Week Beginning 17th November 2014

This week the Scots School Dictionary app I developed went live in the Apple App Store and the Android Play store!  (click on the links to view the information about the apps).  Other than a few further bits of App related business, I spent a lot of this week further developing the Mapping Metaphor website.

I’ve been working on alternative views of the data.  It’s now possible to view the data for any ‘drilldown’ visualisation as a table (I’ll be adding this functionality to the aggregate view too but haven’t done so yet).  When viewing the visualisation for a category, underneath the ‘info box’ on the left there’s now a ‘view’ section.  Clicking ‘Change view’ opens up a list of alternative view options (visualisation, table, card and timeline).  Select ‘Tabular view’ and you’re now presented with two tables – one showing the open L3 to L3 connections (e.g. all the Vs and Bs) and one showing the aggregate data (e.g. the number of connections each L3 ‘V’ category has with categories within each of the remaining L2 categories).  If you’ve selected an L3 category the rows in the tables that relate to this category are highlighted with the yellow border.

In the ‘info box’ you can still access the category info for the selected category and change the metaphor strength.  There is also a ‘download’ option and although this doesn’t work yet it will eventually allow you to download the tables as CSV files for use in Excel.  The ‘key’ option will also be updated to show information relating to the tables too.  You can order the tables by clicking on their headings (click a second time to reverse the order) and I’ve also ensured that the selected category always appears in the ‘category 1’ column.  In the earlier ‘view category’ table view the selected category (e.g. V01) would appear in either the ‘category 1’ or the ‘category 2’ column depending on how the data was originally coded, which made the tables somewhat difficult to use and inconsistent.

It’s possible to return to the visualisation view from the table view at the click of a button and it is all working rather smoothly (so far as I can tell at least).  There are still things I need to tweak (e.g. adding in table headings and colour coding categories) but it’s getting there.  I’ll start work on the card and timeline views once this is complete.

The table view linked to directly from all visualisations is going to replace the existing category view that is reached from the ‘browse’ facility.  The new tabular view provides a way of viewing the textual data that’s much more integrated with the rest of the site and I think works a lot better than the old view.  I’m hoping that the card and timeline views will fall nicely into place once the table view has been fully completed.  Extracting and formatting the data for use in the table required quite different techniques to those used for the visualisation so it took quite a lot of time to get the queries and the structure right, but this same structure should be usable for the card view and with a few tweaks for the timeline view too.

Other than working on the table view I made a few further tweaks and fixes to the visualisations, for example the way in which the number of aggregate links in the hybrid visualisation are calculated.  These previously defaulted to the total number of metaphorical connections and ignored the selected metaphor strength but now they take the strength into consideration.

I also spent some time this week working on the Scots Thesaurus project.  I investigated how to query the DSL XML data using FLOWR syntax using the BaseX front-end.  I’ve created a little query that searches through all the ‘senses’ but ignoring the citations for a supplied search term and then returns those entries that include the search term.  This will form an important part of the automated workflow that will allow a researcher to search the Historical Thesaurus of English for words and then automatically search the DSL for words returned.  I’ve begun working on a tool that will connect to both the HTE’s MySQL database and the DSL’s BaseX XML database and will provide an interface for researchers to use to do the following:

1. enter a word (e.g. ‘golf’) to find all lexemes and categories in the HTE that include this (e.g. all lexemes within a category that includes the word ‘golf’ plus any other lexemes that include this word)

2. view the returned results and filter out the ones that aren’t relevant (e.g. ‘hagolfaru’)

3. submit this filtered list to BaseX (containing the DSL XML), which will then automatically search the XML for occurrences of each word within entries, excluding citations.

4. View and download all entries that are returned from the baseX query.

So far I’ve got steps one and two completed but I haven’t got BaseX installed on a server yet so I can’t integrate the DSL side of things.  I’ve submitted a request to install BaseX to Arts Support so hopefully I’ll be able to finish work on this little tool next week.