Week Beginning 16th April 2019

It was a four-day week due to Good Friday, and I spent the beginning of the week catching up on things relating to last week’s conference – writing up my notes from the sessions and submitting my expenses claims.  Marc also dropped off a bunch of old STELLA materials, such as old CD-ROMS, floppy disks, photos and books, so I spent a bit of time sorting through these.  I also took delivery of a new laptop this week, so spent some time installing things on it and getting it ready for work.

Apart from these tasks I completed a final version of the Data Management Plan for Ophira Gamliel’s project, which has now been submitted to college and I met with Luca Guariento to discuss his new role.  Luca will be working across the College in a similar capacity to my role within Critical Studies, which is great news both for him and the College.  I also made a number of tweaks to one of the song stories for the RNSN project and engaged in an email discussion about REF and digital outputs.

I had two meetings with the SCOSYA project this week to discuss the development of the front end features for the project.  It’s getting to the stage where the public atlas will need to be developed and we met to discuss exactly what features it will need to include.  There will actually be four public interfaces – an ‘experts interface’ which will be very similar to the atlas I developed for the project team, a simplified atlas that will only include a selection of features and search types, the ‘story maps’ about 15-25 particular features, and a ‘listening atlas’ that will present the questionnaire locations and samples of speech at each place.  There’s a lot to develop and Jennifer would like as much as possible to be in place for a series of events the project is running in mid-June, so I’ll need to devote most of May to the project.

I spent about a day this week working for DSL.  Rhona contacted me to say they were employing a designer who needed to know some details about the website (e.g. fonts and colours), so I got that information to her.  The DSL’s Facebook page has also changed so I needed to update that on the website too.  Last week Ann sent me a list of further updates that needed to be made to the WordPress version of the DSL website that we’ve been working on, so I implemented those.  This included sorting out the colours of various boxes, and ensuring that these are relatively easy to update in future, sorting out the contents box that stay fixed on the page as the user scrolls on one of the background essay sections, creating some new versions of images and ensuring the citation pop-up worked on a new essay.

I spent a further half-day or so working on the REELS project, making updates to the ‘export for publication’ feature I’d created a few weeks ago.  This feature grabs all of the information about place-names and outputs it in a format that reflects how it should look on the printed page.  It is then possible to copy this output into Word and retain the formatting.  Carole has been using the feature and had sent me a list of updates.  This included enabling paragraph divisions in the analysis section.  Previously each place-name entry was a single paragraph, therefore paragraph tags in any sections contained within were removed.  I have changed this now so that each place-name uses an HTML <div> element rather than a <p> element, meaning any paragraphs can be represented.  However, this has potentially resulted in there being more vertical space between parts of the information than there were previously.

Carole had also noted that in some places on import into Word spaces were being interpreted as non-breaking spaces, meaning some phrases were moved down to a new line even though some of the words would fit on the line above.  I investigated this, but it was a bit of a weird one.  It would appear that Word is using a ‘non-breaking space’ in some places and not in others.  Such characters (represented in Word if you turn markers on by what looks like a superscript ‘o’ as opposed to a mid-dot) link words together and prevent them being split over multiple lines.  I couldn’t figure out why Word was using them in some places and not in others as they’re not used consistently.  For this reason this is something that will need to be fixed after pasting into Word.  The simplest way is to turn markers on, select one of the non-breaking space characters then choose ‘replace’ from the menu, paste this character into the ‘Find what’ box and then put a regular space in the ‘replace with’ box.  There were a number of other smaller tweaks to make to the script, such as fixing the appearance of tildes for linear features, adjusting the number of spaces between the place-name and other text and changing the way parishes were displayed, which brings me to the end of this week’s report.  It will be another four-day week next week due to Easter Monday, and I intend to focus on the new Glasgow Medical Humanities resource for Gavin Miller, and some further Historical Thesaurus work.