I divided my time between a number of different projects this week. For Speak For Yersel I replaced the ‘click’ transcripts with new versions that incorporated shorter segments and more highlighted words. As the segments were now different I also needed to delete all existing responses to the ‘click’ activity. I then completed the activity once for each speaker to test things out, and all seems to work fine with the new data. I also changed the pop-up ‘percentage clicks’ text to ‘% clicks occurred here’, which is more accurate than the previous text which suggested it was the percentage of respondents. I also fixed an issue with the map height being too small on the ‘where do you think this speaker is from’ quiz and ensured the page scrolls to the correct place when a new question is loaded. I also removed the ‘tip’ text from the quiz intros and renamed the ‘where do you think this speaker is from’ map buttons on the map intro page. I’d also been asked to trim down the number of ‘translation’ questions from the ‘I would never say that’ activity so I removed some of those. I then changed and relocated the ‘heard in films and TV’ explanatory text removed the question mark from the ‘where do you think the speaker is from’ quiz intro page.
Mary had encountered a glitch with the transcription popups, whereby the page would flicker and jump about when certain popups were hovered over. This was caused by the page height increasing to accommodate the pop-up, causing a scrollbar to appear in the browser, which changed the position of the cursor and made the pop-up disappear, making the scrollbar go and causing a glitchy loop. I increased the height of the page for this activity so the scrollbar issue is no longer encountered, and I also made the popups a bit wider so they don’t need to be as long. Mary also noticed that some of the ‘all over Scotland’ dynamically generated map answers seemed to be incorrect. After some investigation I realised that this was a bug that had been introduced when I added in the ‘I would never say that’ quizzes on Friday. A typo in the code meant that the 60% threshold for correct answers in each region was being used rather than ‘100 divided by the number of answer options’. Thankfully once identified this was easy to fix.
I also participated in a Zoom call for the project this week to discuss the launch of the resource with the University’s media people. It was agreed that the launch will be pushed back to the beginning of October as this should be a good time to get publicity. Finally for the project this week I updated the structure of the site so that the ‘About’ menu item could become a drop-down menu, and I created placeholder pages for three new pages that will be added to this menu for things like FAQs.
I also continued to work on the Books and Borrowing project this week. On Friday last week I didn’t quite get to finish a script to merge page records for one of the St Andrews registers as it needed further testing on my local PC before I ran it on the live data. I tackled this issue first thing on Monday and it was a task I had hoped would only take half an hour or so. Unfortunately things did not go well and it took most of the morning to sort out. I initially attempted to run things on my local PC to test everything out, but I forgot to update the database connection details. Usually this wouldn’t be an issue as generally the databases I work with use ‘localhost’ as a connection URL, so the Stirling credentials would have been wrong for my local DB and the script would have just quit, but Stirling (where the system is hosted) uses a full URL instead of ‘localhost’. This meant that even though I had a local copy of the database on my PC and the scripts were running on a local server set up on my PC the scripts were in fact connecting to the real database at Stirling. This meant the live data was being changed. I didn’t realise this as the script was running and as it was taking some time I cancelled it, meaning the update quit halfway through changing borrowing records and deleting page records in the CMS.
I then had to write a further script to delete all of the page and borrowing records for this register from the Stirling server and reinstate the data from my local database. Thankfully this worked ok. I then ran my test script on the actual local database on my PC and the script did exactly what I wanted it to do, namely:
Iterate through the pages and for each odd numbered page move the records on these to the preceding even numbered page, and at the same time regenerate the ‘page order’ for each record so they follow on from the existing records. Then the even page needs its folio number updated to add in the odd number (e.g. so folio number 2 becomes ‘2-3’) and generate an image reference based on this (e.g. UYLY207-2_2-3). Then delete the odd page record and after all that is done regenerate the ‘next’ and ‘previous’ page links for all pages.
This all worked so I ran the script on the server and updated the live data. However, I then noticed that there are gaps in the folio numbers and this has messed everything up. For example, folio number 314 isn’t followed by 315 but 320. 320 isn’t an odd number so it doesn’t get joined to 314. All subsequent page joins are then messed up. There are also two ‘350’ pages in the CMS and two images that reference 350. We have UYLY207-2_349-350 and also UYLY207-2_350-351. There might be other situations where the data isn’t uniform too.
I therefore had to use my ‘delete and reinsert’ script again to revert to the data prior to the update as my script wasn’t set up to work with pages that don’t just increment their folio number by 1 each time. After some discussion with the RA I updated the script again so that it would work with the non-uniform data and thankfully all worked fine after that. Later in the week I also found some time to process two further St Andrews registers that needed their pages and records merged, and thankfully these went much smoother.
I also worked on the Speech Star project this week. I created a new page on both of the project’s sites (which are not live yet) for viewing videos of Central Scottish phonetic features. I also replaced the temporary logos used on the sites with the finalised logos that had been designed by a graphic designer. However, the new logo only really works well on a white background as the white cut-out round the speech bubble into the star becomes the background colour of the header. The blue that we’re currently using for the site header doesn’t work so well with the logo colours. Also, the graphic designer had proposed using a different font for the site and I decided to make a new interface for the site, which you can see below. I’m still waiting for feedback to see whether the team prefer this to the old interface (a screenshot of which you can see on this page: https://digital-humanities.glasgow.ac.uk/2022-01-17/) but I personally think it looks a lot better.
I also returned to the Burns Manuscript database that I’d begun last week. I added a ‘view record’ icon to each row which if pressed on opens a ‘card’ view of the record on its own page. I also added in the search options, which appear in a section above the table. By default, the section is hidden and you can show/hide it by pressing on a button. Above this I’ve also added in a placeholder where some introductory text can go. If you open the ‘Search options’ section you’ll find text boxes where you can enter text for year, content, properties and notes. For year you can either enter a specific year or a range. The other text fields are purely free-text at the moment, so no wildcards. I can add these in but I think it would just complicate things unnecessarily. On the second row are checkboxes for type, location name and condition. You can select one or more of each of these.
The search options are linked by AND, and the checkbox options are linked internally by OR. For example, filling in ‘1780-1783’ for year and ‘wrapper’ for properties will find all rows with a date between 1780 and 1783 that also have ‘wrapper’ somewhere in their properties. If you enter ‘work’ in content and select ‘Deed’ and ‘Fragment’ as types you will find all rows that are either ‘Deed’ or ‘Wrapper’ and have ‘work’ in their content.
If a search option is entered and you press the ‘Search’ button the page will reload with the search options open, and the page will scroll down to this section. Any rows matching your criteria will be displayed in the table below this. You can also clear the search by pressing on the ‘Clear search options’ button. In addition, if you’re looking at search results and you press on the ‘view record’ button the ‘Return to table’ button on the ‘card’ view will reload the search results. That’s this mini-site completed now, pending feedback from the project team, and you can see a screenshot of the site with the search box open below:
Also this week I’d arranged an in-person coffee and catch up with the other College of Arts developers. We used to have these meetings regularly before Covid but this was the first time since then that we’d all met up. It was really great to chat with Luca Guariento, Stevie Barrett and David Wilson again and to share the work we’d been doing since we last met. Hopefully we can meet again soon.
Finally this week I helped out with a few WordPress questions from a couple of projects and I also had a chance to update all of the WordPress sites I manage (more than 50) to the most recent version.
I continued to spend a lot of my time working on the Speak For Yersel project this week. We had a team meeting on Monday at which we discussed the outstanding tasks and particularly how I was going to tackle converting the quiz questions into dynamic answers. Previously the quiz question answers were static, which will not work well as the maps the users will reference in order to answer a question are dynamic, meaning the correct answer may evolve over time. I had proposed a couple of methods that we could use to ensure that the answers were dynamically generated based on the currently available data and we finalised our approach today.
Although I’d already made quite a bit of progress with my previous test scripts, there was still a lot to do to actually update the site. I needed to update the structure of the database, the script that outputs the data for use in the site, the scripts that handle the display of questions and the evaluation of answers, and the scripts that store a user’s selected answers.
Changes to the database allow for dynamic quiz questions to be stored (non-dynamic ones have fixed ‘answer options’ but dynamic ones don’t). Changes also allow for references to the relevant answer option of the survey question the quiz question is about to be stored (e.g. that the quiz is about the ‘mother’ map and specifically about the use of ‘mam’). I made significant updates to the script that outputs data for use in the site to integrate the functions from my earlier test script that calculated the correct answer. I updated these functions to change the logic somewhat. They now only use ‘method 1’ as mentioned in an earlier post. This method also now has a built-in check to filter out regions that have the highest percentage of usage but only a limited amount of data. Currently this is set to a minimum of 10 answers for the option in question (e.g. ‘mam’) rather than total number of answers in a region. Regions are ordered by their percentage usage (highest first) and the script iterates down through the regions and will pick as ‘correct’ the first one that has at least 10 answers. I’ve also added in a contingency in cases where none of the regions have at least 10 answers (currently the case for the ‘rocket’ question). In such cases the region marked as ‘correct’ will be the one that has the highest raw count of answers for the answer option rather than the highest percentage.
With the ‘correct’ region picked out the script then picks out all other regions where the usage percentage is at least 10% lower than the correct percentage. This is to ensure that there isn’t an ‘incorrect’ answer that is too similar to the ‘correct’ one. If this results in less than three regions (as regions are only returned if they have clicks for the answer option) then the system goes through the remaining regions and adds these in with a zero percentage. These ‘incorrect’ regions are then shuffled and three are picked out at random. The ‘correct’ answer is then added to these three and the options are shuffled again to ensure the ‘correct’ option is randomly positioned. The dynamically generated output is then plugged into the output script that the website uses.
I then updated the front-end to work with this new data. This also required me to create a new database table to hold the user’s answers, storing the region the user presses on and whether their selection was correct, along with the question ID and the person ID. Non-dynamic answers store the ID of the ‘answer option’ that the user selected, but these dynamic questions don’t have static ‘answer options’ so the structure needed to be different.
I then implemented the dynamic answers for the ‘most of Scotland’ questions. For these questions the script needs to evaluate whether a form is used throughout Scotland or not. The algorithm gets all of the answer options for the survey question (e.g. ‘crying’ and ‘greetin’) and for each region works out the percentage of responses for each option. The team had previously suggested a fixed percentage threshold of 60%, but I reckoned it might be better for the threshold to change depending on how many answer options there are. Currently I’ve set the threshold to be 100 divided by the number of options. So where there are two options the threshold is 50%. Where there are four options (e.g. the ‘wean’ question) the threshold is 25% (i.e. if 25% or more of the answers in a region are for ‘wean’ it is classed as present in the region). Where there are three options (e.g. ‘clap’) the threshold is 33%. Where there are 5 options (e.g. ‘clarty’) the threshold is 20%.
The algorithm counts the number of regions that meet the threshold, and if the number is 8 or more then the term is considered to be found throughout Scotland and ‘Yes’ is the correct answer. If not then ‘No’ is the correct answer. I also had to update the way answers are stored in the database so these yes/no answers can be saved (as they have no associated region like the other questions).
I then moved onto tackling the non-standard (in terms of structure) questions to ensure they are dynamically generated as well. These were rather tricky to do as they each had to be handled differently as they were asking different things of the data (e.g. a question like ‘What are you likely to call the evening meal if you live in Tayside and Angus (Dundee) and didn’t go to Uni?’). I also made the ‘Sounds about right’ quiz dynamic.
I then moved onto tackling the ‘I would never say that’ quiz, which has been somewhat tricky to get working as the structure of the survey questions and answers is very different. Quizzes for the other surveys involved looking at a specific answer option but for this survey the answer options are different rating levels that each need to be processed and handled differently.
For this quiz for each region the system returns the number of times each rating level has been selected and works out the percentages for each. It then adds the ‘I’ve never heard this’ and ‘people elsewhere say this’ percentages together as a ‘no’ percentage and adds the ‘people around me say this’ and ‘I’d say this myself’ percentages together as a ‘yes’ percentage. Currently there is no weighting but we may want to consider this (e.g. ‘I’d say this’ would be worth more than ‘people around me’).
With these ratings stored the script handled question types differently. For the ‘select a region’ type of question the system works in a similar way to the other quizzes: It sorts the regions by ‘yes’ percentage with the biggest first. It then iterates through the regions and picks as the correct answer the first it comes to where the total number of responses for the region is the same or greater than the minimum allowed (currently set to 10). Note that this is different to the other quizzes where this check for 10 is made against the specific answer option rather than the number of responses in the region as a whole.
If no region passes the above check then the region with the highest ‘yes’ percentage without a minimum allowed check is chosen as the correct answer. The system then picks out all other regions with data where the ‘yes’ percentage is at least 10% lower than the correct answer, adds in regions with no data if less than three have data, shuffles the regions and picks out three. These are then added to the ‘correct’ region and the answers are shuffled again.
I changed the questions that had an ‘all over Scotland’ answer option so that these are now ‘yes/no’ questions, e.g. ‘Is ‘Are you wanting to come with me?’ heard throughout most of Scotland?’. For these questions the system uses 8 regions as the threshold, as with the other quizzes. However, the percentage threshold for ‘yes’ is fixed. I’ve currently set this to 60% (i.e. at least 60% of all answers in a region are either ‘people around me say this’ or ‘I’d say this myself’). There is currently no minimum number of responses limit for this question type, so a region with 1 single answer that’s ‘people around me say this’ will have a 100% ‘yes’ and the region will included. This is also the case for the ‘most of Scotland’ questions in the other quizzes, as we may need to tweak this.
As we’re using percentages rather than exact number of dots the questions can sometimes be a bit tricky. For example the first question currently has Glasgow as the correct answer because all but two of the markers in this region are ‘people around me say this’ or ‘I’d say this myself’. But if you turn off the other two categories and just look at the number of dots you might surmise that the North East is the correct answer as there are more dots there, even though proportionally fewer of them are the high ratings. I don’t know if we can make it clearer that we’re asking which region has proportionally more higher ratings without confusing people further, though.
I also spent some time this week working on the Book and Borrowing project. I had to make a few tweaks to the Chambers map of borrowers to make the map work better on smaller screens. I ensured that both the ‘Map options’ section on the left and the ‘map legend’ on the right are given a fixed height that is shorter than the map and the areas become scrollable, as I’d noticed that on short screens both these areas could end up longer than the map and therefore their lower parts were inaccessible. I’ve also added a ‘show/hide’ button to the map legend, enabling people to hide the area if it obscures their view of the map.
I also sent on some renamed library register files from St Andrews to Gerry for him to align with existing pages in the CMS, replaced some of the page images for the Dumfries register and renamed and uploaded images for a further St Andrews register that already existed in the CMS, ensuring the images became associated with the existing pages.
I started to work on the images for another St Andrews register that already exists in the system, but for this one the images are a double page spread so I need to merge two pages into one in the CMS. The script needs to find all odd numbered pages then move the records on these to the preceding even numbered page, and at the same time regenerate the ‘page order’ for each record so they follow on from the existing records. Then the even page needs its folio number updated to add in the odd number (e.g. so folio number 2 becomes ‘2-3’. Then I need to delete the odd page record and after all that is done I need to regenerate the ‘next’ and ‘previous’ page links for all pages. I completed everything except the final task, but I really need to test the script out on a version of the database running on my local PC first, as if anything goes wrong data could very easily be lost. I’ll need to tackle this next week as I ran out of time this week.
I also participated in our six-monthly formal review meeting for the Dictionaries of the Scots Language where we discussed our achievements in the past six months and our plans for the next. I also made some tweaks to the DSL website, such as splitting up the ‘Abbreviations and symbols’ buttons into two separate links, updating the text found on a couple of the old maps pages and considering future changes to the bibliography XSLT to allow links in the ‘oral sources’
Finally this week I made a start on the Burns manuscript database for Craig Lamont. I wrote a script that extracts the data from Craig’s spreadsheet and imports it into an online database. We will be able to rerun this whenever I’m given a new version of the spreadsheet. I then created an initial version of a front-end for the database within the layout for the Burns Correspondence and Poetry site. Currently the front-end only displays the data in one table with columns for type, date, content, physical properties, additional notes and locations. The latter contains the location name, shelfmark (if applicable) and condition (if applicable) for all locations associated with a record, each on a separate line with the location name in bold. Currently it’s possible to order the columns by clicking on them. Clicking a second time reverses the order. I haven’t had a chance to create any search or filter options yet but I’m intending to continue with this next week.
I spent the majority of the week continuing to work on the Speak For Yersel resource, working through a lengthy document of outstanding tasks that need to be completed before the site is launched in September. First up was the output for the ‘Where do you think is speaker is from’ click activity. The page features some explanatory text and a drop-down through which you can select a speaker. When this is clicked on the user is presented with the option to play the audio file and can view the transcript.
I decided to make the transcript chunks visible with a green background that’s slightly different from the colour of the main area. I thought it would be useful for people to be able to tell which of the ‘bigger’ words was part of which section, as it may well be that the word that caused a user to ‘click’ a section is not the word that we’ve picked for the section. For example, in the Glasgow transcript ‘water’ is the chosen word for one section but I personally I clicked this section because ‘hands’ was pronounced ‘honds’. Another reason to make the chunks visible is because I’ve managed to set up the transcript to highlight the appropriate section as the audio plays. Currently the section that is playing is highlighted in white and this really helps to get your eye in whilst listening to the audio.
In terms of resizing the ‘bigger’ words, I chose the following as a starting point: Less than 5% of the clicks: word is bold but not bigger (default font size for the transcript area is currently 16pt); 5-9%: 20pt; 10-14%: 25pt; 15-19%: 30pt; 20-29%: 35pt; 30-49%: 40pt; 50-74%: 45pt; 75% or more: 50pt.
I’ve also given the ‘bigger’ word a tooltip that displays the percentage of clicks responsible for its size as I thought this might be useful for people to see. We will need to change the text, though. Currently it says something like ‘15% of respondents clicked in this section’ but it’s actually ‘15% of all clicks for this transcript were made in this section’ which is a different thing, but I’m not sure how best to phrase it. Where there is a pop-up for a word it appears in the blue font and the pop-up text contains the text that the team has specified. Where the pop-up word is also the ‘bigger’ word (most but not always the case) then the percentage text also appears in the popup, below the text. Here’s a screenshot of how the feature currently looks:
I then moved onto the ‘I would never say that’ activities. This is a two-part activity, with the first part involving the user dragging and dropping sentences into either a ‘used in Scots’ or ‘isn’t used in Scots’ column and then checking their answers. The second part has the user translating a Scots sentence into Standard English by dragging and dropping possible words into a sentence area. My first task was to format the data used for the activity, which involved creating a suitable data structure in JSON and then migrating all of the data into this structure from a Word document. With this in place I then began to create the front-end. I’d created similar drag and drop features before (including for another section of the current resource) and therefore used the same technologies: The jQuery UI drag and drop library (https://jqueryui.com/draggable/). This allowed me to set up two areas where buttons could be dropped and then create a list of buttons that could be dragged. I then had to work on the logic for evaluating the user’s answers. This involved keeping a tally of the number of buttons that had been dropped into one or other of the boxes (which also had to take into consideration that the user can drop a button back in the original list) and when every button has been placed in a column a ‘check answers’ button appears. On pressing, the code then fixes the draggable buttons in place and compares the user’s answers with the correct answers, adding a ‘tick’ or ‘cross’ to each button and giving an overall score in the middle. There are multiple stages to this activity so I also had to work on the logic for loading a new set of sentences with their own introductory text, or moving onto part two of the activity if required. Below is a screenshot of part 1 with some of the buttons dragged and dropped:
Part two of the activity involved creating a sentence by choosing words to add. The original plan was to have the user click on a word to add it to the sentence, or click on the word in the sentence to remove it if required. I figured that using a drag and drop method and enabling the user to move words around the sentence after they have dropped them if required would be more flexible and would fit in better with the other activities in the site. I was just going to use the same drag and drop library that I’d used for part one, but then I spotted a further jQuery interaction called sortable that allowed for connected lists (https://jqueryui.com/sortable/#connect-lists). This allowed items within a list to be sortable, but also for items to be dragged and dropped from one list to another. This sounded like the ideal solution, so I set about investigating its usage.
It took some time to style the activity to ensure that empty lists were still given space on the screen, and to ensure the word button layout worked properly, but after that the ‘sentence builder’ feature worked very well – the user could move words between the sentence area and the ‘list of possible words’ area and rearrange their order as required. I set up the code to ensure a ‘check answers’ button appeared when at least one word had been added to the sentence (disappearing again if the user removes all words). When the ‘check answers’ button is pressed the code grabs the content of the buttons in the sentence area in the order the buttons have been added and creates a sentence from the text. It then compares this to one of the correct sentences (of which there may be more than one). If the answer is correct a ‘tick’ is added after the sentence and if it’s wrong a ‘cross’ is added. If there are multiple correct answers the other correct possibilities are displayed, and if the answer was wrong all correct answers are displayed. Then it’s on to the next sentence, or the final evaluation. Here’s a screenshot of part 2 with some words dragged and dropped:
Whilst working on part two it became clear that the ‘sortable’ solution I’d developed for part 2 worked better than the other draggable method I’d used for part one. This is because the ‘sortable’ solution uses HTML lists and ‘snaps’ each item into place whereas the previous method just leaves the draggable item wherever the user drops it (so long as it’s in the confines of the droppable box). This means things can look a bit messy. I therefore revisited part 1 and replaced the method. This took a bit of time to implement as I had to rework a lot of the logic, but I think it was worth it.
Also this week I spent a bit of time working for the Dictionaries of the Scots Language. I had a conversation with Pauline Graham about the workflow for updates to the online data. I also investigated a couple of issues with entries for Ann Fergusson. One entry (sleesh) wasn’t loading as there were spaces in the entry’s ‘slug’. Spaces in URLs can cause issues and this is what was happening with this entry. I updated the URL information in the database so that ‘sleesh_n1 and v’ has been changed to ‘sleesh_n1_and_v’ and this has fixed the issue. I also updated the XML in the online system so the first URL is now <url>sleesh_n1_and_v</url>. I checked the online database and thankfully no other entries have a space in their ‘slug’ so this issue doesn’t affect anything else. The second issue related to an entry that doesn’t appear in the online database. It was not in the data I was sent and wasn’t present in several previous versions of the data, so in this case something must have happened prior to the data getting sent to me. I also had a conversation about the appearance of yogh characters in the site.
I also did a bit more work for the Books and Borrowing project this week. I added two further library registers from the NLS to our system. This means there should now only be one further register to come from the NLS, which is quite a relief as each register takes some time to process. I also finally got round to processing the four registers for St Andrews, which had been on my ‘to do’ list since late July. It was very tricky to rename the images into a format that we can use on the server because the lack of trailing zeros meant a script to batch process the images loaded them in the wrong order. The was made worse because rather than just being numbered sequentially the image filenames were further split into ‘parts’. For example, the images beginning ‘UYLY 207 11 Receipt book part 11’ were being processed before images beginning ‘UYLY 207 11 Receipt book part 2’ as programming languages when ordering strings consider 11, 12 etc to come before 2. This was also then happening within each ‘part’, e.g. ‘UYLY207 15 part 43_11.jpg’ was coming before ‘UYLY207 15 part 43_2.jpg’. It took most of the morning to sort this out, but I was then able to upload the images to the server and I create new registers, generate pages and associate images for the two new registers (207-11 and 207-15).
However, the other two registers already exist in the CMS as page records with associated borrowing records. Each image of the register is an open spread showing two borrowing pages and we had previously decided that I should run a script to merge pages in the CMS and then associate the merged record with one of the page images. However, I’m afraid this is going to need some manual intervention. Looking at the images for 206-1 and comparing them to the existing page records for this register, it’s clear that there are many blank pages in the two-page spreads that have not been replicated in the CMS. For example, page 164 in the CMS is for ‘Profr Spens’. The corresponding image (in my renamed images) is ‘UYLY206-1_00000084.jpg’. The data is on the right-hand page and the left-hand page is blank. But in the CMS the preceding page is for ‘Prof. Brown’, which is on the left-hand page of the preceding image. If I attempted to automatically merge these two page records into one this would therefore result in an error.
I’m afraid what I need is for someone who is familiar with the data to look through the images and the pages and create a spreadsheet noting which pages correspond to which image. Where multiple pages correspond to one page I can then merge the records. So for example: Pages 159 (id 1087) and 160 (ID 1088) are found on image UYLY206-1_00000082.jpg. Page 161 (1089) corresponds to UYLY206-1_00000083.jpg. The next page in the CMS is 164 (1090) and this corresponds to UYLY206-1_00000084.jpg. So a spreadsheet could have two columns:
Page ID Image
Also, the page numbers in the CMS don’t tally with the handwritten page numbers in the images (e.g. the page record 1089 mentioned above has page 161 but the image has page number 162 written on it). And actually, the page numbers would need to include two pages, e.g. 162-163. Ideally whoever is going to manually create the spreadsheet could add new page numbers as a further column and I could then fix these when I process the spreadsheet too. This task is still very much in progress.
Also for the project this week I created a ‘full screen’ version of the Chambers map that will be pulled into an iframe on the Edinburgh University Library website when they create an online exhibition based on our resource.
Finally this week I helped out Sofia from the Iona Place-names project who as luck would have it was also wanting help with embedding a map in an iframe. As I’d already done some investigation about this very issue for the Chambers map I was able to easily set this up for Sofia.
I should have been back at work on Monday this week, after having a lovely holiday last week. Unfortunately I began feeling unwell over the weekend and ended up off sick on Monday and Tuesday. I had a fever and a sore throat and needed to sleep most of the time, but it wasn’t Covid as I tested negative. Thankfully I began feeling more normal again on Tuesday and by Wednesday I was well enough to work again.
I spent the majority of the rest of the week working on the Speak For Yersel project. On Wednesday I moved the ‘She sounds really clever’ activities to the ‘maps’ page, as we’d decided that these ‘activities’ really were just looking at the survey outputs and so fitting in better on the ‘maps’ page. I also updated some of the text on the ‘about’ and ‘home’ pages and updated the maps to change the gender labels, expanding ‘F’ and ‘M’ and replacing ‘NB’ with ‘other’ as this is a more broad option that better aligns with the choices offered during sign-up. I also an option to show and hide the map filters that defaults to ‘hide’ but remembers the users selection when other map options are chosen. I added titles to the maps on the ‘Maps’ page and made some other tweaks to the terminology used in the maps.
On Wednesday we had a meeting to discuss the outstanding tasks still left for me to tackle. This was a very useful meeting and we managed to make some good decisions about how some of the larger outstanding areas will work. We also managed to get confirmation from Rhona Alcorn of the DSL that we will be able to embed the old web-based version of the Schools Dictionary app for use with some of our questions, which is really great news.
One of the outstanding tasks was to investigate how the map-based quizzes could have their answer options and the correct answer dynamically generated. This was never part of the original plan for the project, but it became clear that having static answers to questions (e.g. where do people use ‘ginger’ for ‘soft drink’) wasn’t going to work very well when the data users are looking at is dynamically generated and potentially changing all the time – we would be second guessing the outputs of the project rather than letting the data guide the answers. As dynamically generating answers wasn’t part of the plan and would be pretty complicated to develop this has been left as a ‘would be nice if there’s time’ task, but at our call it was decided that this should now become a priority. I therefore spent most of Thursday investigating this issue and came up with two potential methods.
The first method looks at each region individually to compare the number of responses for each answer option in the region. It counts the number of responses for each answer option and then generates a percentage of the total number of responses in the area. So for example:
North East (Aberdeen)
Mother: 12 (8%)
Maw: 4 (3%)
Mam: 73 (48%)
Mammy: 3 (2%)
Mum: 61 (40%)
So of the 153 current responses in Aberdeen, 73 (48%) were ‘Mam’. The method then compares the percentages for the particular answer option across all regions to pick out the highest percentage. The advantage of this approach is that by looking at percentages any differences caused by there being many more respondents in one region over another are alleviated. If we look purely at counts then a region with a large number of respondents (as with Aberdeen at the moment) will end up with an unfair advantage, even for answer options that are not chosen the most. E.g. ‘Mother’ has 12 responses, which is currently by far the most in any region, but taken as a percentage it’s roughly in line with other areas.
But there are downsides. Any region where the option has been chosen but the total number of responses is low will end up with a large percentage. For example, both Inverness and Dumfries & Galloway currently only have two respondents, but in each case one of these was for ‘Mam’, meaning they pass Aberdeen and would be considered the ‘correct’ answer with 50% each. If we were to use this method then I would have to put something in place to disregard small samples. Another downside is that as far as users are concerned they are simply evaluating dots on a map, so perhaps we shouldn’t be trying to address the bias of some areas having more respondents than others because users themselves won’t be addressing this.
This then led me to develop method 2, which only looks at the answer option in question (e.g. ‘Mam’) rather than the answer option within the context of other answer options. This method takes a count of the number of responses for the answer option in each region and for the number generates a percentage of the total number of answers for the option across Scotland. So for ‘Mam’ the counts and percentages are as follows:
North East (Aberdeen)
Stirling and Falkirk
Tayside and Angus (Dundee)
Dumfries and Galloway
Across Scotland there are currently a total of 87 responses where ‘Mam’ was chosen and 73 of these (84%) were in Aberdeen. As I say, this simple solution probably mirrors how a user will analyse the map – they will see lots of dots in Aberdeen and select this option. However, it completely ignores the context of the chosen answer. For example, if we get a massive rush of users from Glasgow (say 2000) and 100 of these choose ‘Mam’ then Glasgow ends up being the correct answer (beating Aberdeen’s 73), even though as a proportion of all chosen answers in Glasgow 100 is only 5% (the other 1900 people will have chosen other options), meaning it would be a pretty unpopular choice compared to the 48% who chose ‘Mam’ over other options in Aberdeen as mentioned near the start. But perhaps this is a nuance that users won’t consider anyway.
This latter issue became more apparent when I looked at the output for the use of ‘rocket’ to mean ‘stupid’. The simple count method has Aberdeen with 45% of the total number of ‘rocket’ responses, but if you look at the ‘rocket’ choices in Aberdeen in context you see that only 3% of respondents in this region selected this option.
There are other issues we will need to consider too. Some questions currently have multiple regions linked in the answers (e.g. lexical quiz question 4 ‘stour’ has answers ‘Edinburgh and Glasgow’, ‘Shetland and Orkney’ etc.) We need to decide whether we still want this structure. This is going to be tricky to get working dynamically as the script would have to join two regions with the most responses together to form the ‘correct’ answer and there’s no guarantee that these areas would be geographically next to each other. We should perhaps reframe the question; we could have multiple buttons that are ‘correct’ and ask something like ‘stour is used for dust in several parts of Scotland. Can you pick one?’ Or I guess we could ask the user to pick two.
We also need to decide how to handle the ‘heard throughout Scotland’ questions (e.g. lexical question 6 ‘is greetin’ heard throughout most of Scoatland’). We need to define what we mean by ‘most of Scotland’. We need to define this in a way that can be understood programmatically, but thinking about it, we probably also need to better define what we mean by this for users too. If you don’t know where most of the population of Scotland is situated and purely looked at the distribution of ‘greetin’ on the map you might conclude that it’s not used throughout Scotland at all, but only in the central belt and up the East coast. But returning to how an algorithm could work out the correct answer for this question: We need to set thresholds for whether an option is used throughout most of Scotland or not. Should the algorithm only look at certain regions? Should it count the responses in each region and consider it in use in the region if (for example) 50% or more respondents chose the option? The algorithm could then count the number of regions that meet this threshold compared to the total number of regions and if (for example) 8 out of our 14 regions surpass the threshold the answer could be deemed ‘true’. The problem is humans can look at a map and quickly estimate an answer but an algorithm needs more rigid boundaries.
Also, question 15 of the ‘give your word’ quiz asks about the ‘central belt’ but we need to define what regions make this up. Is it just Glasgow and Lothian (Edinburgh), for example? We also might need to clarify this for users too. The ‘I would never say that’ quiz has several questions where one possible answer is ‘All over Scotland’. If we’re dynamically ascertaining the correct answer then we can’t guarantee that this answer will be one that comes up. Also, ‘All over Scotland’ may in fact be the correct answer for questions that we haven’t considered this to be an answer for. What should be do about this? Two possibilities: Firstly, the code for ascertaining the correct answer (for all of the map-based quizzes) also has a threshold that when reached would mean the correct answer is ‘All over Scotland’ and this option would then be included in the question. This could use the same logic as ‘heard throughout Scotland’ yes/no questions that I mentioned above. Secondly, we could reframe the questions that currently have an ‘All over Scotland’ answer option to be the same as the ‘heard throughout Scotland yes/no questions as found in the lexical quiz and we don’t bother to try and work out whether an ‘all over Scotland’ option needs to be added to any of the other questions.
I also realised that we may end up with a situation where more than one region has a similar number of markers, meaning the system will still easily be able to ascertain which is correct, but users might struggle. Do we need to consider this eventuality? I could for example add in a check to see whether any other regions have a similar score to the ‘correct’ one and ensure any that are too close never get picked as the randomly generated ‘wrong’ answer options. Linked to this: we need to consider whether it is acceptable that the ‘wrong’ answer options will always be randomly generated. The options will be different each time a user loads the quiz question and if they are entirely random this means the question may sometimes be very easy and other times very hard. Do I need to update the algorithm to add some sort of weighting to how the ‘wrong’ options are chosen? This will need further discussion with the team next week.
I decided to move onto some of the other outstanding tasks and to leave the dynamically generated map answers issue until Jennifer and Mary are back next week. I managed to complete the majority of minor updates to the site that were still outstanding during this time, such as updating introductory and explanatory text for the surveys, quizzes and activities, removing or rearranging questions, rewording answers, reinstating the dictionary based questions and tweaking the colour and justification of some of the site text.
This leaves several big issues left to tackle before the end of the month including dynamically generating answers for quiz questions, developing the output for the ‘click’ activity and developing the interactive activities for ‘I would never say that’. It’s going to be a busy few weeks.
Also this week I continued to process the data for the Books and Borrowing project. This included uploading images for one more Advocates library register from the NLS, including generating pages, associating images and fixing the page numbering to align with the handwritten numbers. I also received images for a second register for Haddington library from the NLS, and I needed some help with this as we already have existing pages for this register in the CMS, but the number of images received didn’t match. Thankfully the RA Kit Baston was able to look over the images and figure out what needed to be done, which included inserting new pages in the CMS and then me writing a script to associate images with records. I also added two missing pages to the register for Dumfries Presbytery and added in a missing image for Westerkirk library.
Finally, I tweaked the XSLT for the Dictionaries of the Scots Language bibliographies to ensure the style guide reference linked to the most recent version.
I was on holiday for most of the previous two weeks, working two days during this period. I’ll also be on holiday again next week, so I’ve had quite a busy time getting things done. Whilst I was away I dealt with some queries from Joanna Kopaczyk about the Future of Scots website. I also had to investigate a request to fill in timesheets for my work on the Speak For Yersel project, as apparently I’d been assigned to the project as ‘Directly incurred’ when I should have been ‘Directly allocated’. Hopefully we’ll be able to get me reclassified but this is still in-progress. I also fixed a couple of issues with the facility to export data for publication for the Berwickshire place-name project for Carole Hough, and fixed an issue with an entry in the DSL, which was appearing in the wrong place in the dictionary. It turned out that the wrong ‘url’ tag had been added to the entry’s XML several years ago and since then the entry was wrongly positioned. I fixed the XML and this sorted things. I also responded to a query from Geert of the Anglo-Norman Dictionary about Aberystwyth’s new VPN and whether this would affect his access to the AND. I also investigated an issue Simon Taylor was having when logging into a couple of our place-names systems.
On the Monday I returned to work I launched two new resources for different projects. For the Books and Borrowing project I published the Chambers Library Map (https://borrowing.stir.ac.uk/chambers-library-map/) and reorganised the site menu to make space for the new page link. The resource has been very well received and I’m pretty pleased with how it’s turned out. For the Seeing Speech project I launched the new Gaelic Tongues resource (https://www.seeingspeech.ac.uk/gaelic-tongues/) which has received a lot of press coverage, which is great for all involved.
I spent the rest of the week dividing my time primarily between three projects: Speak For Yersel, Books and Borrowing and Speech Star. For Books and Borrowing I continued processing the backlog of library register image files that has built up. There were about 15 registers that needed to be processed, and each needed to be handled in a different way. This included nine registers from Advocates Library that had been digitised by the NLS, for which I needed to batch process the images to rename them, delete blank pages, create page records in the CMS and then tweak the automatically generated folio numbers to account for discrepancies in the handwritten page number in the images. I also processed a register for the Royal High School, which involved renaming the images so they match up with image numbers already assigned to page records in the CMS, inserting new page records and updating the ‘next’ and ‘previous’ links for pages for which new images had been uncovered and generating new page records for many tens of new pages that follow on from the ones that have already been created in the CMS. I also uploaded new images for the Craigston register and created a new register including all page records and associated image URLs for a further register for Aberdeen. I still have some further RHS registers to do and a few from St Andrews, but these will need to wait until I’m back from my holiday.
For Speech Star I downloaded a ZIP containing 500 new ultrasound MP4 videos. I then had to process them to generate ‘poster’ images for each video (these are images that get displayed before the user chooses to play the video). I then had to replace the existing normalised speech database with data from a new spreadsheet that included these new videos plus updates to some of the existing data. This included adding a few new fields and changing the way the age filter works, as much of the new data is for child speakers who have specific ages in months and years, and these all need to be added to a new ‘under 18’ age group.
For Speak For Yersel I had an awful lot to do. I started with a further large-scale restructuring of the website following feedback from the rest of the team. This included changing the site menu order, adding in new final pages to the end of surveys and quizzes and changing the text of buttons that appear when displaying the final question.
I then developed the map filter options for age and education for all of the main maps. This was a major overhaul of the maps. I removed the slide up / slide down of the map area when an option is selected as this was a bit long and distracting. Now the map area just updates (although there is a bit of a flicker as the data gets replaced). The filter options unfortunately make the options section rather big, which is going to be an issue on a small screen. On my mobile phone the options section takes up 100% of the width and 80% of the height of the map area unless I press the ‘full screen’ button. However, I figured out a way to ensure that the filter options section scrolls if the content extends beyond the bottom of the map.
I also realised that if you’re in full screen mode and you select a filter option the map exits full screen as the map section of the page reloads. This is very annoying, but I may not be able to fix it as it would mean completely changing how the maps are loaded. This is because such filters and options were never intended to be included in the maps and the system was never developed to allow for this. I’ve had to somewhat shoehorn in the filter options and it’s not how I would have done things had I known from the beginning that these options were required. However, the filters work and I’m sure they will be useful. I’ve added in filters for age, education and gender, as you can see in the following screenshot:
I also updated the ‘Give your word’ activity that asks to identify younger and older speakers to use the new filters too. The map defaults to showing ‘all’ and the user then needs to choose an age. I’m still not sure how useful this activity will be as the total number of dots for each speaker group varies considerably, which can easily give the impression that more of one age group use a form compared to another age group purely because one age group has more dots overall. The questions don’t actually ask anything about geographical distribution so having the map doesn’t really serve much purpose when it comes to answering the question. I can’t help but think that just presenting people with percentages would work better, or some other sort of visualisation like a bar graph or something.
I then moved on to working on the quiz for ‘she sounds really clever’ and so far I have completed both the first part of the quiz (questions about ratings in general) and the second part (questions about listeners from a specific region and their ratings of speakers from regions). It’s taken a lot of brain-power to get this working as I decided to make the system work out the correct answer and to present it as an option alongside randomly selected wrong answers. This has been pretty tricky to implement (especially as depending on the question the ‘correct’ answer is either the highest or the lowest) but will make the quiz much more flexible – as the data changes so will the quiz.
Part one of the quiz page itself is pretty simple. There is the usual section on the left with the question and the possible answers. On the right is a section containing a box to select a speaker and the rating sliders (readonly). When you select a speaker the sliders animate to their appropriate location. I decided to not include the map or the audio file as these didn’t really seem necessary for answering the questions, they would clutter up the screen and people can access them via the maps page anyway (well, once I move things from the ‘activities’ section). Note that the user’s answers are stored in the database (the region selected and whether this was the correct answer at the time). Part two of the quiz features speaker/listener true/false questions and this also automatically works out the correct answer (currently based on the 50% threshold). Note that where there is no data for a listener rating a speaker from a region the rating defaults to 50. We should ensure that we have at least one rating for a listener in each region before we let people answer these questions. Here is a screenshot of part one of the quiz in action, with randomly selected ‘wrong’ answers and a dynamically outputted ‘right’ answer:
I also wrote a little script to identify duplicate lexemes in categories in the Historical Thesaurus as it turns out there are some occasions where a lexeme appears more than once (with different dates) and this shouldn’t happen. These will need to be investigated and the correct dates will need to be established.
I will be on holiday again next week so there won’t be another post until the week after I’m back.
I had a lovely week’s holiday last week and returned to work for one week only before I head off for a further two weeks. I spent most of my time this week working on the Speak For Yersel project implementing a huge array of changes that the team wanted to make following the periods of testing in schools a couple of weeks ago. There were also some new sections of the resource to work on as well.
By Tuesday I had completed the restructuring of the site as detailed in the ‘Roadmap’ document, meaning the survey and quizzes have been separated, as have the ‘activities’ and ‘explore maps’. This has required quite a lot of restructuring of the code, but I think all is working as it should. I also updated the homepage text. One thing I wasn’t sure about is what should happen when the user reaches the end of the survey. Previously this led into the quiz, but for now I’ve created a page that provides links to the quiz, the ‘more activities’ and the ‘explore maps’ options for the survey in question.
The quizzes should work as they did before, but they now have their own progress bar. Currently at the end of the quiz the only link offered is to explore the maps, but we should perhaps change this. The ‘more activities’ work slightly differently to how these were laid out in the roadmap. Previously a user selected an activity then it loaded an index page with links to the activities and the maps. As the maps are now separated this index page was pretty pointless, so instead when you select an activity it launches straight into it. The only one that still has an index page is the ‘Clever’ one as this has multiple options. However, thinking about this activity: it’s really just an ‘explore’ like the ‘explore maps’ rather than an actual interactive activity per se, so we should perhaps move this to the ‘explore’ page.
I also made all of the changes to the ‘sounds about right’ survey including replacing sound files and adding / removing questions. I ended up adding a new ‘question order’ field to the database and questions are now ordered using this, as previously the order was just set by the auto-incrementing database ID which meant inserting a new question to appear midway through the survey was very tricky. Hopefully this change of ordering hasn’t had any knock-on effects elsewhere.
I then made all of the changes to two other activities: the ‘lexical’ one and the ‘grammatical’ one. These included quite a lot of tweaks to questions, question options, question orders and the number of answers that could be selected for questions. With all of this in place I moved onto the ‘Where do you think this speaker is from’ sections. The ‘survey’ now only consists of the click map and when you press the ‘Check Answers’ button some text appears under the buttons with links through to where the user can go next.
For the ‘more activities’ section the main click activity is now located here. It took quite a while to get this to work, as moving sections introduced some conflicts in the code that were a bit tricky to identify. I replaced the explanatory text and I also added in the limit to the number of presses. I’ve added a section to the right of the buttons that displays the number of presses the user has left. Once there are no presses left the ‘Press’ button gets disabled. I still think people are going to reach the 5 click limit too soon and will get annoyed when they realise they can’t add further clicks and they can’t reset the exercise to give it another go. After you’ve listened to the four speakers a page is displayed saying you’ve completed the activity and giving links to other parts. Below is a screenshot of the new ‘click’ activity with the limit in place (and also the new site menu):
The ’Quiz’ has taken quite some time to implement but is now fully operational. I had to do a lot of work behind the scenes to get the percentages figured out and to get the quiz to automatically work out which answer should be the correct one, but it all works now. The map displays the ‘Play’ icons as I figured people would want to be able to hear the clips as well as just see the percentages. Beside each clip icon the percentage of respondents who correctly identified the location of the speaker is displayed. The markers are placed at the ‘correct’ points on the map, as shown when you view the correct locations in the survey activities. Question 1 asks you to identify the most recognised, question 2 the least recognised. Quiz answers are logged in the database so we’ll be able to track answers. Here’s a screenshot of the quiz:
I also added the percentage map to the ‘explore maps’ page too, and I gave people the option of focussing on the answers submitted from specific regions. An ‘All regions’ map displays the same data as the quiz map, but then the user can choose (for example) Glasgow and view the percentages of correctly identified speakers that respondents from the Glasgow area identified, thus allowing them to compare how people in each area managed to identify speakers in the areas. I decided to add a count of the number of people that have responded too.
The ‘explore maps’ for ‘guess the region’ has a familiar layout – buttons on the left that when pressed on load a map on the right. The buttons correspond to the region of people who completed the ‘guess the region’ survey. The first option shows the answers of all respondents from all regions. This is exactly the same as the map in the quiz, except I’ve also displayed the number of respondents above the map. Two things to be aware of:
Firstly, a respondent can complete the quiz as many times as they want, so each respondent may have multiple datasets. Secondly, the click map (both quiz and ‘explore maps’) currently includes people from outside of Scotland as well as people who selected an area when registering. There are currently 18 respondents and 3 of these are outside of Scotland.
When you click on a specific region button in the left-hand column the results of respondents from that specific region only are displayed on the map. The number of respondents is also listed above the map. Most of the regions currently have no respondents, meaning an empty map is displayed and a note above the map explains why. Ayrshire has one respondent. Glasgow has two. Note that the reason there are such varied percentages in Glasgow from just two respondents (rather than just 100%, 50% and 0%) is because one or more of the respondents has completed the quiz more than once. Lothian has two respondents. North East has 10. Here’s how the maps look:
On Friday I began to work on the ‘click transcription’ visualisations, which will display how many times speakers have clicked in each of the sections of the transcriptions they listen to in the ‘click’ activity. I only managed to get as far as writing the queries and scripts to generate the data, rather than any actual visualisation of the data. When looking at the aggregated data for the four speakers I discovered that the distribution of clicks across sections was a bit more uniform that I thought it might be. We might need to consider how we’re going to work out the thresholds for different sizes. I was going to base it purely on the number of clicks, but I realised that this would not work as the more responses we get the more clicks there will be. Instead I decided to use percentages of the total number of clicks for a speaker. E.g. for speaker 4 there are currently a total of 65 clicks so the percentages for each section would be:
|11%||Have you seen the TikTok vids with the illusions?|
|9%||I just watched the glass one.|
|17%||The guy’s got this big glass full of water in his hands.|
|8%||He then puts it down,|
|8%||takes out one of those big knives|
|6%||and slices right through it.|
|6%||I sometimes get so fed up with Tiktok|
|8%||– really does my head in –|
|8%||but I’m not joking,|
|14%||I want to see more and more of this guy.|
(which adds up to 101% with rounding). But what should the thresholds be? E.g. 0-6% = regular, 7-10% = bigger, 11-15% even bigger, 16%+ biggest? I’ll need input from the team about this. I’m not a statistician but there may be better approaches, such as using standard deviation and such things.
I still have quite a lot of work to do for the project, namely: Completing the ‘where do you think the speaker is from’ as detailed above; implementing the ‘she sounds really clever’ updates; adding in filter options to the map (age ranges and education levels); investigating dynamically working out the correct answers to map-based quizzes.
In addition to my Speak For Yersel work I participated in an interview with the AHRC about the role of technicians in research projects. I’d participated in a focus group a few weeks ago and this was a one-on-one follow-up video call to discuss in greater detail some of the points I’d raised in the focus group. It was a good opportunity to discuss y role and some of the issues I’ve encountered over the years.
I also installed some new themes for the OHOS project website and fixed an issue with the Anglo-Norman Dictionary website, as the editor had noticed that cognate references were not always working. After some investigation I realised that this was happening when the references for a cognate dictionary included empty tags as well as completed tags. I had to significantly change how this section of the entry is generated in the XSLT from the XML, which took some time to implement and test. All seems to be working, though.
I also did some work for the Books and Borrowing project. Whilst I’d been on holiday I’d been sent page images for a further ten library registers and I needed to process these. This can be something of a time-consuming process as each set of images needs to be processed in a different way, such as renaming images, removing unnecessary images at the start and end, uploading the images to the server, generating the page images for each register and then bringing the automatically generated page numbers into line with any handwritten page numbers on the images, which may not always be sequentially numbered. I processed two registers for the Advocates library from the NLS and three registers from Aberdeen library. I looked into processing the images for a register from the High School of Edinburgh, but I had some questions about the images and didn’t hear back from the researcher before the end of the week, so I needed to leave these. The remaining registers were from St Andrews and I had further questions about these, as the images are double-page spreads but existing page records in the CMS treat each page separately. As the researcher dealing with St Andrews was on holiday I’ll need to wait until I’m back to deal with these too.
Also this week I completed the two mandatory Moodle courses about computer security and GDPR, which took a bit longer that I thought they might.
I completed an initial version of the Chambers Library map for the Books and Borrowing project this week. It took quite a lot of time and effort to implement the subscription period range slider. Searching for a range when the data also has a range of dates rather than a single date means we needed to make a decision about what data gets returned and what doesn’t. This is because the two ranges (the one chosen as a filter by the user and the one denoting the start and end periods of subscription for each borrower) can overlap in many different ways. For example, the period chosen by the user is 05 1828 to 06 1829. Which of the following borrowers should therefore be returned?
- Borrowers range is 06 1828 to 02 1829: Borrower’s range is fully within the period so should definitely be included
- Borrowers range is 01 1828 to 07 1828: Borrower’s range extends beyond the selected period at the start and ends within the selected period. Presumably should be included.
- Borrowers range is 01 1828 to 09 1829: Borrower’s range extends beyond the selected period in both directions. Presumably should be included.
- Borrowers range is 05 1829 to 09 1829: Borrower’s range begins during the selected period and ends beyond the selected period. Presumably should be included.
- Borrowers range is 01 1828 to 04 1828: Borrower’s range is entirely before the selected period. Should not be included
- Borrowers range is 07 1829 to 10 1829: Borrower’s range is entirely after the selected period. Should not be included.
Basically if there is any overlap between the selected period and the borrower’s subscription period the borrower will be returned. But this means most borrowers will always be returned a lot of the time. It’s a very different sort of filter to one that purely focuses on a single date – e.g. filtering the data to only those borrowers whose subscription periods *begins* between 05 1828 and 06 1829.
Based on the above assumptions I began to write the logic that would decide which borrowers to include when the range slider is altered. It was further complicated by having to deal with months as well as years. Here’s the logic in full if you fancy getting a headache:
if(((mapData[i].sYear>startYear || (mapData[i].sYear==startYear && mapData[i].sMonth>=startMonth)) && ((mapData[i].eYear==endYear && mapData[i].eMonth <=endMonth) || mapData[i].eYear<endYear)) || ((mapData[i].sYear<startYear ||(mapData[i].sYear==startYear && mapData[i].sMonth<=startMonth)) && ((mapData[i].eYear==endYear && mapData[i].eMonth >=endMonth) || mapData[i].eYear>endYear)) || ((mapData[i].sYear==startYear && mapData[i].sMonth<=startMonth || mapData[i].sYear>startYear) && ((mapData[i].eYear==endYear && mapData[i].eMonth <=endMonth) || mapData[i].eYear<endYear) && ((mapData[i].eYear==startYear && mapData[i].eMonth >=startMonth) || mapData[i].eYear>startYear)) || (((mapData[i].sYear==startYear && mapData[i].sMonth>=startMonth) || mapData[i].sYear>startYear) && ((mapData[i].sYear==endYear && mapData[i].sMonth <=endMonth) || mapData[i].sYear<endYear) && ((mapData[i].eYear==endYear && mapData[i].eMonth >=endMonth) || mapData[i].eYear>endYear)) || ((mapData[i].sYear<startYear ||(mapData[i].sYear==startYear && mapData[i].sMonth<=startMonth)) && ((mapData[i].eYear==startYear && mapData[i].eMonth >=startMonth) || mapData[i].eYear>startYear)))
I also added the subscription period to the popups. The only downside to the range slider is that the occupation marker colours change depending on how many occupations are present during a period, so you can’t always tell an occupation by its colour. I might see if I can fix the colours in place, but it might not be possible.
I also noticed that the jQuery UI sliders weren’t working very well on touchscreens so installed the jQuery TouchPunch library to fix that (https://github.com/furf/jquery-ui-touch-punch). I also made the library marker bigger and gave it a white border to more easily differentiate it from the borrower markers.
I then moved onto incorporating page images in the resource too. Where a borrower has borrower records the relevant pages where these borrowing records are found now appear as thumbnails in the borrower popup. These are generated by the IIIF server based on dimensions passed to it, which is much nicer than having to generate and store thumbnails directly. I also updated the popup to make it wider when required to give more space for the thumbnails. Here’s a screenshot of the new thumbnails in action:
Clicking on a thumbnail opens a further popup containing a zoomable / pannable image of the page. This proved to be rather tricky to implement. Initially I was going to open a popup in the page (outside of the map container) using a jQuery UI Dialog. However, I realised that this wouldn’t work when the map was being viewed in full-screen mode, as nothing beyond the map container is visible in such circumstances. I then considered opening the image in the borrower popup but this wasn’t really big enough. I then wondered about extending the ‘Map options’ section and replacing the contents of this with the image, but this then caused issues for the contents of the ‘Map options’ section, which didn’t reinitialise properly when the contents were reinstated. I then found a plugin for the Leaflet mapping library that provides a popup within the map interface (https://github.com/w8r/Leaflet.Modal) and decided to use this. However, it’s all a little complex as the popup then has to include another mapping library called OpenLayers that enables the zooming and panning of the page image, all within the framework of the overall interactive map. It is all working and I think it works pretty well, although I guess the map interface is a little cluttered, what with the ‘Map Options’ section, the map legend, the borrower popup and then the page image popup as well. Here’s a screenshot with the page image open:
All that’s left to do now is add in the introductory text once Alex has prepared it and then make the map live. We might need to rearrange the site’s menu to add in a link to the Chambers Map as it’s already a bit cluttered.
Also for the project I downloaded images for two further library registers for St Andrews that had previously been missed. However, there are already records for the registers and pages in the CMS so we’re going to have to figure out a way to work out which image corresponds to which page in the CMS. One register has a different number of pages in the CMS compared to the image files so we need to work out how to align the start and end and if there are any gaps or issues in the middle. The other register is more complicated because the images are double pages whereas it looks like the page records in the CMS are for individual pages. I’m not sure how best to handle this. I could either try and batch process the images to chop them up or batch process the page records to join them together. I’ll need to discuss this further with Gerry, who is dealing with the data for St Andrews.
Also this week I prepared for and gave a talk to a group of students from Michigan State University who were learning about digital humanities. I talked to them for about an hour about a number of projects, such as the Burns Supper map (https://burnsc21.glasgow.ac.uk/supper-map/), the digital edition I’d created for New Modernist Editing (https://nme-digital-ode.glasgow.ac.uk/), the Historical Thesaurus (https://ht.ac.uk/), Books and Borrowing (https://borrowing.stir.ac.uk/) and TheGlasgowStory (https://theglasgowstory.com/). It went pretty and it was nice to be able to talk about some of the projects I’ve been involved with for a change.
I also made some further tweaks to the Gentle Shepherd Performances page which is now ready to launch, and helped Geert out with a few changes to the WordPress pages of the Anglo-Norman Dictionary. I also made a few tweaks to the WordPress pages of the DSL website and finally managed to get a hotel room booked for the DHC conference in Sheffield in September. I also made a couple of changes to the new Gaelic Tongues section of the Seeing Speech website and had a discussion with Eleanor about the filters for Speech Star. Fraser had been in touch with about 500 Historical Thesaurus categories that had been newly matched to OED categories so I created a little script to add these connections to the online database.
I also had a Zoom call with the Speak For Yersel team. They had been testing out the resource at secondary schools in the North East and have come away with lots of suggested changes to the content and structure of the resource. We discussed all of these and agreed that I would work on implementing the changes the week after next.
Next week I’m going to be on holiday, which I have to say I’m quite looking forward to.
I worked for several different projects this week. For the Books and Borrowing project I processed and imported a further register for the Advocates library that had been digitised by the NLS. I also continued with the interactive map of Chambers library borrowers, although I couldn’t spend as much time on this as I’d hoped as my access to Stirling University’s VPN had stopped working and without VPN access I can’t connect to the database and the project server. It took a while to resolve the issue as access needs to be approved by some manager or other, but once it was sorted I got to work on some updates.
One thing I’d noticed last week was that when zooming and panning the historical map layer was throwing out hundreds of 403 Forbidden errors to the browser console. This was not having any impact on the user experience, but was still a bit messy and I wanted to get to the bottom of the issue. I had a very helpful (as always) chat with Chris Fleet at NLS Maps, who provided the historical map layer and he reckoned it was because the historical map only covers a certain area and moving beyond this was still sending requests for map tiles that didn’t exist. Thankfully an option exists in Leaflet that allows you to set the boundaries for a map layer (https://leafletjs.com/reference.html#latlngbounds) and I updated the code to do just that, which seems to have stopped the errors.
I then returned to the occupations categorisation, which was including far too many options. I therefore streamlined the occupations, displaying the top-level occupation only. I think this works a lot better (although I need to change the icon colour for ‘unknown’). Full occupation information is still available for each borrower via the popup.
I also had to change the range slider for opacity as standard HTML range sliders don’t allow for double-ended ranges. We require a double-ended range for the subscription period and I didn’t want to have two range sliders that looked different on one page. I therefore switched to a range slider offered by the jQuery UI interface library (https://jqueryui.com/slider/#range). The opacity slider still works as before, it just looks a little different. Actually, it works better than before, as the opacity now changes as you slide rather than only updating after you mouse-up.
I then began to implement the subscription period slider. This does not yet update the data. It’s been pretty tricky to implement this. The range needs to be dynamically generated based on the earliest and latest dates in the data, and dates are both year and month, which need to be converted into plain integers for the slider and then reinterpreted as years and months when the user updates the end positions. I think I’ve got this working as it should, though. When you update the ends of the slider the text above that lists the months and years updates to reflect this. The next step will be to actually filter the data based on the chosen period. Here’s a screenshot of the map featuring data categorised by the new streamlined occupations and the new sliders displayed:
For the Speak For Yersel project I made a number of tweaks to the resource, which Jennifer and Mary are piloting with school children in the North East this week. I added in a new grammatical question and seven grammatical quiz questions. I tweaked the homepage text and updated the structure of questions 27-29 of the ‘sound about right’ activity. I ensured that ‘Dumfries’ always appears as ‘Dumfries and Galloway’ in the ‘clever’ activity and follow-on and updated the ‘clever’ activity to remove the stereotype questions. These were the ones where users had to rate the speakers from a region without first listening to any audio clips and Jennifer reckoned these were taking too long to complete. I also updated the ‘clever’ follow-on to hide the stereotype options and switched the order of the listener and speaker options in the other follow-on activity for this type.
For the Speech Star project I replaced the data for the child speech error database with a new, expanded dataset and added in ‘Speaker Code’ as a filter option. I also replicated the child speech and normalised speech databases from the clinical website we’re creating on the more academic teaching site we’re creating and also pulled in the IPA chart from Seeing Speech into this resource too. Here’s a screenshot of how the child speech error database looks with the new ‘speaker code’ filter with ‘vowel disorder’ selected:
I also made a couple of tweaks to the DSL this week, installing the TablePress plugin for the ancillary pages and creating a further alternative logo for the DSL’s Facebook posts. I also returned to going some work for the Anglo-Norman Dictionary, offering some advice to the editor Geert about incorporating publications and overhauling how cross references are displayed in the Dictionary Management System.
I updated the ‘View Entry’ page in the DMS. Previously it only included cross references FROM the entry you’re looking at TO any other entries. I.e. it only displayed content when the entry was of type ‘xref’ rather than ‘main’. Now in addition to this there’s a further section listing all cross references TO the entry you’re looking at from any entry of type ‘xref’ that links to it.
In addition there is a button allowing you to view all entries that include a cross reference to the current entry anywhere in their XML – i.e. where an <xref> tag that features the current entry’s slug is found at any level in any other main entry’s XML. This code is hugely memory intensive to run, as basically all 27,464 main entries need to be pulled into the script, with the full XML contents of each checked for matching xrefs. For this reason the page doesn’t run the code each time the ‘view entry’ page is loaded but instead only runs when you actively press the button. It takes a few seconds for the script to process, but after it does the cross references are listed in the same manner as the ‘pure’ xrefs in the preceding sections.
Finally I participated in a Zoom-based focus group for the AHRC about the role of technicians in research projects this week. It was great to participate to share my views on my role and to hear from other people with similar roles at other organisations.
I’d taken Monday off this week to have an extra-long weekend following the jubilee holidays on Thursday and Friday last week. On Tuesday I returned to another meeting for Speak For Yersel and a list of further tweaks to the site, including many changes to three of the five activities and a new set of colours for the map marker icons, which make the markers much more easy to differentiate.
I spent most of the week working on the Books and Borrowing project. We’d been sent a new library register from the NLS and I spent a bit of time downloading the 700 or so images, processing them and uploading them into our system. As usual, page numbers go a bit weird. Page 632 is written as 634 and then after page 669 comes not 670 but 700! I ran my script to bring the page numbers in the system into line with the oddities of the written numbers. On Friday I downloaded a further library register which I’ll need to process next week.
My main focus for the project was the Chambers Library interactive map sub-site. The map features the John Ainslie 1804 map from the NLS, and currently it uses the same modern map as I’ve used elsewhere in the front-end for consistency, although this may change. The map defaults to having a ‘Map options’ pane open on the left, and you can open and close this using the button above it. I also added a ‘Full screen’ button beneath the zoom buttons in the bottom right. I also added this to the other maps in the front-end too. Borrower markers have a ‘person’ icon and the library itself has the ‘open book’ icon as found on other maps.
By default the data is categorised by borrower gender, with somewhat stereotypical (but possibly helpful) blue and pink colours differentiating the two. There is one borrower with an ‘unknown’ gender and this is set to green. The map legend in the top right allows you to turn on and off specific data groups. The screenshot below shows this categorisation:
The next categorisation option is occupation, and this has some problems. The first is there are almost 30 different occupations, meaning the legend is awfully long and so many different marker colours are needed that some of them are difficult to differentiate. Secondly, most occupations only have a handful of people. Thirdly, some people have multiple occupations, and if so these are treated as one long occupation, so we have both ‘Independent Means > Gentleman’ and then ‘Independent Means > Gentleman, Politics/Office Holders > MP (Britain)’. It would be tricky to separate these out as the marker would then need to belong to two sets with two colours, plus what happens if you hide one set? I wonder if we should just use the top-level categorisation for the groupings instead? This would result in 12 groupings plus ‘unknown’, meaning the legend would be both shorter and narrower. Below is a screenshot of the occupation categorisation as it currently stands:
The next categorisation is subscription type, which I don’t think needs any explanation. I then decided to add in a further categorisation for number of borrowings, which wasn’t originally discussed but as I used the page I found myself looking for an option to see who borrowed the most, or didn’t borrow anything. I added the following groupings, but these may change: 0, 1-10, 11-20, 21-50, 51-70, 70+ and have used a sequential colour scale (darker = more borrowings). We might want to tweak this, though, as some of the colours are a bit too similar. I haven’t added in the filter to select subscription period yet, but will look into this next week.
At the bottom of the map options is a facility to change the opacity of the historical map so you can see the modern street layout. This is handy for example for figuring out why there is a cluster of markers in a field where ‘Ainslie Place’ was presumably built after the historical map was produced.
I decided to not include the marker clustering option in this map for now as clustering would make it more difficult to analyse the categorisation as markers from multiple groupings would end up clustered together and lose their individual colours until the cluster is split. Marker hover-overs display the borrower name and the pop-ups contain information about the borrower. I still need to add in the borrowing period data, and also figure out how best to link out to information about the borrowings or page images. The Chambers Library pin displays the same information as found in the ‘libraries’ page you’ve previously seen.
Also this week I responded to a couple of queries from the DSL people about Google Analytics and the icons that gets used for the site when posting on Facebook. Facebook was picking out the University of Glasgow logo rather than the DSL one, which wasn’t ideal. Apparently there’s a ‘meta’ tag that you need to add to the site header in order for Facebook to pick up the correct logo, as discussed here: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/7836753/how-to-customize-the-icon-displayed-on-facebook-when-posting-a-url-onto-wall
I also created a new user for the Ayr place-names project and dealt with a couple of minor issues with the CMS that Simon Taylor had encountered. I also investigated a certificate error with the ohos.ac.uk website and responded to a query about QR codes from fellow developer David Wilson. Also, Craig Lamont in Scottish Literature got in touch about a spreadsheet listed Burns manuscripts that he’s been working on with a view to turning it into a searchable online resource and I gave him some feedback about the structure of the spreadsheet.
Finally, I did a bit of work for the Historical Thesaurus, working on a further script to match up HT and OED categories based on suggestions by researcher Beth Beattie. I found a script I’d produced in from 2018 that ran pattern matching on headings and I adapted this to only look at subcats within 02.02 and 02.03, picking out all unmatched OED subcats from these (there are 627) and then finding all unmatched HT categories where our ‘t’ numbers match the OED path. Previously the script used the HT oedmaincat column to link up OED and HT but this no longer matches (e.g. HT ‘smarten up’ has ‘t’ nums 02.02.16.02 which matches OED 02.02.16.02 ‘to smarten up’ whereas HT ‘oedmaincat’ is ’02.04.05.02’).
The script lists the various pattern matches at the top of the page and the output is displayed in a table that can be copied and pasted into Excel. Of the 627 OED subcats there are 528 that match an HT category. However, some of them potentially match multiple HT categories. These appear in red while one to one matches appear in green. Some of these multiple matches are due to Levenshtein matches (e.g. ‘sadism’ and ‘sadist’) but most are due to there being multiple subcats at different levels with the exact same heading. These can be manually tweaked in Excel and then I could run the updated spreadsheet through a script to insert the connections. We also had an HT team meeting this week that I attended.
It was a three-day week as Thursday and Friday were bank holidays for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. I spent most of the available time working on the Books and Borrowers project. I had a chat with RA Alex Deans about the data for the Chambers Library sub-project that we’re hoping to launch in July. Although this data is already in the system it needs additional latitude and longitude data so we can position borrowers on an interactive map. We decided to add this data and some other data using the ‘additional fields’ system in the CMS and Alex is hopefully going to get this done by next week.
I’d made a start on the API for the project last week, and this week I completed the endpoint that displays all of the data that will be needed for the ‘Browse Libraries’ page, which can be accessed as JSON or CSV data. This includes counts of registers, borrowing records, books and borrowers plus a breakdown of the number of borrowings per year at each library that will be used for the stacked column chart. The systems reside on servers at Stirling University, and their setup has the database on a different server to the code. This means there is an overhead when sending queries to the database as each one needs to be sent as an HTTP request rather than dealt with locally. This has led me to be a bit more efficient when constructing queries. For example, rather than running individual ‘count’ queries for each library after running an initial query to retrieve all library details I’ve instead used subqueries as part of the initial query so all the data including the counts gets processed and returned by the database via one HTTP request.
With the data retrieval aspects of the ‘browse libraries’ page completed I then moved on to developing the page itself. It has an introductory section (with placeholder text for now) then a map showing the locations of the libraries. Any libraries that currently have lat/lng data appear on this map. The markers are clustered when zoomed out, with the number referring to the number of libraries in the cluster. I selected a map design that I thought fitted in with the site, but this might change, and I used an open book icon for the library map marker on a red background (to match the site’s header text colour) and again this may change. You can hover over a marker to see the library name and press on a marker to open a popup containing a link to the library, the library name and alternative names, location, foundation date, type and statistics about registers, books, borrowers and records.
Beneath the map is a tabular view of the data. This is the exact same data as is found on the map. Library names are buttons leading to the library’s page. You can change the order of the table by pressing on a heading (e.g. to see which library has the most books). Pressing a second time reverses the order. Below is a screenshot showing the map and the table, with the table ordered by number of borrowing records:
There are a couple of things I could do to make this more legible if required. Firstly, we could use a stacked bar chart instead (https://www.highcharts.com/demo/bar-stacked). The years would then be on the y-axis and we could have a very long chart with all of the years in place rather than aggregating to decades. This would make it more difficult to view the legend and the x-axis tick marks, as you would need to scroll down to see them. Secondly, we could stick with the decade view but then give the user the option of selecting a decade to view a new chart featuring the individual years in that decade. This would make it harder for users to get the big picture all at once, although I guess the decade view would give that.
Also this week I checked up on the Speak For Yersel website, as we had sent the URL out to people with an interest in the Scots language at the end of last week. When I checked on Wednesday we’d had 168 registered users. These users had submitted 8,110 answers for the main questions plus 85 for the ‘drag onto map’ and 85 for the transcript. 606 of those main answers are from people who have chosen ‘outside Scotland’. I also realised that I’d set the markers to be smaller if there were more than 100 answers on a map but the markers looked too small so I’ve updated things to make them the same size no matter how many answers there are.
My other main task for the week was to finalise the transfer of the Uist Saints website. We managed to get the domain name ownership transferred over to Glasgow and paid the subscription fee for the next nine years and the version of the site hosted at Glasgow can now be found here: https://uistsaints.co.uk/