Puerto Pollensa

Nearly time to leave Puerto Pollensa, heading to Palma (via Lluc). Heading into the grey day, that is. So much sun and warmth the last few days, and now it’s looking to be a bit drizzly. Actually, I’m quite happy; it’s much nicer walking in this sort of weather.

The view from Apartmentos Don Miguel

Balearia

Absolutely flat crossing this morning. Looking out the window the railing is precisely parallel with the horizon, the ship seems to not even really be moving. I’d still be hanging over the side watching Menorca disappear but it’s too chilly in the wind; nicer inside with cafe americana and this comfy chair with a nice view.

Installing AtoM

Access to Memory is a brilliant archival description management system, written in PHP and available under the CC-BY-SA license. The installation documentation is thorough… but of course I just want to get the thing running and so didn’t bother actually reading it all! I mean, where’s the tldr?!

So here are the essential bits (for a more-or-less bog standard Ubuntu install with Apache, PHP, and Node.js), running as a normal user and installing to a subdirectory.

To start, clone the repository from https://github.com/artefactual/atom.git and check out the latest stable branch (e.g. stable/2.2.x).

Then make the config, cache, and log directories writable by the web-server user: chgrp -R www-data {cache,log,data} (or whatever your webserver runs as, of course).

Now change into the /plugins/arDominionPlugin directory and run make; this will build the CSS files.

Navigating to the installation now will redirect to the installation system, and probably throw up a bunch of errors. Probably to do with missing dependencies, or permissions; sort these out (e.g. sudo php5enmod xsl and you should be good to go.

(Good to go to the next step, that is.)

Now install Elasticsearch. It’s easier than the AtoM docs admit: just do it the normal way with sudo apt-get install elasticsearch. (I’d submit a change to the AtoM docs to remove the “it’s not in the Ubuntu repositories” line, but I’m not quite sure how yet.)

Start Elasticsearch (in the background; the -d switch) with sudox /usr/share/elasticsearch/bin/elasticsearch -d and carry on with the installation procedure. The rest seems to be fairly straight forward.

Penguin Classics portal on Wikisource

I’ve made a start of a system to pull data from Wikidata and generate a portal for the Penguin Classics, with appropriate links for those that are on Wikisource or are ready to be transcribed.

I’m a bit of a Sparql newbie, so perhaps this could’ve been done in a single query. However, I’m doing it in two stages: first, gathering all the ‘works’ that have at least one edition published by Penguin Classics, and then finding all editions of each of those works and seeing if any of them are on Wikisource. Oh, and including the ones that aren’t, too!

Wikidata:WikiProject Books sort of uses the FRBF model to represent primarily books and editions (‘editions’ being a combination of manifestation and expression levels of the FRBF; i.e. an edition realises and embodies a work). So most of the metadata we want exists at the ‘work’ level: title, author, date of first publication, genre, etc.

At the ‘edition’ level we look for a link to Wikisource (because a main-namespace item on Wikisource is an edition… although this gets messy; see below), and a link to the edition’s transcription project. Actually, we also look for these on the work itself, because often Wikidata has these properties there instead or as well — which is wrong.

Strictly speaking, the work metadata shouldn’t have anything about where the work is on Wikisource (either mainspace or Index file). The problem with adhering to this, however, is that by doing so we break interwiki links from Wikisource to Wiktionary. Because a Wikipedia article is (almost always) about a work, and we want to link a top-level Wikisource mainspace pages to this work… and the existing systems for doing this don’t allow for the intermediate step of going from Wikisource to the edition, then to the work and then to Wikipedia.

So for now, my scruffy little script looks for project links at both levels, and seems to do so successfully.

The main problem now is that there’s just not much data about these books on Wikidata! I’ll get working on that next…

Adding data, not systems

For the most part, and leaving aside some tool-making or data-checking programming, I think it is far more relaxing to add data to the world than to add more systems-for-working-with-data. Contributing to Wikisource, Openstreetmap, Commons, even Flickr and Reddit, will further the cause (what ’cause’?) more than building some new system for cataloguing photos or conducting conversations.

So take photos, draw maps, write blog posts, explore the world and record what you see. Don’t devise the means to do these things — we already have the means, and have had for a rather long time. Better to get on and do it, I think. The means won’t be perfectly what you’d prefer, but then they never will be (even after you’ve built the system that’s perfectly exactly what you want).

If you see what I mean?

Anyway, I’m only saying this because I’m going to be away from regular coding for a few months from next week, so shall be focussing on Doing more than Building. And I can’t wait!

Reading, quietly

There is something exquisite in the act of sitting still in a comfortable place, reading, with a nice view. Writing sometimes, to note down the habits of passing sheep. And sometimes drinking, perhaps, once the sun has dropped to that point in the sky. But the important thing is the still small quiet that can be felt, occasionally. And the ability to see a bit of a distance. A good book helps, but isn’t really the point.