Wiktenauer Rebuild and Call for Volunteers

Wiktenauer Rebuild and Call for Volunteers

Postby Michael Chidester » Fri May 10, 2013 9:28 am

Greetings, scholars.

We've begun a major overhaul of the way the Wiktenauer stores information which should make article updates easier and possibly allow us to do some interesting stuff programmatically in the future. All transcriptions will be moved off of the master pages (or manual pages, in a few places) and shunted into their own dedicated pages from which they will be transcluded back into their previous locations.

Which is a complicated way of saying that we'll be creating a single page for each transcription and then displaying pieces of that page wherever we need them. This is what we should have done in the first place, but I didn't this was possible back then (for all I know, it might not have been) and we didn't have the right extensions installed even if I did.

The ultimate goal is to arrive at a point where the only content on a page is the English-language material (we'll visit the idea of moving translations onto their own pages at a later date), which will not only serve to make the code easier to read and edit, but will also make the translation engine more useful since it won't have to grapple with the transcription text when marking up a page. (Hopefully my long-suffering Spanish translators haven't lost interest after all this time that I've spent trying to get the wiki to a state where it can work for them.)

The transcription pages will come in two sorts. The simple version, used when we don't have scans hosted locally (which is often the case with manuscripts since they occupy a different niche in the copyright ecosystem than printed material does), is a straight-forward listing of the transcription with each segment marked up like this:

Sample full transcription

The more complex version, used when we have scans hosted locally or in the Wikimedia Commons (either in image galleries or PDFs), is an index page where the transcriptions can be associated with individual page scans. This uses technology developed for the Wikisource project and is an enormously more robust system. These samples are for Goliath:

Sample index
Sample page transcription

Since Goliath and Fiore dei Liberi are our exemplar pages for their respective categories, they get the treatment first and I've been using them to test out and tweak the model. After them, we'll be rolling through on a treatise-by-treatise basis, creating transcription pages and then updating master pages when all the content is in place. The "Index/Page model" will be used primarily for texts that have incomplete transcriptions or are untranscribed--since it's designed to assist in the transcription process--while the "List" model will be used for texts with completed transcriptions in the initial pass. We can go back and create indexes where possible for these transcriptions after the primary work is done (since the only purpose it will serve at that point is to facilitate deeper research for the minority of our users working in that area).

Here's where you come in. This is a huge undertaking and will essentially usher Wiktenauer into its third major incarnation. Doing it by myself (yes, I've been using the royal plural throughout this note, it's just me working on it), this will take several months and won't be completed on any deadline. Gone are the days when I could put in 50, 60, 70 hours a week working on this. :( If it's going to happen soon, I'll need volunteers. This isn't difficult or technical work for the most part--I can walk someone through the process in just a few minutes--but it will consist of a lot of copypasta and repetition. (I usually watch movies while doing it to stay focused.)

(Alternatively, if you're good at that sort of thing and can develop an automated scenario for extracting and reformatting this content, I'd be very interested to hear about it. At the moment, the only automation I'm planning on is converting HTML to Wiki Markup Language for the transcriptions where I can get the source code.)

People often ask me how I learned so much about treatises, but there's no mysterious answer; this is how, looking at manuscripts for hours and hours (in my case, I'd guess I've spent somewhere above 6,000 hours) and seeing all the ways they fit together. Here's your chance to do a little of the same. Contact me here or elsewhere if you can help, and we'll talk about setting you up with a master or treatise that interests you (it's all got to get done, so why not start with something you like?).

Cheers.

Michael Chidester
Director of the Wiktenauer Project
HEMA Alliance, WMAC
Michael Chidester
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Re: Wiktenauer Rebuild and Call for Volunteers

Postby Michael Chidester » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:09 pm

Okay, so, two months later I've spent a lot of time communicating with libraries and museums, acquiring scans, and developing processes, but have finally rolled out some user documentation. If you want to help out, get in touch with me first and we can go through a few pages together before you dive in.

http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Wiktenauer:Tutorial

The last three tabs in the tutorial will remain on hold while I continue to develop processes. At the moment index pages exist for all treatises up through about 1500, and I'll be adding more as I have time (I'll be going chronologically, so feel free to make requests if you want to work on one that isn't done yet).
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Re: Wiktenauer Rebuild and Call for Volunteers

Postby Jonathan Allen » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:41 pm

So what would the translation look like for http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Page:MS_Germ ... 0_007v.jpg. Would it be on the same page? Or were you thinking of something else?
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Re: Wiktenauer Rebuild and Call for Volunteers

Postby Michael Chidester » Fri Jul 26, 2013 1:40 pm

As I just said, that process is still in development.
Michael Chidester
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HEMA Alliance, WMAC

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