Week Beginning 17th September 2012

Lots more meeting people and discussing projects this week.  I spent some time reading through the project documentation for the Mapping Metaphor project, and also looked at some of the ongoing research, which is being compiled in Access databases and Excel spreadsheets.  I participated in two meetings for this project, one a more general project meeting and the other more technical in nature.  It seems like the technical aspects of the project are progressing nicely at this stage.  They are still very much at the data input and analysis stage, and discussions about how to visualise the connections between words over time will not be focussed on until later.

I also had a very interesting meeting with Alison Wiggins about the Bess of Hardwick project and was given a preview of the website through which the letters will be made publicly available.  The website, which is being produced by the University of Sheffield’s Humanities Research Institute, is looking really great, with lots of search and browse options available.  I spent a little bit of time this week trying out the site and providing feedback to Alison about the functionality of the website.

Another meeting I had this week was with Carole Hough to discuss a couple of upcoming conferences that will require web presences.  Nothing is imminently required for these conferences but I was able to provide some advice on how to manage the paper submission process and how the front ends of the websites could be created and managed.  For handling the logistics of paper submission I recommended easychair.org, a free online conference management system that I have used for previous conferences.  It’s a really handy system for keeping track of paper submissions, editorial groups and the peer review process.  For the front ends I recommended setting up a WordPress instance for each site, and I spent some time looking into WordPress and the customisation options for this.  There are so many modules, themes and plugins for WordPress that there really is no reason to create a conference website from scratch as everything is ready and waiting to just be tweaked and configured.   I’m still not sure at this stage whether I should personally be setting up these instances or just advising on which solution to use, I’ll raise it at the next DROG meeting.

A further meeting I had this week was with Marc Alexander and Stephen Barrett, who is currently creating a Gaelic corpus within the School of Humanities.  There were a lot of connections between the work Stephen is carrying out and the corpora held within SCS and we are hoping to work together to create one big corpus (with many subsets) for use by the College of Arts as a whole.  We are hoping to use the Open Corpus Workbench and are attempting to get some server space set up for test purposes.  I spent some time this week investigating the Open Corpus Workbench and corpus software issues in general

My final meeting of the week was with Jean Anderson, the previous head of STELLA and one of the major driving forces in Literary and Linguistic Computing projects at the University of Glasgow.  We had a hugely useful chat about my role, STELLA, projects and the School and I received lots of helpful advice.  Jean should be able to continue to provide advice and maybe participate in future DROG meetings, which I think would be very useful.  She also proposed that the Digital Resources Owners Group should have the acronym DROOG, a reference to the slang term meaning ‘friend’ in Burgess’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’, which I think is really rather good.  We just need to think what the second ‘o’ could stand for… Digital Resources Owners and Operators Group, perhaps?

Through the meeting with Jean I have a clearer picture of which STELLA teaching tools should maybe be prioritised and I’ll run this by Marc.  After that I should hopefully be able to get started updating them.

After the meeting with Jean we went to look at the work being carried out in 13 University Gardens.  It’s all looking really good, but things are definitely not as far advanced as I had hoped.  The previous estimate of October for moving in looks more and more likely.  Here’s hoping the HATII people don’t turf me out before then.

In addition to meetings I also attended the first lecture of the Literary and Linguistic Computing course and I am planning on attending a few more of these over the course of the academic year.  It’s useful to see what is currently being taught on this course as although I took the course myself as an undergraduate that was a fair number of years ago and it’s interesting to get an up to date overview of the subject.

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