Publication ahoy to starboard!

Publication ahoy to starboard! 

Some momentous events for WWW have occurred in the last week. Mid-week, we (Emilia, Liz) were in Sheffield handing over work on collections to the people at HRI who will be modelling this research material within the framework of the project’s VRE (virtual research environment), preparatory to setting up the editorial apparatus around which all the project data is published. In this context, ‘handing over’ means giving HRI the now fully ‘cleaned’ and ‘finalised’ (see earlier blogs for what these terms entail) databases holding records of the work on each and every letter and other document that has been the focus of attention. These records/databases are organised per collection and, within each database, they follow the shape of the collection as it appears in an archive. Relatedly, each collection has its own quirks, its own particularities, and so ‘handing over’ also involves talking through these particularities for the collections, so that HRI can see that, while there are general rules about the databases and records, nonetheless collection A differs in one way, collection M in another, and collection X differs in yet another.

Publication of the project WWW datasets is now in sight – what Sheffield represents for us is rather as though we have been sailors long at sea and now our ship has sighted land ahoy. Yes, we can see it. But we are not on land just yet! What is now following the Sheffield meeting is that HRI staff are working through each collection, fitting them into the VRE. Issues that arise in doing this are being raised on a collection by collection basis. In the meantime, Liz has started finalising all the webpages that will add up to the ‘editorial apparatus’.

So what is meant by ‘editorial apparatus’? An approximation can be seen by looking at the present homepage and the set of tabs at the top, through which subsidiary pages, concerning such things as Publications, the How to.. essays etc, are accessed. Another example is the new tab that has just appeared on the homepage headed Collections, which provides detailed information about all the collections that have been worked on, and it also gives access information about the Archives these are located in. An editorial apparatus, then, provides readers and users with a compendium of helpful information which aids and guides use of the research materials available.

Obviously an important part of this will be the Search aspect, something which does not exist on this present website. All the collections and the records of the documents they include will be fully searchable in a range of ways, and as part of this advanced ways of modelling this and visualisations of different kinds will be provided. At the moment this kind of work on whole collections and across a number of collections goes on behind the scenes and has led to a number of project publications, but has not been available to users. Different aspects of it will become available on publication under the heading of a new tab, to be called Figurations.

Publication is in the hands of HRI and occurs when the datasets and their records ‘work’ in the way they should within the framework of the VRE and are linked to the Search and Visualisation aspects of the editorial interface. Consequently this is the decision of HRI, not us, for it is down to technical considerations. However, accompanying this, the full suite of pages for the published site also need to be completed. Drafts of all of them already exist, but they can’t quite be finalised yet because these two things go hand-in-hand with each other. That is, revised ideas about webpages follow discussions on the particularities and generalities of collections and technical issues on locating them within the VRE, and bringing together conceptional and analytical ideas in writing the webpages informs how the particularities collections are identified and leads to tweaks being made to the VRE.

But the bottom-line is that publication on the new HRI-hosted website at is now well and truly in sight.


Last updated: 7 April 2017


Recent Posts