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  1. #1

    Default Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    I think this deserves it's own thread.

    There was a recent conversation here about the precarious state of perfumery data.

    I propose that those of you with programming skills, especially in the areas of ETL, web scraping, database design, ontological engineering, decentralized, distributed data storage, etc., manifest yourselves here or contact me in private (I have enabled Basenotes private messaging and will leave it open for the next two weeks) so we can soon organize one or many Jitsi Meet videoconferences (depending on individual availabilities) to talk about solutions. Please be advised that the videoconferences will be recorded and I will put the links to the recordings here when its done. I want this project to be open from the get go and allow anyone to contribute constructive ideas and opinions even if they do not have a programming background but are, say, heavy users of the said data.

    I separate the problem in three distinguishable parts : 1) data acquisition, 2) permanent public raw data storage and 3) data usage. And we will focus on data acquisition and storage for the moment. Data usage and user interfaces that can be built on the raw data (like AI applications, search engines, product data sheets for retailers, etc.) will be discussed at a later time.

    Thank you.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    I think you forgot to talk about the Average Daily Rate...
    "A good perfume is only the effect of serendipity; this happy chance falls only to good perfumers" Unknown old perfumer - 1932

  3. #3

    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    We have had our first meeting today. I posted the video recording on the website I made for the project : pdpp.contrebande.co

    I will continue to post updates here as well.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    John Leffingwell worked for RJ Reynolds for many years...
    Paul Kiler
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    In addition to Our own PK line, we make Custom Bespoke Perfumes, perfumes for Entrepreneurs needing scents for perfumes or products, Custom Wedding Perfumes, and even Special Event Perfumes.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    Hi Paul, are you suggesting RJ Reynolds is the original source of the Leffingwell data ? He told me on the phone that it was the result of his research merged with the work of Mans Boelens who died in 2010 (and not in 2020 like I first reported).

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    I think that probably RJR paid him and possibly Mr Boelens to build a large database used in the manufacturing of Cigarettes.
    Paul Kiler
    PK Perfumes
    http://www.PKPERFUMES.com
    In addition to Our own PK line, we make Custom Bespoke Perfumes, perfumes for Entrepreneurs needing scents for perfumes or products, Custom Wedding Perfumes, and even Special Event Perfumes.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    I called TGSC today, and left a message...
    Paul Kiler
    PK Perfumes
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    In addition to Our own PK line, we make Custom Bespoke Perfumes, perfumes for Entrepreneurs needing scents for perfumes or products, Custom Wedding Perfumes, and even Special Event Perfumes.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    And for the record. LOL! I think that the cost limit that I have paid for a Perfumery subject book is not over $350 / book. But several of them now are unobtainium and very costly, as you mentioned.

    But if anyone comes for a visit, you can see the rest of the PK Library, which needed 350 boxes when we moved three years ago.
    Paul Kiler
    PK Perfumes
    http://www.PKPERFUMES.com
    In addition to Our own PK line, we make Custom Bespoke Perfumes, perfumes for Entrepreneurs needing scents for perfumes or products, Custom Wedding Perfumes, and even Special Event Perfumes.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    What I'd find very useful would be essentially TGSC database with some environment for scripting so that we could share tools.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    Hi Paul, I hope you know that my comments about you all come from good place in my heart. I appreciate what you do and you are 100% entitled to make what you will with your own property. Plus, I have been very explicit about you being a indispensable community builder. I didn't mean to say you abuse the central position you have in this community (and that is not what I said), I meant that you enjoy it and you enjoy teasing people with it. Be careful what you ask for because your invitation didn't fall on deaf ears with me. I might show up with a book scanner or two one day. I will ask you in advance, of course. 350$ in 1998 is 2000$ in today's money, more or less (with a grain of exageration on top of the inflation, but not much).

    Hi Xii, I appreciate your input. But I think it will have the most value if you come join us (DM me for details). For the record, after we secure a permisive licensing for the the dump of the data in its current state, my proposal is to do some ontological engineering and draw up some UML class diagrams for a new data structure from the existing TGSC ontology and taxonomy, with added collaboration, versioning, traceability, etc. And then make a new static dump with the same license, but in the new data structure and probably in either or both JSON and/or Protobuffers. And only then we ETL it in a distributed, decentralized environment where scripts and routines and algorithms can be formally defined and shared and compared. I already have proposed OrbitDB for that (it's based on the same core library as ethereum, libp2p). But it can simply be that we dump it in a RDF repo like Wikidata, too. Plus, with RDF, you get quite a lot of scripting functionalities like SPARQL and the likes. That is another course of action that I proposed should OrbitDB be unpractical for some reason. Of course, anybody is free to fork and modify (with attribution and share-alike) so there can be many initiatives that coexist in the beginning. Maybe at least until one is proven superior to the others or has a bigger user base.

    We plan on listing such ideas in a future meeting.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    Contreband, you mentioned multiple times that you don't want anything to be centralized and you want to have public access data dumps. What would happen if IFRA were to put a different restriction percentage on an aromachemical? Particularly if people develop their own sources of information based on this data, I forsee that there could be misinformation scattered everywhere and perhaps cause indie perfumers to have an even more difficult time navigating the web for the information they are looking for. What if they rely on someone's modified data source, and old version of it, or even the current version of it that is not yet updated? Surely you all won't have all the time and information scope to regularly keep everything up to date by yourselves.

    I really like the idea of the wikipedia model here, with a community of moderators - not to where everyone can edit but that everyone can submit sources and findings for review. This keeps the data both public but also always up to date, and can be a space where the data is both preserved and continually moderated by multiple members. You also mentioned the cost of maintaining the data / website, and i'm really not sure how those costs would be covered with if the data is not centralized. It seems that a wikipedia-like page would be better suited for obtaining donations to keep the site alive, or even possibly from ad revenue. If I download all of the data in one go, it's likely I wouldn't be a regular visitor, and I worry that the information might start to get buried under the rest of the web.

    It is a very noble goal to want to make the data open source and easier to understand. Just this morning I struggled with determining isomer content in an aromachemical, so I was happy to hear the mention of the Hedione issue which surely bothered me and many others before! I think it will do a lot of great things for the community, keep up the good work!

  12. #12
    Basenotes Member Aseewald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    Quote Originally Posted by pkiler View Post
    I called TGSC today, and left a message...
    Was there any progress since September in the end? That’s the last I’ve heard that an attempt (by you I believe) has been made.
    Alex Seewald - Axwood - Bespoke perfumes in Manchester, UK 🌈🇪🇺🇬🇧🇫🇷

  13. #13

    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    And also, Paul, do you think RJR still has ownership on part of the Lefffinwell data ? I think I can ask him directly but if you know that'd be helpful.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    Triscuit, my answer to your question lies in this part of my answer to Xii :

    Quote Originally Posted by contrebande View Post
    with added collaboration, versioning, traceability, etc
    Both OrbitDB and Wikipedia have versioning and traceability embedded in them. Meaning that you know who changed what and when. OrbitDB, as an append-only signed Merkle tree, also adds trustlessness on top of that because it uses asymmetric cryptography to determine the identity of the users that add data to the system journal. Trustlessness here means that you do not have to trust the data, as long as you trust the maths behind the cryptography that is used to identify the users. Then you know if a manufacturer or IFRA itself has added, deleted or modified the data. I won't go into further details here but trustlessness is the reason why cryptocurrencies, amongst other things, are possible (and thriving).

  15. #15
    Basenotes Member Aseewald's Avatar
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    Default Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    Quote Originally Posted by Triscuit View Post

    I really like the idea of the wikipedia model here, with a community of moderators - not to where everyone can edit but that everyone can submit sources and findings for review. This keeps the data both public but also always up to date, and can be a space where the data is both preserved and continually moderated by multiple members.
    I’m with you.

    That’s the reason I want to start a Not For Profit organisation with the mission of:

    1/ preserving perfumery data before it disappears,
    2/ make allowances for keeping the data up to date (through a controlled self-service sort of system with data source / reference tracking) and
    3/ making it fully public and usable under a permissible “public domain” license.

    Because this would be done by a board serving this purpose, it resolves issues around one entity controlling everything, and also prevents stagnation at board level. I believe this can be done, the IFRA is a good example of this being done right in my view.

    The role of the NFP in the short term would be to obtain the data from different sources, get permission to make it public domain and also keep the data publicly available, allowing everyone to make a copy, so it never disappears again. Again the details are up for discussion.

    That said, Contrebande has a good point with regards to making sure the data must be duplicatable.

    We have the same intention - I differ in opinion in that I strongly believe we need a centrally controlled portal and avoid multiple copies of the data - providing at least one official reference. Possibly with partnerships with suppliers / manufacturers being negotiated.

    There are ways this can be achieved. I’d go with a very simple model initially as the world of perfumery is not a very technical one.

    A simple website with access to the data through a Frontend and allowing ways to download copies to inspect it and let people make further use of it would be the first step. Allowing submissions and building partnerships comes next.

    We have seen the Wikipedia model work. It has some issues but without going into too much detail, I can think of simple ways to ensure the data keeps its integrity.

    Note the intention is not only to preserve TGSC (should there be a problem with it at the moment) - but also other websites and sources as discussed in the video. Some sources also only exist offline (out of print books…) and could benefit from being rescued.
    Alex Seewald - Axwood - Bespoke perfumes in Manchester, UK 🌈🇪🇺🇬🇧🇫🇷

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    Quote Originally Posted by contrebande View Post
    Triscuit, my answer to your question lies in this part of my answer to Xii :
    Ah, see I was a little quick in posting the comment and interpreted your comments of decentralized data a little differently. From the standpoint of how the data is recorded or hosted, I guess the issue of centralization is not what I was worried about.

    @Aseewald I think you worded my concern a little better about providing a 'official' reference. If people can fork the entire database and do what they want with it anywhere and everwhere, it could lead to numerous merge conflicts and nobody will be able to determine the proper data to use at a given time.

    How do you imagine versioning would look like in this case? For a given scenario, imagine that I wrote some wrong information about a chemical over something that Paul Kiler contribtued. Sure there would be versioning to determine that I was the person who wrote over it, but would it depend on the community or moderators to ensure that the data is cleaned up? More importantly, if I were to post an excerpt from a book and not provide a reference to it, there can be legal issues with the ability to redistribute information in the website. Places like Wikipedia I believe have ways to determine copyright infringement before it is posted, but at least in the initial stage i'm not sure that will be easy to manage if users can add anything.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    Quote Originally Posted by Aseewald View Post
    Was there any progress since September in the end? That’s the last I’ve heard that an attempt (by you I believe) has been made.
    No, I've had no response to my calls, emails, or my handmade card. (one would have thought that a clearly handmade card would have elicited a reaction... Unless I made it too good, and they thought it was bought...)

    I've spoken with Bill on several occasions by phone, we've always had a great relationship, and I've always been effusive in my thanks to him for his site, so I don't think that there is even the slightest bit of issue between us personally. But that's all that I presently know and can offer to say.

    So, OK, Who lives close enough to Oak Creek, WI, 53154 USA to drive and visit them in person? Contrebande, how far is it from you?
    mmm, well, Quebec to Oak Creek is 1777 km 1104 miles
    Thats' a little far... :-)
    Maybe someone else lives closer...?

    Actually, William Benjamin isn't so far... This is a least doable... Minneapolis Minnesota to Oak Creek Wisconsin -
    487.80 km 303.11 miles

    Maybe someone else lives even closer?


    Paul Kiler
    PK Perfumes
    http://www.PKPERFUMES.com
    In addition to Our own PK line, we make Custom Bespoke Perfumes, perfumes for Entrepreneurs needing scents for perfumes or products, Custom Wedding Perfumes, and even Special Event Perfumes.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    Quote Originally Posted by contrebande View Post
    And also, Paul, do you think RJR still has ownership on part of the Lefffinwell data ? I think I can ask him directly but if you know that'd be helpful.
    I really have no idea, Ask John L.
    Paul Kiler
    PK Perfumes
    http://www.PKPERFUMES.com
    In addition to Our own PK line, we make Custom Bespoke Perfumes, perfumes for Entrepreneurs needing scents for perfumes or products, Custom Wedding Perfumes, and even Special Event Perfumes.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    Quote Originally Posted by contrebande View Post
    Hi Xii, I appreciate your input. But I think it will have the most value if you come join us (DM me for details).
    When you talk skills I honestly have no clue. I'd join gladly but I'd be waste of space.

  20. #20
    Basenotes Member Aseewald's Avatar
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    Default Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    Quote Originally Posted by Triscuit View Post
    Sure there would be versioning to determine that I was the person who wrote over it, but would it depend on the community or moderators to ensure that the data is cleaned up?
    Yes. Hence my idea to collaborate either with suppliers - or decide on a “honour” system adding more credibility to certain contributors. It’s impossible to keep track of absolutely everything - it’s a huge amount of work. But it can help mitigate the issue. Twitter offers a “verified” badge. Maybe that’s part of the answer. I’d implicitly trust a Givaudan contributor, contributing a lot of data automatically. If that were to happen. An indie perfumer contributing would need to present their source. This is something that can be defined and automated to a point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Triscuit View Post
    More importantly, if I were to post an excerpt from a book and not provide a reference to it, there can be legal issues with the ability to redistribute information in the website.
    Yes, sources will need to be verified. It feels like it’s linked to the above. I’d rather make people jump through a few hoops to make it a little harder to avoid copyright issues and increase the quality of the data.

    Different types of data will be handled differently. Example formulas will need a bit of moderating upon submission for example.

    The goal however is to minimise moderation as much as possible. An automated system that only requires minor human intervention would be best. I feel confident enough for this to work without too much effort.
    Alex Seewald - Axwood - Bespoke perfumes in Manchester, UK 🌈🇪🇺🇬🇧🇫🇷

  21. #21
    Basenotes Member Aseewald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    Quote Originally Posted by contrebande View Post
    And also, Paul, do you think RJR still has ownership on part of the Lefffinwell data ? I think I can ask him directly but if you know that'd be helpful.
    If you speak with him again I would ask him how he would feel about us getting a copy of the data and making it publicly available for a not for profit purpose to “the community”.

    Something in writing would be useful… then the community can take over. Let me know if you feel I should get involved - I’m quite serious about the NFP/Foundation/Trust idea. This gives the data a home short term and it can be released to the public domain with a clear history of the ownership.
    Alex Seewald - Axwood - Bespoke perfumes in Manchester, UK 🌈🇪🇺🇬🇧🇫🇷

  22. #22

    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    Quote Originally Posted by Aseewald View Post
    I’m quite serious about the NFP/Foundation/Trust idea.
    Yes I do get that you are. Based not only on our private conversations but also on what you write here, now. I get it. Loud and clear.

    Well, for the record, and as I have said numerous times in our private conversations and as I have hinted at it in our recorded video (I thought I was clear, but apparently not), I will not promote, support, participate in, or even debate or talk about a non-for-profit corporation or any such thing any further. I thourouhly disagree with it all and will not ever condone this course of action. Especially when we all agreed on the record, you included, that the only common goal we have now is to get a dump of the relevant data sets relicensed more permissively. And as per our agreement, that's the only thing I will promote and participate in at the moment. After that, you do your thing, whatever it is, and I will do mine. And to be clear : from now on, I will ignore any moralist or "altruistic" virtue signalling, campaigning and politicking for the establishment of one more governing/steering body I should subject myself to. Don't tread on me. And no, I don't need help talking to Leffingwell, I did just fine on my own the first time and I trust I will do even better now that the element of surprise is out of the way. But thanks for the offer, anyways.

    I also vehemently disagree that Paul should make any mention of an hypothetic NFP that may never exist to Bill and Linda Luebke should he get a chance to reach them. He does what he feels like doing, of course, but what he said he'd do and I ask nothing more of him is, if he feels they are receptive and feeling well enough, to merely mention that something is going on about a preservation effort for existing perfumery data, including their own. And of course, hear them out if they want to share their feelings about it. And report back to me privately if he feels the situation is somewhat sensitive, or on this thread if not. We will see from there.

    Of course, there will be people that trust human boards of directors, politics, ONGs, committees and the likes. There will be a target audience for that for a while still, namely those who don't know there are superior alternative solutions or that don't understand them. And they can do whatever they want with their time and money. But definitively count me out. There is the (steadily growing) rest of us that trust machines and maths waaaaay better than we trust humans. Simply because humans are corruptible and maths are not. That being said, both can coexist for some time, just like cryptos coexist with fiat at the moment. But you know, as they say : good luck to all and to each his own. I'm not saying that to start a man vs. machine flame war again and I will not add to it on this thread for sure. I'm just restating my point of view because it is relevant to the context and question that was asked directly to me. And because my point of view, perhaps surprisingly, has not changed, not one iota, not a dot.

  23. #23
    Basenotes Member Aseewald's Avatar
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    Default Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    Quote Originally Posted by contrebande View Post
    Well, for the record, and as I have said numerous times in our private conversations and as I have hinted at it in our recorded video (I thought I was clear, but apparently not), I will not promote, support, participate in, or even debate or talk about a not-for-profit corporation or any such thing any further.
    We are not disagreeing at all on the fact the data needs to be safeguarded and that it’s a relatively urgent matter, the initial first few steps still stand.

    I am mainly thinking of a separate work stream that, should there be an appetite for it, would allow a legally cleared, unencumbered data source that everyone can use, however they like, and without having to worry about legal technicalities. This is the best way to encourage wide adoption.
    Alex Seewald - Axwood - Bespoke perfumes in Manchester, UK 🌈🇪🇺🇬🇧🇫🇷

  24. #24

    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    Quote Originally Posted by Aseewald View Post
    We are not disagreeing at all on the fact the data needs to be safeguarded and that it’s a relatively urgent matter.
    We are disagreeing on the fact that, to me, it is urgent enough that now is not the time to talk about anything else than publishing, as soon as possible, anywhere possible, a relicensed static dump of the data sets as they exist now. We are also disagreeing on the fact that a CC license (like the one I already put on the PDPP website) or any other such license (and not NFPOs or NGOs or any such corporations) are sufficient to :

    Quote Originally Posted by Aseewald View Post
    allow a legally cleared, unencumbered data source that everyone can use, however they like, and without having to worry about legal technicalities.
    and that permisive, incessible, universal licenses (and not NFPOs or NGOs or any such corporations) are..

    Quote Originally Posted by Aseewald View Post
    the best way to encourage wide adoption.
    All in all, I think I have defined the scope of the Perfumery Data Preservation Project well enough that if a "separate work stream" should emerge from it, then it should and deserve to have its own thread and website and meetings, etc. I really want to focus, undistracted, on the publishing of the relicensed perfumery data static "as-is" dumps for now.

  25. #25
    Basenotes Member Aseewald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    Quote Originally Posted by contrebande View Post
    All in all, I think I have defined the scope of the Perfumery Data Preservation Project well enough that if a "separate workstream" should emerge from it, then it should and deserve to have its own thread and website and meetings, etc.
    It doesn't invalidate at all what we were discussing, and the reason I mention my intentions now is that I feel such a project should emerge from it.

    My intention is not to butt heads, therefore I might set something up separately to gauge interest in due course.

    Quote Originally Posted by contrebande View Post
    I really want to focus, undistracted, on the publishing of the relicensed perfumery data static "as-is" dumps for now.
    It's definitely the first step.

    That said if its license is encumbered, nobody will ever be able to make interesting use of the data. This needs addressing carefully.

    Let me be very clear — I'm absolutely not comfortable with doing anything with the data without clear, unencumbered licensing from the original authors. I've had enough dealings with such matters to know it can become a serious blocker further down the line.
    Alex Seewald - Axwood - Bespoke perfumes in Manchester, UK 🌈🇪🇺🇬🇧🇫🇷

  26. #26

    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    And to be even clearer, the choice of a license that meets our requirements (that we should make a list of) IS within the scope of the project. The establishment of a governing/regulating/overseeing state-registered corporate body, committee or board or any such thing for whatever allegedly relevant purpose IS NOT.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    First I am having a lot of trouble following what you are discussing. I know that you want to have a data base that is open sourced w minimal oversight, but precautions for contributing and editing. Trying to collect data on resources that are in danger of being shut down lost. Collecting data that is non accessible because out of print, or private data base.
    What support/input do you need from a non technical person, if any? I appreciate the efforts you are going to, I want to be more involved than just watching the ping pong ball of posts that are so above my head. So please tell a lay person what is needed...

  28. #28

    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    You might be interested in Aseewald's projet, then. The two of you should get in touch privately or on the thread/website he says he wants to setup. I called for "those of you with programming skills, especially in the areas of ETL, web scraping, database design, ontological engineering, decentralized, distributed data storage, etc., manifest yourselves here or contact me in private" on this thread's original post for the very specific reason that I wanted to get down and technical about the issue of perfumery data.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    Contrebande, and Aseewald... I think that your goals are very close...
    It would be sooo good to work together on something, building up community and relationship, I hope that you two can work it all out... :-)
    Paul Kiler
    PK Perfumes
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    In addition to Our own PK line, we make Custom Bespoke Perfumes, perfumes for Entrepreneurs needing scents for perfumes or products, Custom Wedding Perfumes, and even Special Event Perfumes.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Perfumery Data Preservation Project

    As far as I'm concerned, and if I understand correctly what he says about starting another group/thread/org/etc. somewhere else, with people that are interested, I think the matter is settled. And he (and anyone else) remains more than welcome to continue the effort that I started within the scope that I framed. I am adamant on staying on course, though. But thanks for your support, Paul, I appreciate it. As I'm sure you know, boys will be boys. And things like that, however annoying, are to be expected. That is why I think, like you said, they end up being the work of only one man in the end. I don't think we are that much better than previous generations in that way.




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