When Octameter was still a registered company, it had a notional focus on providing software consulting in LaTeX, TeX, and the BibTeX style language. However the company wasn't restricted to this: Norman has extensive experience in a broad range of other languages, and has used some of these in other Octameter projects. Mixed-language work will be a natural feature of some projects.

For the full range of work covered, see the distributions page.

Norman was a researcher on the Starlink and Astrogrid projects, writing experimental and production code, and negotiating new intereoperability standards within the Virtual Observatory. Those project experiences used most of the languages below.

TeX and LaTeX

conference and symposium programmes

Norman has broad experience of producing conference programme books for both large and small conferences. Programme thumbnail These have included large volumes of densely-packed information, attractively and accurately presented, building on data extracted programmatically from RDBMS and RDF databases.

The process involves working closely with the conference organisers, to identify an overall design, and to agree on the data sources for the schedule, abstracts and participants list. Since these may be changing almost up to the printing deadline, it is vital that the text is generated mechanically and reliably, and in harmony with the existing systems for managing registrations and submissions.

The 100-page NAM programme (above right) involved extensive work to normalise the participant names provided by the registration database, and to pull together the separately-maintained collection of abstract text, and the 30+ session schedules (on this occasion, the latter were managed by the various session organisers using Semantic MediaWiki; an interesting approach, but in the event one with more downsides than upsides).

The much smaller CEP symposium (below right) had a more lightweight process. Programme thumbnail Here, the majority of the text-entry was done by the conference organisers, using a custom LaTeX style file. Such an approach requires less programming, but more support (the cover photographs in this symposium booklet are by the organiser, Bryony Pierce, and are used here with permission).


The exam-n style is available online and on CTAN. This class is intended to be adapted to local layouts. This class is free software (LPPL), but Norman is available for paid support for it, and for consulting on how best to integrate it into an existing exams process.


Norman has also distributed a broad range of other LaTeX packages; see the distributions page for details.

BibTeX style language

Norman has contributed to the .bst styles for several LaTeX-based academic journals, both directly, and indirectly via the urlbst program.

Other languages and systems


Elsewhere, Norman is...