News: March 2007

Upgrading the online browsing capability of the website is progressing. The major difficulty we see is that one must always return to the thumbnail page to move to the next image. There are other matters that need addressing, but the ability to move directly from one image to the next is the priority. Server software has not kept pace with the desktop software. There are a few off-the-shelf programs that would implement a slide-show capability, but they were all developed for people sharing family or company photographs. The burden of adopting such server software is that they take over the indexing, ie., the webpages for the individual reigns that list the document series year by year would be lost. We think that burden is unacceptable. Likewise, programming out everything in open-source programming that is not needed would be very complicated.

We are assured that a person competent in Microsoft programming can write a program that will do precisely what is necessary. We are currently going through the university process required for acquiring such a person's assistance. It may be that we will be able to implement this upgrade by mid-April, but unlikely that it will happen before then.

If we are successful in implementing that upgrade to browsing capability, we will then proceed on to the lesser matters: highlighting the last-viewed image, having the image number display under the image without being activated by the cursor, and establishing thumbnail pages that display only 200 images per screen (moving to a completely new page without ever scrolling down.) The thumbnail page change (ie, 200 thumbnails per page) will assist in navigating the site by allowing a rough count of pages in the original document (for a plea roll, 200 images often covers roughly 100 sides).

We also are actively investigating possibilities for accelerating image acquisition by adding a strong financial component for assistance. We expect that university rules will allow for this and that such assistance will be possible beginning summer 2007. The project already has the money; the issues are solely compliance with university rules and recruitment of the assistance. If university rules allow and we can locate a person or persons to assist, we expect that by the end of 2007 we will have on display not only twice as much sixteenth-century material as we have currently, but the full run of the main series from 1272 all the way into the fifteenth century.

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