Week Beginning 14th December 2015

So, here we are in the last full working week before the Christmas holidays. It’s certainly sneaked up quickly this year. I was sort of expecting work to be calming down in the run-up to Christmas but somehow the opposite has happened and there has been a lot going on this week, although I can’t really go into too much detail about at least some of it. On Monday I had a meeting with Gerry Carruthers and Catriona MacDonald about the People’s Voice project, which will be starting in January and for which I will be creating an online resource and giving advice on TEI markup and the like. We had a useful meeting where we discussed some possible technical approaches to the issues the project will be tackling and discussed the sorts of materials that the project will be transcribing. We arranged a time for a training session on Oxygen, TEI and XML in January, so I’ll need to ensure I get some materials ready for this. A lot of Monday and Tuesday was spent going through the documentation for the new Burns bid that Gerry is putting together and preparing feedback on this. Gerry is hoping to get the bid submitted soon so fingers crossed that it will be a success.

I spent a fair amount of time this week setting things up to allow me to access the ScotGrid computing resource in order to process the Hansard data for the Samuels project. This included getting my Grid certificate from John Watt and then running through quite a few steps that were required in order to get me SSH access to the Grid. Thankfully Gareth Roy had sent me some useful documentation that I followed and the process all went pretty smoothly. I have now managed to run a test script on the grid, and in the new year I will hopefully be able to set up some scripts to process chunks of the massive text file that I need to work with. On Wednesday I met with Chris McGlashan and Mike Black from Arts IT Support to discuss the possibility of me getting at least 300Gb of server space for a database in which to store all of the data I hope to extract. Unfortunately they are not currently able to offer this space as the only servers that are available host live sites and they fear having a Grid based process inserting data into might be too much load for the server. 300Gb of data is a lot – it’s probably more than all the other Arts hosted databases put together, so I can appreciate why they are reluctant to get involved. I’ll just need to see what we can do about this once I manage to get in touch with Marc Alexander. I believe there were funds in the project budget for server costs, but I’ll need to speak to Marc to make sure.

Also this week I helped Carole Hough out with some issues she’s been having with the CogTop website and Twitter, and spoke further with Pauline about the restructuring of the Burns website. She is now hoping to have this done next Monday so hopefully we can still launch the new version before Christmas. I also spent some time finishing off the final outstanding items on my Medical Humanities Network ‘to do’ list. This included allowing project members to be associated with teaching materials and updating the system so that the different types of data (projects, people, teaching materials, collections, keywords) can be ‘deleted’ by admin users as well as just being ‘deactivated’. Note that ‘deleted’ records do still exist in the underlying database so I can always retrieve these if needs be.

I was also involved in a lot of App based stuff this week. Some people in MVSL have been trying to get a paid app published via the University account for some time now, but there have been many hurdles on the way, such as the need for the University to approve the paid app contract, filling in of tax forms and bank account details, creating of custom EULAs and a seemingly endless stream of other tasks that need to be completed. I’ve been working with various people across the University to try and get this process completed, and this has taken quite a bit of time this week. We’re almost there now and I really hope that everything will be ready next week. However, even if it is the App Store will not be accepting app submissions over the Christmas holidays anyway so things are going to be delayed a little longer at least. I was also involved in a lengthy email discussion with Fraser Rowan about app development in the University. There is something of a push for app development and approval to be more formally arranged in the University, which I think is a good thing. There are lots of things that need to be considered relating to this, but I can’t really go into any detail about them here at this stage.

I will be working on Monday and Tuesday next week and then that is me off until the New Year.