Week Beginning 4th December 2017

I was struck down with some sort of tummy bug at the weekend and wasn’t well enough to come into work on Monday, but I worked from home instead.  Unfortunately although I struggled through the day I was absolutely wiped out by the end of it and ended up being off work sick on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I was mostly back to full health on Thursday, which is the day I normally work from home anyway, so I made it through that day and was back to completely full health on Friday, thankfully.  So I only managed to work for three days this week, and for two of those I wasn’t exactly firing on all cylinders.  However, I still managed to get a few things done this week.

Last week I’d migrated the Mapping Metaphor blog site and after getting approval from Wendy I deleted the old site on Monday.  I took a backup of the database and files before I did so, and then I wrote a little redirect that ensures Google links and bookmarks to specific blog pages point to the correct page on the main Metaphor site.  I also had some further AHRC review duties to take care of, plus I spent some time reading through the Case for Support for Joanna Kopaczyk’s project and thinking about some of the technical implications.  Pauline Mackay also sent me a sample of an Access database she’s put together for her Scots Bawdry project.  I’m going to create an online version of this so I spent a bit of time going through it and thinking about how it would work.

I spent most of Thursday and Friday working on this new system for Pauline, and by the end of the week I had created an initial structure for the online database, had created some initial search and browse facilities and I also created some management pages to allow Pauline to add / edit / delete records.  The search page allows users to search for any combination of the following fields:

Verse title, first line, language, theme, type, ms title, publication year, place, publisher and location.  Verse title, first line and ms title are free text and will bring back any records with matching text – e.g. if you enter ‘the’ into ‘verse title’ you can find all records where these three characters appear together in a title.  Publication year allows users to search for an individual year or a range of years (e.g. 1820-1840 brings back everything that has a date between and including these years).  Language, place, publisher and location are drop-down lists that allow you to select one option.  Themes and type are checkboxes allowing you to select any number of options, with each joined by an ‘or’ (e.g. all the records that have a theme of ‘illicit love’ or ‘marriage’).  I can change any of the single selection drop-downs to multiple options (or vice versa) if required.  If multiple boxes are filled in these are joined by ‘and’ – e.g. publication place is Glasgow AND publication year is 1820.

The browse page presents all of the options in the search form as clickable lists, with each entry having a count to show you how many records match.  For ‘publication year’ only those records with a year supplied are included.  Clicking on a search or browse result displays the full record.  Any content that can be searched for (e.g. publication type) is a link and clicking on it performs a search for that thing.

For the management pages, once logged in a staff user can browse the data, which displays all of the records in one big table.  From here the user can access options to edit or delete a record.  Deleting a record simply deactivates it in the database and I can retrieve it again if required.  Users can also add new records by clicking on the ‘add new row’ link.  I also created a script for importing all of the data from the Access database and I will run this again on a more complete version of the database when Pauline is ready to import everything.  This is all just an initial version, and there will no doubt be a few changes required, but I think it’s all come together pretty well so far.