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biographies on PlanetMath

Michael Francis Atiyah biography, William Lawvere bio
Type of Math Object: 
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Mathematics Subject Classification

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I like this idea of doing overview/guide-to-PM articles, but I think
it would be better to place them in the sections that they pertain
to rather than automatically in 00-XX (General/General). Thus the biographies on PM
article would go into 01-XX (History and Biographies/General), for example.
But OverviewOfTheContentOfPlanetMath is probably in the right place. However, it does seem to need a lot of work. Maybe you would be willing to make this article and any future overview articles you create world-editable (if they aren't already) so that they can grow and change quickly.

I'm glad to see that you like the idea. As far as I am concerned, such "meta-entries" are necessary to keep the encyclopaedia from collapsing under the weight of the knowledge it contains. Matte did make the "overview of the contents of Planet Math" world-editable and I have been in the habit of making the overview articles I write world-editable.

You are certainly right when you said that this would need a lot of work! No, you understated it. If you like the idea, please add to the existing overview articles or contribute a few new overview articles of your own. As I see it, it would be wonderful if one day it would be possible to access the entire contents of the website by starting at the main overview and following the links downwards to overviews of particular branches of mathematics and finally to the individual entries.

Another benefit of the overview articles is that they help to point out what is missing. While this website contains all sorts of esoteric mathematical facts, it also lacks many basic entries. If we had overview articles which listed the main topics and important theorems in branches and sub-branches of mathematics, all one would have to do is check that each entry in this overview linked to a suitable entry in the encyclopaedia. If not, such an entry would need to be added.


We are in full agreement then. I think one other thing
that would be helpful would be to have a "meta-meta-entry"
that would show where to find all of the "meta-entries"
that have been created. Perhaps you would be willing
to create this entry (or revise the Overview of the
Contents of PlanetMath entry so that it includes such

Ideally I think such entries would have a special status,
e.g. there would be one attached to every math subject
classification by default.

For the print version of the site (which we are working
to release a new version of soon!) such entries would
ideally play the role of chapter or volume introductions.

(In the FEM, each "full" MSC corresponds to a "chapter" and
each "top" MSC corresponds to a "volume. So for example,
volume 03 is "Mathematical logic and foundations" and chapter
03B05 is "Classical propositional logic".)

I had actually planned to try to recruit people to write these
section introductions, but it looks like people are already
working on it.

Also, we should talk to Aaron to make sure that the
metadata for such entries is appropriate & useful.

oh, as far as I recall, akrowne already is aware of the need of having a content-oriented vs a news-oriented page, but there are many other work to do , so I think this is not so high priority. Besides I dont know how large the changes need to be, but this and several other related ideas are already being (and still open to) discussed
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As of now, there aren't that many meta-entries that have been created as of today. For this disapointing reason, the "overview" article is actually pretty comprehensive --- almost all the existing meta-entries are linked from the overview.

What is needed are more meta-entries that it could link to. Adding them means work sorting through the contents of the website and mathematical literature and grouping together related entries, but it seems well worth doing. Whenever I add new meta-entries, I will be sure to add a link to it either in the overview or in a meta-entry to which the overview links.

To me, it seems that it is a good idea to think in terms of two classes of such entities. First, there are the type that serve a purpose like indices and tables of contents. They don't carry any information per se, only help organize existing information and make it more accessible. Second, there are the type which give a general overview of a certain area of mathematics. I think it would be nice to have more of both.

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