardner (Brainiac about Things Not Yet Imagined), Rachael Stark (Chief of Library Sciences... a key part of what InterEthos does), and the incomparable Deborah Elizabeth Finn (Interoperability and Spiritual Maven). Without these five cohorts the project would not have taken shape as it has over the past 12 months, and Josh would still be talking to himself about pipe-dreams, as he did for the preceding decade.

Josh enjoys the unflagging devotion of his wonderful wife and "tent buddy" Terri. She continues to support, guide and encourage his pouring of countless hours into the InterEthos project. His daughter is pursuing an acting career in Hollywood, and his son Rocky is pursing a degree in Mechanical Engineering at WPI, and is Rush Chair for his fraternity.
Here's a little bit about the InterEthos project:
  • Mission

To create an interoperable cataloging system for collections of data and content, so that those collections can be more easily accessed by internet users. Our focus is primarily on the human services sector.
  • Demo Login:

To take a peek, you can access the system via "username=test" and "password=tester". Or you can create your own login and start using InterEthos right now.
  • The InterEthos Elevator Speech

Ethos is the spirit or core beliefs of a group of people.

Ethos is measured and cataloged by many organizations around the world.
Taxonomies are often used in such cataloging efforts.
Taxonomies are structure groups of categories.

For example, an organization may catalog the core beliefs about education for various villages. There are many different aspects that can be cataloged about the ethos of education. Examples include

  1. cataloging important content published by residents of the villages, and
  2. surveying the level of education that residents may have achieved.
A problem arises when multiple organizations catalog ethos using taxonomies that have different category names. For example other taxonomies may name their "college" category as "undergraduate" or "bachelors degree". Also, many taxonomies use foreign language names for their categories. The Swahili for "college" is "chuo".

How can all of the content and data in those separate catalogs be brought together, and made more "interoperable"?

InterEthos offers interoperability services for taxonomies.

The three main services are:

  • Sharing, where one taxonomy can be shared out to mulitple servers or applications on the Internet,
  • Correlation, where the categories of different taxonomies can be classified as synonyms for each other, and
  • Internationalization, where taxonomies can be translated into foreign languages.

The goal of InterEthos is to enhance the way ethos is measured, cataloged and shared across the internet, by creating interoperability between taxonomies.

InterEthos is online at, where you can also view introductory videos about the project.

InterEthos is an open source project, with the full "Ruby on Rails" code stack awaiting to your enhancements at
Two videos are also available for those who want more information about InterEthos: a three-minute overview, and a more detailed nine-minute introduction.

At the conclusion of our Ethos Roundtable session, we will stroll down the hall to enjoy the good company, charming venue, and free food at the 501 Tech Club, which is generously underwritten by TechFoundation. The 501 Tech Club is the monthly gathering of technology professionals who work with nonprofit organizations.

All Ethos Roundtable attendees are welcome at the Boston 501 Tech Club, and vice versa.

Please remember that there's never any need to make a reservation to attend Ethos Roundtable events. Just come if you can, and feel free to invite others! However, if you're planning to attend the Boston 501 Tech Club event at 6:00 pm, we ask that you send an email to Kathleen Sherwin of TechFoundation (ksherwin AT techfoundation DOT org). Since TechFoundation is providing the free food, it's both courteous and prudent to let her know how much to order.

See you in December!

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