Week Beginning 8th October 2012

I spent a lot of time this week on corpus related matters.  I managed to get a test corpus (well, in reality just one sentence) uploaded successfully through the CQPweb interface to our test instance of the Open Corpus Workbench, which felt like a real achievement.  The corpus appears to work successfully through the front end, including word frequency lists, searches and KWIC displays.  There is currently no access to the full text though and this still needs to be investigated.  I had a meeting this week with Stephen Barrett and Marc regarding corpus matters, which proved to be very useful.  We went through a few of the existing online corpora that utilise CWB / CQBweb which gave us some good ideas and we also discovered that I’d somehow managed to check out an older version of CQBweb from the Subversion repository.  After the meeting I rectified this and reinstalled the front end.  I also managed to get a couple of Stephen’s Celtic texts which he’d been having trouble with installed, and by the end of the week Stephen had managed to get his complete corpus uploaded, which really is progress.

I still haven’t got access to the SCOTS corpus server and I’ve chased up IT support about this.  Marc suggested that I might be able to get the necessary details from Flora and I’ll ask her next week if I’ve not heard anything further back from Chris.

Also this week I continued working on the mock-ups of the redevelopment of the STELLA applications.  This week I completed mock-ups for the ‘Essentials of Old English’ and I began looking into ‘Readings in Early English’.  The exercises for the Old English application threw up a number of conundrums for implementation, most notably how to deal with Old English characters ‘æ’ and ‘þ’ when users are required to input these.  For the app version we will be reliant on a mobile device’s built-in touchscreen keyboard that will overlay and obscure the web page.  These characters will not be available through this keyboard.  I’m still pondering how best to deal with this but it might be better for the sake of simplicity if we could just let users input ‘ae’ and ‘th’ instead of these characters and have the app transform these into ‘æ’ and ‘þ’ for display.

I had a couple of further meetings this week, one with Jeremy and then the general DROOG meeting.  Both were very fruitful.  I managed to speak to Jeremy about the ‘Essentials of Old English’ application as he created the content for this.  He would like to rewrite a lot of the content, although as he’s a very busy man I’m not sure when this might be completed.  He suggested prioritising ‘Readings in Early English’ initially.  At the DROOG meeting Marc suggested that ‘ARIES’ might be the best app to develop first as the online version of this tool continues to be used widely.  I think this is a good idea.

I demonstrated the mock-ups as they currently stand at the DROOG meeting and everyone seemed quite enthusiastic about them, which is encouraging.  I also had further contact with Alison Wiggins about a mobile / tablet version of the Bess of Hardwick site and it looks like we are going to take this forward.  We are hoping initially to make a mobile-friendly interface for the existing website (which shouldn’t take long) and we are hoping to put in a bid to develop a stand-alone app version of the letters after this.

Also this week I completed the migration of the Disability Studies Network from WordPress to Glasgow and that all seems to have worked out very smoothly.  I also had my first contact with the Burns people, providing some help on the addition of sound files to the Burns blog.  I’m meeting with the Burns project next week so I’ll find out more about my involvement then.

I’m still ensconced in the HATII attic this week, although I did peek once again into my new office.  It’s all pretty much finished now, but there is still no furniture and I’ve been told it might take a week or two to get furniture delivered even after I’ve been to the stores to select suitable pieces.  I emailed the estates people this week to see if there is any further news on a possible date of entry but I haven’t heard anything back yet.  I did think I might have flown the HATII nest by now.

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