Europe has moved to Africa!

April 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

It´s 10:38 pm now and instead of reading or watching TV as normal people do I still concern myself with how to create a google map. I do so, because I don´t have the feeling that I have been really “productive” today (maybe I spent too much time blogging?). I always have a feeling like this, when I was not able to complete all the tasks that I planned to do for the day. OK, I guess I often plan to complete too many tasks, but anyway.

After managing to extract the coordinates from my register_places.xml into a kml file I tried to create a google map as I had done for the repositories before. Sometimes I´m quite successful doing things that I´ve never tried before. I remember that it actually worked fine for the repositories. But when I used the same method for the places of origin, google told me at first that this was not a valid file. Ok, google was right: the declaration wasn´t correct – fixed.

Now I have a map, but I´m quite sure that Europe has not moved to Africa in the last few minutes…

wrong structure of coordinates

wrong structure of coordinates

I remember that I had the same problem with the repositories once as well. I only have to recall how I fixed it. At least I have a “correct” kml file now, so working with google maps is not as disappointing as has been trying to create a timeline for all the 273 manuscript witnesses. I spent the whole sunday working myself through all the timeline tools, jquery libraries etc. out there. Although I have a variety of xml and json files with my data now that accord to the different specifications, I couldn´t create a single timeline. That´s crap!

My day of DH finishes now!






Enhancing my skills

April 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

As I said before: I´m really not a very technical person. I´m very comfortable doing HTML, CSS, XML, XSLT and a bit of js. I can understand what a PHP script does, but that´s it.

I´m always trying to enhance my skills. Therefore I´m taking an introductory course for programming. Maybe this will help. At least I hope so.

The first thing I realized when I entered the room was, that there are MACs everywhere. I´m a windows person, not really a convinced one, but I´m so used to it, that working with a MAC drives me crazy. Gladly I have my own notebook with me, so I don´t have to cope with the question of how to switch the MAC on… 😉

Back to work

April 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

now after lunch I can´t really make up my mind whether to really go on with the list of persons or instead use the time remaining (I want to attend my boss` lecture at 2) trying to come up with a new google map for repositories and/or places of origin.

Former map for repositories

Former map for repositories

Since beside his normal work (which is going through all that has been written about the leges and gathering the information to be put into xml) my colleague is also my “slave for basic technical stuff”. He worked himself through all the placenames and collected the coordinates ect. and is now very keen on (?) doing the same for the people mentioned in the Mss.

Ok, it´s maps then. Starting by extracting all the coordinates and the Mss. whose origin was attributed to them. Then transfering it to kml. That´s the plan. See if it works…

Lunch break

April 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

Working on the list of persons annoys me since I just realized that my “German” links to wikipedia won´t work for the “English” site. So I have to reconsider the structure of the file, adding specific attributes for both languages. But that can wait till after lunch.

Since I guess it will be very crowded, I decide against going to the canteen (also today´s menu doesn´t look too bad), and just grab sth. from the kiosk.

Stay tuned. Will be back soon…

You can´t always get/do what you want…

April 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

Still being a student, I have to concern myself with putting together my schedule, getting into contact with Profs, doing other stuff not related to my project or work in general. So that´s what I have done for nearly the last 30 min. In Cologne a system called “Klips” is used for online registration. Most people here refer to it as “Die Geißel der Menschheit” (I have no idea what the english equivalent would be). It just sucks!

Also my colleagues were both here preparing their tutorials for the freshmen and eating the muffins I baked yesterday to make the first day of the term bearable.


But now it´s really back to doing some work on the project.


register_person.xml (work-in-progress)

As I´m here blogging, I want to use the time to say hello to my former colleagues at the CCeH (Cologne Center for eHumanities). Partly it´s their fault that I halfway turned into a digital humanists by now instead of tantalizing pupils with History and English at school. 🙂

You might want to check out what they are doing on their days of DH as well…

Patrick Sahle

Franz Fischer



Repositories – check!

April 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

I love ticking off to-do lists. I´m finished with the repositories for now. My result can be seen here (German) or here (English).

Next thing for this site will be a new map. But the list of persons has a higher priority at the moment…



Good Morning

April 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

This is my first post on the Day of DH. It´s 8 in the morning and I´m in my office on the 4th floor of the “Philosophikum” at Cologne University.

The office

The office

I guess for most people working here, it´s quite early so I´m nearly alone. I always start work early (not always that early and not always in the office I share with my two wonderful collegues Dominik & Georg), but as the summer term starts today, it was a willful decision to do so. Everything will be crowded with freshmen. Gladly most of them don´t make it to the 4th floor. 🙂

I´m currently working on the “Bibliotheca legum regni Francorum manuscripta (Bl) project. The Bl aims at presenting an overview of the legal knowledge that existed in the Carolingian period. All secular law texts (as for example the Lex Salica or the Theodosian Code) that were copied during that time are included. We provide descriptions of manuscripts (at the moment there are 273 short descriptions online) which contain the so called “leges“ and also try to gather a lot of contextualizing information to sum up the current state of research as complete as possible.



My role in the project is the technical lead, which is actually quite funny since I´m not a very technical person and I´ve hardly any knowledge about “real” programming. But so what! So far we´ve made it. Our WordPress CMS runs without any problems, we found a way to do the XSL transformations within the CMS, included different browsing accesses to the descriptions and also full-text and faceted search. A first user test was run in Jan/Feb this year and the feedback was surprisingly positive. Of course there are still a lot of bugs, but since the Bl has not been officially launched, I´m quite comfortable with that.

Today I attempt to work on the indices for people, places and repositories. Thanks to my colleague Dominik, most places already have TGN numbers, coordinates and/or other means of identification. Many entries in the list of persons still lack information on VIAF IDs or links to the respective wikipedia articles (yes, we link to wikipedia and we like it!). So I´m going to start with this. The list of repositories is nearly finished, but there are still some presentation issues. I never would have thought that it´s so difficult to find websites, contact data etc. for all the repositories that still exist.  Some of them are so crappy!

My second task is working on the different ways of presenting the manuscript. They can be found on a table containing the most important information on the Ms. (finished), a list sorted by shelfmark (finished), a list sorted by date of origin (to be done, – a timeline would also be wonderful), one sorted by place of origin (to be done, – with a nice map) and one according to the leges contained (work-in-progress).

So enough for know. I have to work!


Only two days left…

April 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

…before my first day of DH starts. Actually it´s a bit intimidating for me since I´ve never presented myself and my work before to the public in DH sphere. But I guess this is a good plattform to do so and it also forces me to reflect on my work intensely.

Hello World!

March 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

This is my first post and also the first time that I attempt to take part in the day of dh. Looking forward to it. Stay tuned for more happy days…