Just another normal Thursday

When you heard about DODH2010 did you immediately look to your calendar to see if Thursday, March 18 would be a “good” day for revelation? I did.  It is.  Just another normal Thursday…I’m leading a Scholars’ Lab GIS workshop on digitizing and editing datasets, serving as able assistant to my colleague Chris Gist with an archaeology GIS workshop he’s leading, and I hope to find time to sit in on a discussion on mapping the early 19th century world.

Let’s see how this Thursday unfolds!

Just another normal Thursday

When you heard about DODH2010 did you immediately look to your calendar to see if Thursday, March 18 would be a “good” day for revelation? I did.  It is.  Just another normal Thursday…I’m leading a Scholars’ Lab GIS workshop on digitizing and editing datasets, serving as able assistant to my colleague Chris Gist with an archaeology GIS workshop he’s leading, and I hope to find time to sit in on a discussion on mapping the early 19th century world.

Let’s see how this Thursday unfolds!

Beginning the day

There were a couple of blog articles I had wanted to read over the last couple of days that I just hadn’t had time to get to. First up, Redis: Data Cheeseburgers. I’m really intrigued by the idea of serializing data in non-relational formats (this from the guy in the office that writes mathematical relational algebra out on the white board) to store data. I’ve been playing around in my spare time with MongoDB and the mongomapper wrapper in rails, but have been hearing a lot of good things about Redis.

One of the most interesting aspect of these key-value store approaches, especially from a digital humanities perspective, is it allows you to concentrate more of the object model without worrying so much about the gotchas of how an object gets translated into SQL. If you change your model, it just keeps working, you don’t need to go back and disassociate any foreign-key constraints, run a migration, and remember to put the key constraints back (because that’s always done perfectly with no orphaned children, right?).

The ThoughtBot article doesn’t go too deeply into what Redis can do (or why people would want to use it, other than to say that Craigslist uses it), but it does provide some useful examples of what the platform is capable of accomplishing. If you want to try Redis out (without installing), check out Try Redis.

Beginning the day

There were a couple of blog articles I had wanted to read over the last couple of days that I just hadn’t had time to get to. First up, Redis: Data Cheeseburgers. I’m really intrigued by the idea of serializing data in non-relational formats (this from the guy in the office that writes mathematical relational algebra out on the white board) to store data. I’ve been playing around in my spare time with MongoDB and the mongomapper wrapper in rails, but have been hearing a lot of good things about Redis.

One of the most interesting aspect of these key-value store approaches, especially from a digital humanities perspective, is it allows you to concentrate more of the object model without worrying so much about the gotchas of how an object gets translated into SQL. If you change your model, it just keeps working, you don’t need to go back and disassociate any foreign-key constraints, run a migration, and remember to put the key constraints back (because that’s always done perfectly with no orphaned children, right?).

The ThoughtBot article doesn’t go too deeply into what Redis can do (or why people would want to use it, other than to say that Craigslist uses it), but it does provide some useful examples of what the platform is capable of accomplishing. If you want to try Redis out (without installing), check out Try Redis.

Morning: Preparing for SSHRC information session

Sitting here having my morning coffee. Slept in a bit this morning (very unusual) – I often wake up at around 4 or 5 and doze until 6, rarely falling back asleep, but I did this morning and reawoke at 6:30. I usually spend my weekday before-work mornings with some random web exploration and writing – often about things I’ve been pondering before I get up. Then I either go for a 5K run or to the gym. I’ll have to pass on the gym this morning, because the research office at UofT is holding an information session on SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council)’s renewed program architecture, and I need to go through the 54-page briefing SSHRC has prepared once again.

For REED, SSHRC’s new funding structure is a positive development, especially the Partnership Grants, which start at 500K with no upper limit and have a duration of up to 7 years. This means that REED could propose an ambitious 7-year plan that would fund and bring together the traditional and digital work of the project, and make REED’s digital future less of a piecemeal operation dictated by funding for this or that DH component.


Morning: Preparing for SSHRC information session

Sitting here having my morning coffee. Slept in a bit this morning (very unusual) – I often wake up at around 4 or 5 and doze until 6, rarely falling back asleep, but I did this morning and reawoke at 6:30. I usually spend my weekday before-work mornings with some random web exploration and writing – often about things I’ve been pondering before I get up. Then I either go for a 5K run or to the gym. I’ll have to pass on the gym this morning, because the research office at UofT is holding an information session on SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council)’s renewed program architecture, and I need to go through the 54-page briefing SSHRC has prepared once again.

For REED, SSHRC’s new funding structure is a positive development, especially the Partnership Grants, which start at 500K with no upper limit and have a duration of up to 7 years. This means that REED could propose an ambitious 7-year plan that would fund and bring together the traditional and digital work of the project, and make REED’s digital future less of a piecemeal operation dictated by funding for this or that DH component.


Symposium on Spanish Golden Age Drama in Translation and Performance

The symposium I am attending today has been organised by the Out of the Wings project, “a project which aims to make the riches of the theatres of Spain and Spanish America accessible to English-speaking researchers and theatre professionals”. The theme is Golden Age Drama in Translation and Performance, and the event combines academic papers with sample performances from Spanish language plays translated into English.

This morning’s session has seen presentations about Calderón and Cervantes and is now ending with a very entertaining presentation about the Spanish Comedia by Victor Dixon, using the voice of Lope de Vega. There will also be a rehearsed reading of Jo Clifford’s translation of Gil Vicente’s one-act play Don Duardos and a workshop on the Out of the Wings (Jeffs and Burton-Morgan) translation of Lope de Vega’s Punishment without revenge (El castigo de venganza), and this is the thing that fascinates me about this project – the crossover between historical interpretation of Spanish drama, performance and translation, which bring together academics and practitioners.

We’re going to present a first version of the database of authors, plays and translators that we’ve been developing for that project later and so I’m excited (but also a little nervous!) to hear what people think about what we’ve done so far.