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An italian calendar for Robert Richards

We develop dms, database manage systems, specially for legal knowledge

An italian calendar for Robert Richards

by Valentino Spataro


'My goal is to browse your calendar without using the keyboard. The software creates all the links needed. All data are tagged and ordered by date of the conferences. There are some tricks to enhance visibility.'


First of all, sorry for my errors in english. Please be patient, I'm improving my poor english.

I'm a software developer and a legal consultant for internet matters in Italy. I'm the founder of

I spend many hour every day to find interesting news for my websites devoted to internet laws, agreements, policies, and for my professional learning.

Using twitter I arrived to Robert Richards ( @richards1000 ) and I've found he is interesting in the matter and very active on the web.

He suggests to everybody workshops, standards, learning centers, all related to innovation and law.

For me, in Italy, is a light to quickly find useful resources in the world and in the common law.

Browsing his websites I've found a calendar, mantained by him with a great "old" tool named NoteTab.

It's great if you're not a developer but you want to write texts and datas in texts well formatted.

After some visits on his pages, and finding the datas in csv format, the light was on in my mind, and I decided to convert his datas in a database, simple to browse. The license was ok.

This is the story beside the solution. And after a simple email to him, I'll started coding in my spare time.

The vision

His calendar was full of data. But as many time happens, the author can browse them more effectively than the users.

The simple reason is that author knows already what he writes, readers don't know the contents in advance.

In the old style school this is simple the need of an index.

His datas are full of infos, simply well formatted writing the text in the same way every time. This helps my work a lot.

So the idea was to solve my problems: I need to know what's next in the world, in Italy, and what could be interests me.

Four indexes

Four indexes to take it all :)

  1. a very quick list of events by small name (acronymous)
  2. a selection of events month by month
  3. a list by tags
  4. a list by location

Richards output his datas to be helpful, simply to read, in simple tables on the web. But for me was impossible to find a list of events in every nation, for example.

So the solution: one page, with all the indexes.

On the top the simple and free search engine.

Then I can filter results by date.

Regarding the results:

  1. a list of tags
  2. a list of events divided in a list of acronyms and a detailed list
  3. on the bottom a list of locations.

The list of tags

Richards don't tag events. My software analyze the event and try to give correct tags to each event.

The list of tags found is on the top of the event list.

It considerably helps readers to understand, ictu oculi, what we can find in the list.

The list of acronyms

Richards simply put the acronyms in front of every name of event, and then a :.

This helps me to find them a create a simple list of all of them for the professionals that already knows the event and want to track what's new.

The list of locations

Really helpful to find immediatly what's going on in my favorite area, Italy, Switerzarland, and so on.

The software returns me also the name of the university, that is something I didn't think but it is useful for research.

The events

The list of the events was designed to be fully browseable by ipad, and iphone.

A white sidebar on the rights helps to scroll all of those datas on mobile devices.

The list is compact to find all you need in a bit:

  1. the first column with the small name and dates of the event
  2. the secondo with the full name and the link to go deeper
  3. the third for infos on calls of papers, with deadline.

So it is so complete and helpful. Nothing more, nothing less.


Oh, dates. I had to convert in integer, YYYYMMDD, using the strtotime function in php.

Hopefully Richards follow a strict U.S. format for dates, and php recognize it well.

Visual guidelines

I could start from my needs using Richard's datas.

So it was simple to develop a good interface. I immediatly thought at mobile devices to browse it everywhere, choosing simplicity, than completeness of infos as I would develop a solution on the pc for my very large monitor.

I don't want to type by hand something on the display that I want to find. So almost every word can me clicked.

The upper interface at the top, minimalist, has some tricks like autofocus in html5 and a simple way top open the drop down list of months simply moving on the mouse.

This brought me to view in an easy way the target to let people find legal contents ictu oculi. Simple and useful.

This could be the method to find the righe algorithm and visualization methods for every single document / database.

Always updated

Richars, and me, can update the list in every moment simply

The script delete the old list of events and recreate a new one, directly from the csv that Richards mantains.

More ?

Yes. I could add a way to let everyone submit to Richards new events, to let him add manuyally on his notetab or a more powerful solution to update directly the list online, and let Richards admins them.

The second step is related to documents published in the "after event", so often and difficult to find on usual search engines.

He could put all the datas to document on a new coloumn on notetab, and I could manage them.

In this case the list could save also the passed events that Richards correctly deletes. A database of old events shoud be helpful to find the documents, or the program, the participants... what else ? It could be done.

Third step would be to let universities to access on such a website and add, manage, delete, update their own events.

... !


We often talk about open data, xml, rdf, and many other standards.

The most important part of datas is the vision. The way I see the datas collected by others.

In this way Richard choose CSV and NoteTab. Something that everyone can use, but it uses in a great way and mantaines every day (how can he does it !).

For my the light switched on when I've found that he would like to share his datas with others.

It was like a declaration of love for his work, waiting for others to say: Yes, I love your work.

That's' happened. So simple.

And as all things, from a simple useful idea now is possible to build something else.

The best idea will come from the community that follows him on twitter and google groups.

Thanks to Richars.

Valentino Spataro

founder of

Milan, Italy

We develop dms, database manage systems, specially for legal knowledge


ps: Why ? Gloxa is copyright and trademark of IusOnDemand and it is a new word derived from Glossa, greek and latin, that means comment in the ancient school of Bologna of Glossatori and Commentatori.

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