Week Beginning 20th July 2015

It was a four-day week this week due to the Glasgow Fair holiday. I actually worked the Monday and took the Friday off instead, and this worked out quite well as it gave me a chance to continue development of the Scots Thesaurus before we had our team meeting on the Tuesday morning. I had previously circulated a ‘to do’ list that brought together all of the outstanding technical tasks for the project, with 5 items specifically to do with the management of thesaurus data via the WordPress interface. I’m happy to report that I managed to complete all of these items. This included adding facilities to enable words associated with a category to be deleted from the system (in actual fact the word records are simply marked as ‘inactive’ in the underlying database). This option makes it a lot easier for Magda to manage the category information. I also redeveloped the way sources and URLs as stored in the system. Previously each word could have one single source (either DOST or SND) and a single URL. I’ve updated this to enable a word to have any number of associated sources and URLs, and I’ve expanded the possible source list to include the paper Scots Thesaurus too. I could have updated the system to incorporate any number of sources but Susan thinks these three will be sufficient. Allowing multiple sources per word actually meant quite a lot of reworking of both the underlying database and the WordPress plugin I’m developing for the project, but it is all now working fine. I also updated the way connections to existing Historical Thesaurus of English categories are handled and added in an option that allows a CSV file containing words to be uploaded to a category via the WordPress admin interface. This last update should prove very useful to the people working on the project as it will enable them to compile lists of words in Excel and then upload them directly from this to a category in the online database. On Tuesday we had a team meeting for the project and I gave a demonstration of these new features and Magda is going to start using the system and will let me know if anything needs updated.

I spent a small amount of time this week updating the Burns website to incorporate new features that launched on the anniversary of Burns’ death on the 21st. These are an audio play about Burns forgeries (http://burnsc21.glasgow.ac.uk/burns-forgery/) and an online exhibition about the illustrations to George Thomson’s collections of songs (http://burnsc21.glasgow.ac.uk/the-illustrations-to-george-thomsons-collections/).

I continued working on the SAMUELS project this week, again trying to figure out how to get the Bookworm system working on the test server that Chris has set up for me. The script that imports the congress data into Bookworm that I left running last week successfully completed this week. The amount of data generated for this textual resource is rather large, with one of the tables consisting of over 42 million rows and another one taking up 22 million rows. I still need to figure out how this data is actually queried and used to power the Bookworm visualisations and the next step was to get the Bookworm API installed and running. The API connects to the database and allows the visualisation to query it. It’s written in Python and I spent rather a lot of time just trying to get Python scripts to execute via Apache on the server. This involved setting up a cgi-bin, ensuring Apache knows about it, where it is and it has the permissions to execute scripts stored there. I spent a rather frustrating few hours getting nothing but 403 Forbidden errors before realising that you had to explicitly give Apache rights to do things with the directory in the apache configuration file as well as updating file permissions. By the end of the week I still hadn’t managed to get Python files actually running – instead the browser just attempts to download the files. I need to continue with this next week, hopefully with the help of Chris McGlashan who was on holiday this week.

I spent the majority of the rest of the week working on the Old English version of the Metaphor Map, which we are intending to launch at the ISAS conference. This is a version of the Metaphor Map that features purely Old English related data and will sit alongside the main Mapping Metaphor website as a stand-alone interface. Here’s a summary of what I managed to complete this week:

  1. I’ve uploaded OE stage 5 and stage 4 data to new OE specific tables
  2. I identified some rows that included categories that no longer exist and following feedback from Ellen I deleted these (I think there were only 3 in total)
  3. I’ve replicated the existing site structure at the new OE URL and I’ve updated how the text for the ancillary pages is stored: It’s all now stored in one single PHP file which is then referenced by both the main and the OE ancillary pages. I’ve also put a check in all of the OE pages to see if OE specific text has been supplied and if so this is used instead of the main text. This should make it easier to manage all of the text.
  4. I’ve created a new purple colour scheme for the OE site, plus a new purple ‘M’ favicon (unfortunately it isn’t exactly the same as the green one so I might update this)
  5. I’ve expanded the top bar to incorporate tabs for switching from the OE map to the main one. These are currently positioned to the left of the bar in a similar way to how the Scots Corpus links to CMSW and back work.
  6. The visualisation / table / card views are all now working with the OE data. Timeline has been removed as this is no longer applicable (all metaphors are OE with no specific date).
  7. Search and browse are also now working with the OE data.
  8. All reference to first dates and first lexemes has been removed, e.g. from metaphor cards, columns in the tabular view, the search options
  9. The metaphor card heading now says ‘OE Metaphor’ and then a number, just in case people notice the same number is used for different connections in the OE / non-OE sites.
  10. The text ‘(from OE to present day)’ has been added to the lexeme info in the metaphor cards.
  11. Where a metaphorical connection between two categories also exists in the non-OE data, a link is added to the bottom of the metaphor card with text ‘View this connection in the main metaphor map’. Pressing on this opens the nonOE map in a new tab with the visualisation showing category 1 and the connection to category 2 highlighted. The check for the existence of the connection in the non-OE data ignores strength and presents the nonOE map with both strong and weak visible. This is so that if (for example) the OE connection is weak but the main connection is strong you can still jump from one to the other.
  12. I’ve updated the category database to add a new column ‘OE categories completed’. The OE categories completed page will list all categories where this is set to ‘y’ (none currently)
  13. I’ve created staff pages to allow OE data to be managed by project staff.

Next week I’ll receive some further data to upload and after that we should be pretty much ready to launch.