Week Beginning 6th January 2014

So here we are at the end of the first week back after the Christmas holidays.  I began this year as I ended the last one – by working on the redevelopment of the Scottish Words and Place-Names website.  I have now successfully moved all required content from the old website to the new one, and have set up a nice new interface to the glossary database.  I have also made the page design ‘resposnsive’, for the most part.  Carole, Ellen and I had a chat about the content of the discussion forum and we agreed that there wasn’t really anything in the forum that was worth keeping online – all necessary content had already fed into the glossary or appeared in other forms elsewhere such as through Facebook or Twitter.  With the forum out of the way and new input forms for words and place-names created we were ready to replace the old website with the new one, which should now be available here:


I also spent some time this week working on the redevelopment of the DSL website. This has included participating in some email correspondences with Ann and Peter, sorting out some server-level stuff with Chris McGlashan and getting to grips with the XML structure of the DSL entries, which has included thinking about how best to transform the entries into HTML.  Peter and I agreed that the API should export entries as XML (well, as XML embedded in a larger JSON file) and then the front-end would then use an XSLT stylesheet to transform this into the correct format for display.  Ann sent me a handy document detailing the major XML elements that appear in the entries and how she would like them to be displayed and hopefully it should be pretty straightforward to create an XSLT file that will be able to handle these requirements.

I attended a meeting of the newly started SAMUELS project on Tuesday morning, which was a good opportunity to hear about the project and meet the participants from Lancaster.  I’m not actually going to be involved very much in this project until the second phase begins in July, but it was still useful to hear how things will be proceeding, especially as the Lancaster team will be using the HT data exported from the MySQL database that I set up.

On Thursday I attended a project meeting for the Mapping Metaphor project, which was especially useful this time as I am getting back into the development of the visualisations now after a couple of months off the project.  Ellen had a great idea of plotting metaphor connections on a timeline to show when they were first recorded, and using the data in such a manner should be relatively easy to implement as I have had quite a bit of previous experience with both of the timeline software libraries that Ellen had been looking at (Simile and Timeglider), the former during my time working for the University Archives and the latter while investigating timelines for the Burns project.  I will be looking at setting up a metaphor timeline using one of these solutions in the next few weeks.  I also got back into working with d3 and my previous test visualisations this week, setting up a new bit of webspace to work on a proper version of the visualisations and spending a fair bit of time going through all of my test code, deleting stuff that was no longer needed and rationalising what needs to be kept.  It’s looking a lot tidier now, even though the end result still looks identical.  I also removed the ‘select time period’ slider from this version as we are no longer going to include this facility in the main visualisations – that is what the timeline will be used for instead.

Next week I aim to continue working with the mapping metaphor visualisations and the development of the new DSL website – unless anything else crops up!