Week Beginning March 10th 2014

A very hectic week this week, with so much outstanding work to do for Mapping Metaphor ahead of the colloquium at the end of the month.  This was made slightly more difficult by my son coming down with chicken pox this week, meaning he was barred from nursery until his spots cleared up, which in turn meant I had to attempt to work from home whilst looking after him for two and a half days.  It actually turned out ok, thankfully, due to a combination of odd working hours (e.g. 6:30-8:30 while the boy slept, 19:30-21:30 when he was back in bed) and the mesmerising effects of Pixar films which kept him occupied for a few hours during the days.

Anyway, as previously mentioned, a lot of this week was spent on Mapping Metaphor duties.  I left for my holiday last week having dropped the bombshell that we had too much data for the visualisation options that we had decided upon.  However, on Monday I worked hard at addressing this problem by implementing a solution I had come up with in the meantime, specifically creating a hybrid of our top-level and drill-down diagrams that show just one level 2 category open while aggregating the metaphorical connections to the remaining categories.  It took a while to get this approach working, but having done so it actually works pretty well.  You can view the MMCats in a level 2 category, see which other level 2 categories each on connects to then open one of these categories to view the MMCats within it and all of the connections to the MMcats of the first category you’re looking at.  It still needs some tweaks but on the whole I think the approach is acceptable.

On Tuesday I focussed on implementing the metaphor card view of the search results.  It was agreed at the meeting last week that I should create different version of the card based on the PDF mock-ups that Marc had created and display these through the metaphor card view of the search results.  This would then allow people at the colloquium (and project staff) to decide which cards (or which elements of cards) they like best.  It took the best part of the day to get the layout and CSS figured out for 6 different card styles, and these are now available through the search results page.

My final Mapping Metaphor task this week was to develop the browse facilities for the metaphor connections.  This is an alternative to the visualisations for people who can’t necessarily get them to work on their computer (e.g. if their browser somehow doesn’t support SVGs).  It took about a day to develop the browse, which works as a sort of accordion style (although for now all the data is managed server side on page load rather than using any jQuery and AJAX.  I wanted to avoid anything too fancy as the browse is supposed to be a ‘low-tech’ solution.  How it works is you can click on a top level category (external / mental / social world) to view the level 2 categories contained within.  You can then click on one of these to expand a section containing the MMCats and from here you can click on an MMCat to view the metaphorical connections in a tabular format as with the search results.  You can also close sections by clicking on the headers again.  It works pretty well and doesn’t swamp the user with too much information.  And there are links to the visualisations from the metaphor connection table too.

Other than Metaphor stuff I also spent a fair amount of time on DSL development, addressing the issues raised by Ann and other team members in a feedback document that was sent around last week.  I also replaced the static sample XML entries for DOST and SND with the real thing, which Peter had made available through the API.  So now it’s possible to view the full DSL entries through the new website, which is a real step forward.  I had to tweak the CSS and the XSLT a little to work with the real data, but after doing so the entries I’ve looked at all seem to be laid out nicely.  I also implemented wildcard searches and had a couple of email discussions with Ann and Peter about the development of the front end and the API.  I think the new website is coming along nicely.

Also this week I helped Fraser out with some queries regarding the HT for the SAMUELS project.  I also gave some advice on digitisation and OCR to Bryony Randall in English Literature and made some further modifications to the Burns Choral website for Vivien.  I also provided some responses to the technical review of the Pennant bid that came back this week.