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PRL Project

Using Formal Reference to Enhance Authority and Integrity in Online Mathematical Texts

by Stuart F. Allen, Robert L. Constable, Lori Lorigo


The amount and variety of digital information readily available to the public is bringing to the forefront new questions for computing and information science, e.g., how should this information be organized, searched, and evaluated.
The imprimatur given to the information resources owned or sponsored by distinguished providers including universities, publishers, and government is essential in helping individuals assess the validity of what they encounter on the Web.

Recognizing quality online is important to creators and consumers of both open-access and peer-reviewed publications, digital libraries, newsgroups, and e-learning repositories.
Also, the most respected journal publishers adhere to high standards and efforts to uphold the quality of their publications.

It would be inspiring if in certain collections, all of the facts were correct, all of the citations proper, all of the quotes exact, the definitions right, and the arguments logically correct. In the domain of mathematics, very high standards for correctness and authority are being attained through computer mediation, including automated proof checkers. Moreover, in the area of formalized mathematics we see some of the most striking examples of creating new knowledge in partnership with computers.

We are interested in harnessing the levels of quality and utmost correctness that computer checked mathematics have achieved to assist users in making informed quality judgments about electronically published articles. We have defined concepts and methodology for allowing authors of expository mathematical texts to exploit this large and growing body of formal digital mathematics. In this article, we explain a new methodology for authoring services for mathematics articles that ensure high quality by virtue of their creation, rather than post-filtering.

bibTex ref: ACL06

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