Week Beginning 15th May 2017

I was ill this week and was off work sick on Wednesday and Thursday and because of this I didn’t manage to get much done with regards to the LDNA visualisations or the SCOSYA atlas.  I had to spend about half a day upgrading the 20 WordPress sites I manage to the most recent release and I spoke to Jane about the problems we’re having getting some space set aside for the website for her SPADE project.  I also replied to Alex Benchimol about a project he is putting together and completed the review of the paper that I had started last week.

On Tuesday I completed an initial version of the digital edition I have been working on for Bryony Randall’s New Modernist Editing project.  This version now includes all of the features I had intended to implement and I completed the TEI transcription for the whole manuscript.  Using the resource it is now possible to tailor the view as you would like to see it, ranging from a version of the text that closely represents the original typewritten page, including line breaks, handwritten notes and typos, through to a fully edited and ‘corrected’ version of the text complete with explanatory notes that closely resembles the text you’d find in an edited and printed edition.  I think it works rather well, although there are still some aspects that will need tweaking, such as adding in an introduction, possibly updating the way some features are labelled and maybe changing the way some of the document is tagged.

One new feature I added in this week that I’m rather pleased with is a reworking of the edition settings function.  Previously a user’s selected settings were stored in a JavaScript object behind the scenes; the site ‘remembered’ the settings as the user navigated from page to page, but if the user bookmarked a page, or copied the URL to send to someone or for a citation the exact settings would not be included and the default view would instead be loaded.  I decided that this wasn’t the best way to go about things so instead updated the JavaScript so that settings are now incorporated into the page URL.  This does make the URL rather longer and messier, but it does mean that the exact view of the page can be passed between sessions, which I think is more important than cleaner URLs.

When I returned to work on Friday I decided to make a start on the public interface for the database of poems and songs for The People’s Voice project.  I spent the morning writing a specification document and thinking about how the search would work.  The project website is WordPress based and I did consider developing the search as a WordPress plugin, as I have done for other projects, such as the SciFiMedHums project (see http://scifimedhums.glasgow.ac.uk/the-database/).  However, I didn’t want the resource to be too tied into WordPress and instead wanted it to be useable (with minimal changes) independently of the WordPress system.  Having said that, I still wanted the resource to feel like a part of the main project website and to use the WordPress theme the rest of the site uses.  After a bit of investigation I found a way to create a PHP page that is not part of WordPress but ‘hooks’ into some WordPress functions in order to use the website’s theme.  Basically you add a ‘require’ statement that pulls in ‘wp-load.php’ and then you can call the functions that process the WordPress header, sidebar and footer (get_header(), get_sidebar(), get_footer()) wherever you want these to appear.  All the rest of your script can be as you want it.

I emailed my specification document to the project team and started to work on the search interface in the afternoon.  This is going to use jQuery UI components so I created a theme for this and set up the basic structure for the search form.  It’s not fully complete yet as I need to add in some ‘auto-complete’ functions and some content for drop-down lists, but the overall structure is there.  The project team wanted pretty much every field in the database to be searchable, which makes for a rather unwieldy and intimidating search form so I’m going to have to think of a way to make this more appealing.  I’ll try to continue with this next week, if I have the time.