Week Beginning 27th July 2015

It was another four-day week for me this week as I’d taken the Friday off to go away for a long weekend. The timing of this wasn’t all that great as it was another very busy week getting everything ready for the ISAS conference next week. However, I managed to get everything that needed to be done completed by skipping a few lunch breaks and working late a bit.

The first of three Old English related projects that I completed this week was the Essentials of Old English app. I’d actually completed this a couple of weeks ago but it takes some time for apps to be approved by Apple before they get added to the App Store, and thankfully I received the confirmation email this week that the app was up there. The Android version had already activated itself last week, and this is the first of the STELLA apps that is available on both platforms, which is rather nice. You can download the app for free from the Apple App Store and the Google Play store now. Search the stores for ‘Old English’ to find them. The browser based version of the resource that I also created, which also features links to the App / Play store, is available here:


I’ve also updated the STELLA homepage (http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/stella/) to give it the University interface and to divide the four resources that I’ve redeveloped so far from the ‘legacy’ resources that still need updating. I really need to make Android versions of the other three STELLA apps, but I don’t have the time to create these at the moment. Hopefully soon though.

The second Old English project was the redeveloped Thesaurus of Old English website, which I’ve been working on over the past few weeks with Fraser. We met with Marc to discuss the outstanding tasks on Monday and we also agreed on a colour scheme to use (greens). Fraser sent me all of the ancillary page text during the week and I added all of this too. Some of the pages took quite a while to mark up as they were full of footnotes and italic or bold text, but it’s great to have all of the text in place. I also implemented a very handy little pop-up box that allows users to search for a word in another external resource. The main HT site provides links to the OED, but for TOE we now provide a dialog box with several external search options, including the HT and the Bowsorth-Toller Anglo Saxon Dictionary. Clicking on one of the links automatically searches the selected resource for the word in question, which is rather nice. I had some problem linking through to the Dictionary of Old English at the University of Toronto as their search page uses POST not GET, meaning a simple link through will not work. Instead there’s actually a POST form behind the link and a bit of jQuery magic in the background actually submits the form when a user clicks on the link. Marc encountered a problem with it when ‘middle clicking’ to open the link in a new tab, and I realised that this was caused by jQuery’s ‘click’ function only picking up left clicks. ‘middle clicking’ wasn’t executing the jQuery function and just opens the TOE site in a new tab instead. I spent some time trying to get this working and realised that I’d need to use a different function instead – either ‘mouseup’ or ‘mousedown’. Unfortunately Firefox doesn’t allow these functions to open a new tab automatically – the user has to agree to allow the page to open one. There doesn’t seem to be a way around this, but it’s only an issue when a user ‘middle clicks’ – a normal left click opens the link as normal. I’ve also realised that due to a session variable on the Toronto site the search won’t run automatically the first time a user clicks on the button but instead shows the empty search form. Subsequent searches all work fine but the initial one doesn’t. Unfortunately there isn’t much we can do about this unless I get jQuery to sneakily connect to the Toronto site to initialise the session variable before a user clicks the search button, which doesn’t seem like very good behaviour. Anyway, apart from this little blip the site is all pretty much good to go ahead of next Monday’s launch.

The third Old English site I worked on was the Old English Metaphor map. Ellen supplied me with some updated data and I got this in place. I also fixed a highlighting bug in the links to the HT which was previously stopping any word with a less-than sign (actually quite a few Old English ones that show modern English equivalents) highlighting properly. The highlighting is working now, thankfully. I also uploaded the new OE specific site text. Ellen also sent me a list of updates to make and I managed to get these all ticked off as follows:

  1. ‘Categories complete’ now links to the OE page rather than the main page
  2. ‘Both’ is now the default strength for the OE map
  3. Tab and heading text has been updated
  4. I’ve updated the ‘number of categories’ that gets displayed at the top level when you click on a category. This now queries the database and only counts those categories that actually have OE links in them. It also takes strength into consideration but currently this only works if the page is fully reloaded. The strength selection boxes don’t fully reload the page, they just refresh the visualisation so the counts still refer to ‘both’. I’ve added this to my longer term ‘to do’ list.
  5. I’ve added buttons to add ashes and thorns to the quick search box in the top right of the page and also the quick search in the ‘search’ tab. I have not added them to the advanced search as the only text box here is explicitly for searching category names and descriptors and the facility to search HT is not part of the advanced search.
  6. I’ve removed the ‘click on category name…’ text
  7. I’ve fixed the yellow circle size problem in the aggregate view – I’d forgotten to update the script that generates the circles to use the OE table so it was actually showing the data for the main site.

Ellen also sent me a document containing the OE word counts for each category and I created a new OE specific column in the metaphor category table to hold these. I then updated the site to ensure that these OE word counts are displayed in the metaphor cards rather than showing the total number of HT words in the category.

I also squeezed in a couple of meetings with people about new projects this week too. On Tuesday I met with Rhona Brown to discuss a bid she’s putting together. I can’t really go into any details here but we discussed a few possible avenues and have agreed on a course of action to take for the digital components of her project. On Thursday I met with Megan Coyer and Hannah Tweed, who is the new RA for her project. The project is a Medical Humanities Network, and I will be setting up the website for this, based on the existing Digital Humanities Network resource.

Next week is the ISAS conference and fingers crossed the launch of the Thesaurus of Old English and the Old English Metaphor Map will go smoothly.