Week Beginning 6th August 2018

I continued to work with the data for the Bess of Hardwick account book project this week.  I had intended to work on a couple of other projects that are just starting up, but there have been some delays in people getting back to me so instead I used the time to experiment with the account book data.  Last week I exported the data from the original Access database into a MySQL database, and this week I set about creating an initial online resource that would enable users to browse through the data.

I took one of my Bootstrap powered prototype interfaces for the new ‘Seeing Speech’ website and adapted this as an initial interface, changing the colours and using a section of an image of one of the account book pages as a background to the header.  It didn’t take long to set up, but I think it looks pretty good as a starting point.

I created ‘browse’ features that allow users to access the account book entries in a number of different ways.  The ‘Entries’ page provides access to the data in ‘book’ format.  It allows users to select a document, view a list of folios, then select a folio in order to view the entries found on it.  The ‘Entry modes’ page lists the entry modes (‘bill’, ‘wages’ etc), along with a count of the number of entries that have the mode.  Users can then click on an entry mode to view the entries that have this mode.  The ‘Entry types’ page is the same but for entry types (‘money in’, ‘money out’ etc) rather than modes.  The ‘Entities’ page lists the entity categories (e.g. ‘clothing’, ‘jewellery’) and the number of entities found in each.  Clicking on a category allows the user to view its entities (e.g. ‘eggs’, ‘gloves’) together with a count of the number of entries this entity appears in.  users can then click on an entity to view the entries.  The ‘Parties’ page lists the party status types (‘card player’, ‘borrower’ etc) and the number of parties that have been associated with the type (e.g. ‘Sir William’, ‘Anne Dalton’).  Users can click on a status to view a list of the parties, together with a count of the entries they appear in, and then click on a party name to view the associated entries.  The ‘Places’ page lists places together with a count of the entries these appear in, while the ‘Times’ page does something similar for times.

When viewing entries, each entry contains all of the information recorded about the entry, such as the cost in pounds, shillings and pence, the cost converted purely to pence, the main text of the entry, associated people, places, entities etc.  Where something in the entry can be browsed for it appears as a link – e.g. you can click on an ‘entry type’ to see all of the other entries that have this type.  I also added in a ‘total cost’ at the bottom of a page of entries, plus options to order entries by their sequence number or by their cost.

On Wednesday I met with Alison Wiggins to discuss the project and the system I’d created and she seemed pretty pleased with how things are developing so far.  There are still lots of things to do for the project, though, such as adding in some search functionality and some visualisations.  It should be fun to get it all working.

I dealt with relatively minor issues for a number of other projects this week.  This included setting up hosting for the crowdsourcing project for Scott Spurlock, making some tweaks to the SPADE website, upgrading all of the WordPress sites I manage to the latest version of WordPress, responding to a query Wendy Anderson had received relating to the Mapping Metaphor data, setting up hosting for our new thesaurus.ac.uk domain, setting up hosting for Thomas Clancy’s place-names of Kirkcudbright project and replying to an email from him about the Iona project proposal that’s still in development, and setting up a new page URL for Eleanor Lawson to use to promote the Seeing Speech website.

The rest of my week was spent on Historical Thesaurus duties.  I met with Fraser on Tuesday to help him to set up a local copy of the HT database on his laptop.  I’d managed to get a dump of the database from Chris and after a little bit of time figuring out where MySQL is located on a Mac, and what the default user details are, we managed to get all of the data uploaded and working in Fraser’s local copy of PHPMyAdmin.

On Friday I had a very long but useful meeting with Marc and Fraser to discuss future updates to the HT data and the website.  The meeting lasted pretty much all morning, but we discussed an awful lot, including a new thesaurus that has been developed elsewhere that we might be hosting.  Marc sent me on the data and I spent some time after the meeting looking through it and figuring out how it is structured.  We also discussed moving some of my test projects that are currently located on old desktop PCs in my office onto the old HT server and how we might use this server to set up a new corpus resource.  We talked about what we would host on the new thesaurus.ac.uk domain, and some conferences we might go to next year.  We spent some time planning the proposal for a new thesaurus that Fraser is putting together at the moment (I can’t go into too much detail about this for now) and how we might develop an actual content management system for managing updates to the HT database, with workflows that would allow contributors to make changes and for these to then be passed to the editor for potential inclusion into the live system, and we discussed the ongoing work to join up the OED and the HT data.  Following the meeting I made my updated ‘category selection’ page live.  This page includes timelines and the main timeline visualisation popup, as you can see here: https://ht.ac.uk/category-selection/?qsearch=wolf

We’re meeting again next week to discuss the OED / HT data joining in more detail.  I hope we can finally get this task completed sometime soon.