Week Beginning 30th March 2020

This was the second week of the Coronavirus lockdown and I followed a similar arrangement to last week, managing to get a pretty decent amount of work done in between home-schooling sessions for my son.  I spent most of my time working for the Books and Borrowing project.  I had a useful conference call with the PI Katie Halsey and Co-I Matt Sangster last week, and the main outcome of that meeting for me was that I’d further expand upon the data design document I’d previously started in order to bring it into line with our understanding of the project’s requirements.  This involved some major reworking of the entity-relationship diagram I had previously designed based on my work with the sample datasets, with the database structure increasing from 11 related tables to 21, incorporating a new system to trace books and their authors across different libraries, to include borrower cross-references and to greatly increase the data recorded about libraries.  I engaged in many email conversations with Katie and Matt over the course of the week as I worked on the document, and on Friday I sent them a finalised version consisting of 34 pages and more than 7,000 words.  This is still in ‘in progress’ version and will no doubt need further tweaks based on feedback and also as I build the system, but I’d say it’s a pretty solid starting point.  My next step will be to add a new section to the document that describes the various features of the content management system that will connect to the database and enable to project’s RAs to add and edit data in a streamlined and efficient way.

Also this week I did some further work for the DSL people, who have noticed some inconsistencies with the way their data is stored in their own records compared to how it appears in the new editing system that they are using.  I wasn’t directly involved in the process of getting their data into the new editing system but spent some time going through old emails, looking at the data and trying to figure out what might have happened.  I also had a conference call with Marc Alexander and the Anglo-Norman Dictionary people to discuss the redevelopment of their website.  It looks like this will be going ahead and I will be doing the redevelopment work.  I’ll try to start on this after Easter, with my first task being the creation of a design document that will map out exactly what features the new site will include and how these relate to the existing site.  I also need to help the AND people to try and export the most recent version of their data from the server as the version they have access to is more than a year old.  We’re going to aim to relaunch the site in November, all being well.

I also had a chat with Fraser Dallachy about the new quiz I’m developing for the Historical Thesaurus.  Fraser had a couple of good ideas about the quiz (e.g. making versions for Old and Middle English) that I’ll need to see about implementing in the coming weeks.  I also had an email conversation with the other developers in the College of Arts about documenting the technologies that we use or have used in the past for projects and made a couple of further tweaks to the Burns Supper map based on feedback from Paul Malgrati.

I’m going to be on holiday next week and won’t be back to work until Wednesday the 15th of April so there won’t be any further updates from me for a while.