Week Beginning 5th December 2016

I spent the majority of this week working for the SCOSYA project, in advance of our all-day meeting on Friday.  I met with Gary on Monday to discuss some additional changes he wanted made to the ‘consistency data’ view and other parts of the content management system.  The biggest update was to add a new search facility to the ‘consistency data’ page that allows you to select whether data is ‘consistent’ or ‘mixed’ based on the distance between the ratings.  Previously to work out ‘mixed’ scores you specified which scores were considered ‘low’ and which were considered ‘high’ and everything else was ‘mixed’, but this new way provides a more useful means of grouping the scores.  E.g. you can specify that a ‘mixed’ score is anything where the ratings for a location are separated by 3 or more points.  So ratings of 1 and 2 are consistent but ratings of 1 and 4 are mixed.  In addition users can state whether a pairing of ‘2’ and ‘4’ is always considered ‘mixed’.  This is because ‘2’ is generally always a ‘low’ score and ‘4’ is always a ‘high’ score, even though there are only two rating points between the scores.

I also updated the system to allow users to focus on locations and attributes where a specific rating has been given.  Users can select a rating (e.g. 2) and the table of results only shows which attributes at each location have one or more rating of 2.  The matching cells just say ‘present’ while other attributes at each location have blank cells in the table.  Instead of %mixed, %high etc there is %present – the percentage of each location and attribute where this rating is found.

I also added in the option to view all of the ‘score groups’ for ratings – i.e. the percentage of each combination of scores for each attribute.  E.g. 10% of the ratings for Attribute A are ‘1 and 2’, 50% are ‘4 and 5’.

With these changes in place I then updated the narrowing of a consistency data search to specific attributes.  Previously the search facility allowed staff to select one or more ‘code parents’ to focus on rather than viewing the data for all attributes at once.  I’ve now extended this so that users can open up each code parent and select / deselect the individual attributes contained within.  This greatly extends the usefulness of the search tool.  I also added in another limiting facility, this time allowing the user to select or deselect questionnaires.  This can be used to focus on specific locations or to exclude certain questionnaires from a query if these are considered problematic questionnaires.

When I met with Gary on Monday he was keen to have access to the underlying SCOSYA database to maybe try running some queries directly on the SQL himself.  We agreed that I would give him an SQL dump of the database and will help him get this set up on his laptop.  I realised that we don’t have a document that describes the structure of the project database, which is not very good as without such a document it would be rather difficult for someone else to work with the system.  I therefore spent a bit of time creating an entity-relationship diagram showing the structure of the database and writing a document that describes each table, the fields contained in them and the relationships between them.  I feel much better knowing this document exists now.

On Friday was has a team meeting, involving the Co-Is for the project:  David Adger and Caroline Heycock, in addition to Jennifer and Gary.  I was a good meeting, and from a technical point of view it was particularly good to be able to demonstrate the atlas to David and Caroline and receive their feedback on it.  For example, it wasn’t clear to either of them whether the ‘select rating’ buttons were selected or deselected, which led to confusing results (e.g. thinking 4-5 was selected but actually having 1-3 selected).  This is something I will have to make a lot clearer.  We also discussed alternative visualisation styles and the ‘pie chart’ map markers I mentioned in last week’s post.  Jennifer thinks these will be just too cluttered on the map so we’re going to have to think of alternative ways of displaying the data – e.g. have a different icon for each combination of selected attribute, or have different layers that allow you to transition between different views of attributes so you can see what changes are introduced.

Other than SCOSYA related activities I completed a number of other tasks this week.  I had an email chat with Carole about the Thesaurus of Old English teaching resource.  I have now fixed the broken links in the existing version of the resource.  However, it looks like there isn’t going to be an updated version any time soon as I pointed out that the resource would have to work with the new TOE website and not the old search options that appear in a frameset in the resource.  As the new TOE functions quite differently from the old resource this would mean a complete rewrite of the exercises, which Carole understandably doesn’t want to do.  Carole also mentioned that she and others find the new TOE website difficult to use, so we’ll have to see what we can do about that too.

I also spent a bit more time working through the STELLA resources.  I spoke to Marc about the changes I’ve been making and we agreed that I should be added to the list of STELLA staff too.  I’m going to be ‘STELLA Resources Director’ now, which sounds rather grand.  I made a start on migrating the old ‘Bibliography of Scottish Literature’ website to T4 and also Jane’s ‘Accent change in Glaswegian’ resource too.  I’ll try and get these completed next week.

I also completed work on the project website for Carolyn Jess-Cooke, and I’m very pleased with how this is looking now.  It’s not live yet so I can’t link to it from here at the moment.  I also spoke with Fraser about a further script he would like me to write to attempt to match up the historical thesaurus categories and the new data we received from the OED people.  I’m going to try to create the script next week and we’re going to meet to discuss it.