Week Beginning 16th December 2019

This week the Scots Syntax Atlas project was officially launched, and it’s now available here: https://scotssyntaxatlas.ac.uk/ for all to use.  We actually made the website live on Friday last week so by the time of the official launch on Tuesday this week there wasn’t much left for me to do.  I spent a bit of time on Monday embedding the various videos of the atlas within the ‘Video Tour’ page and I updated the data download form.  I also ensured that North Queensferry appeared in our grouping for Fife, as it had been omitted and wasn’t appearing as part of any group.  I also created a ‘how to cite’ page in addition to the information that is already embedded in the Atlas.

The Atlas uses MapBox for its base maps, a commercial service that allows you to apply your own styles to maps.  For SCOSYA we wanted a very minimalistic map, and this service enabled us to create such an effect.  MapBox allows up to 200,000 map tile loads for free each month, but we figured this might not be sufficient for the launch period so arranged to apply some credit to the account to cover the extra users that the launch period might attract.  The launch itself went pretty well, with some radio interviews and some pieces in newspapers such as the Scotsman.  We had several thousand unique users to the site on the day it launched and more than 150,000 map tile loads during the day, so the extra credit is definitely going to be used up.  It’s great that people are using the resource and it appears to be getting some very positive feedback, which is excellent.

I spent some of the remainder of the week going through my outstanding ‘to do’ items for the place-names of Kirkcudbrightshire project.  This is another project that is getting close to completion and there were a few things relating to the website that I needed to tweak before we do so, namely:

I completely removed all references to the Berwickshire place-names project from the site (the system was based on the one I created for Berwickshire and there were some references to this project throughout the existing pages).  I also updated all of the examples in the new site’s API to display results for the KCB data.  Thomas and Gilbert didn’t want to use the icons that I’d created for the classification codes for Berwickshire so I replaced them with more simpler coloured circular markers instead.  I also added in the parish boundaries for the KCB parishes.  I’d forgotten how I’d done this for Berwickshire, but thankfully I’d documented the process.  There is an API through which the geoJSON shapes for the parishes can be grabbed: http://sedsh127.sedsh.gov.uk/arcgis/rest/services/ScotGov/AreaManagement/MapServer/1/query and through this I entered the text of the parish into the ‘text’ field and selected ‘polygon’ for ‘geometry type’ and ‘geoJSON’ for the ‘format’ and this gave me exactly what I needed.  I also needed the coordinates for where the parish acronym should appear too, and I grabbed these via an NLS map that display all of the parish boundaries (https://maps.nls.uk/geo/boundaries/#zoom=10.671666666666667&lat=55.8481&lon=-2.5155&point=0,0), finding the centre of a parish by positioning my cursor over the appropriate position and noting the latitude and longitude values in the bottom right corner of the map (the order of these needed to be reversed to be used in Leaflet).

I also updated the ‘cite’ text, rearranged the place-name record page to ensure that most data appears above the map and that the extended elements view (including element certainty) appeared.  I also changed the default position and zoom level of the results map to ensure that all data (apart from a couple of outliers) are visible by default and rearranged the advanced search page, including fixing the ‘parish’ part of the search.  I also added the ‘download data for print’ facility to the CMS.

Also this week I met with Alasdair Whyte from Celtic and Gaelic to discuss his place-names of Mull project.  I’m going to be adapting my place-names system for his project and we discussed some of the further updates to the system that would be required for his project.  The largest of these will be making the entire site multilingual.  This is going to be a big job as every aspect of the site will need to be available in both Gaelic and English, including search boxes, site text, multilingual place-names, sources etc.  I’ll probably get started on this in the new year.

Also this week I fixed a couple of further issues regarding certificates for Stuart Gillespie’s NRECT site and set up a conference website that is vaguely connected to Critical Studies (https://spheres-of-singing.gla.ac.uk/).

I spent the rest of the week continuing with the redevelopment of the Digital Humanities Network site.  I completed all of the development of this (adding in a variety of browse options for projects) and then started migrating projects over to the new system.  This involved creating new icons, screenshots and banner images for each project, checking over the existing data and replacing it where necessary and ensuring all staff details and links are correct.  By the end of the week I’d migrated 25 projects over, but there are still about 75 to look over.  I think the new site is looking pretty great and is an excellent showcase of the DH projects that have been set up at Glasgow.  It will be excellent once the new site is ready to go live and can replace the existing outdated site.

This is the last week of work for me before the Christmas holidays so there will be no further posts until the New Year.  If anyone happens to be reading this I wish you a very merry Christmas.