The New Site

Matthew Milner: September 21, 2015 at 23:59

The new site is almost in a state where it will be possible to start letting a few people look at it. It's taken a while - much of the old Making Publics prototype remains, but it's been thoroughly cleaned up. Aside from the obvious new interface, the database has gone through some much needed standardization of fields and table structures. But the real joy has been the interface development - thinking through the site not as a publication engine for a specific project, but as a tool for individual researchers, has been the most rewarding aspect of the work.

There's an almost overwhelming amount left to do - while it's possible add data to the site, the key node type that still has yet to be migrated is 'things'. It's by far the most complex, and likely the most important. All of the code is there in Making Publics, but it's a matter of updating it, and making sure it plays nicely on the new site. Following this, we've got to test out sequential data entry for items like places, organizations, and people. This is essential for working through basic disambiguation issues as the new site hashes urls and matches them to unique identifiers for pretty website addresses. Of course this won't work with two or more 'John Smith' agents without some form of telling them apart. Dates of Birth or Death will help us out, but these have to be added following the individual themselves.

A much more mundane but essential task is writing up the guide and the documentation. This will be tedious but entirely necessary as we've got to make it clear what Nano-History is about, and how scholars can use it! It's something of a daunting job. But the great thing about having a bibliographic database is that you can easily refer to references. So hopefully it won't be too onerous.

Lastly, we're working on the grant applications. It's a slow process, and difficult considering we're both contingent academics - knowing if you're going to be around the following year impacts considerably on whether you're going to be able to apply for a grant.

But things are going well! the push is on!