Thursday, February 5, 2015

Snapd jobs

Snapd January jobs. These photos are in the January issue (available 1 Feb).

Interior Design Show 2015

The OneMatch Swab Event at OCAD Networking event at the Rum Exchange

Cloud cell, an exhibition by Xiaojing Yan

The Office Pub New Year's Eve Party

Mariposa New Year's Eve Cruise

The following photos have been posted online now and will be in print for February (available 1 March)

Mozart and Shostakovich Sinfonia Concert

Contiki at Toronto's Ultimate Travel Show

Brookfield Place Blood Donor Clinic

Innocent Guns CD Release

The Social Collective: 'Subtraction'

Black and White Ball V

FFWD Week: Shelly Lazarus in conversation with Susan Krashinsky

Snapd on New Year's Eve

In the past I took photos under Ed's name, with SVPhotography. Now, though, I'm taking photos for Snapd as well.

One of the first events I did for Snapd was on New Year's Eve--at The Office Pub at Queen and John, and at the Mariposa Gala New Year's Eve cruise. It was not the first time I've worked on New Year's Eve; I have crystal clear memories of working all night and submitting my first published article on NYE shortly before midnight. But it was the first time I had worked downtown on NYE.

I arrived at the harbour around 7pm in the subzero cold. It was about -10C. They weren't letting people on the ship just yet, but luckily the little mall across the road was open, and that's where the guests-to-be hung out. It was c.o.l.d. down there on the Harbourfront. Luckily the crew were attired properly for their subzero cruise!

 SnapdQueen article
2014.12.31 Lee, Duncan (Captain), Mike & Stewart
I have the women's version of that North Face jacket that Mike is wearing above. I think it's exactly the same but with a belt. You know, to define one's hourglass figure.

I felt slightly melancholy about the ship because my dad's family has such a history of working on boats; it felt appropriate somehow that this was my first Snapd job. And indeed the boat cut a sharp figure too.

Look how twinkly that boat looks with the condos in the background...

The Roman de Fauvel manuscript BNF Francais 146

I've been adding a few things to the Oculyrici database in anticipation of the upcoming class of The Medieval Lyric on February 10. Here's the dashboard for a Roman de Fauvel manuscript.

The folio in BNF Francais 146 has an illumination depicting Fauvel and some musical notation for a song. The record links directly to BNF Francais 146 and includes some details from their manuscript desciption. In the general manuscript links section below I've also added a Youtube link to a performance of the song "In Marie Miserie." I don't know much about the song or this particular performance... but it certainly adds another dimension to our experience of Fauvel.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Oculyrici: A Medieval Lyric Database

Here's the table relationship schema for the database I've been working on for a little while now. This is one of the happy outcomes of the postdoc I had at Yale from 2013-2014 with Ardis Butterfield. And into this will go the data and photographs from the archival research trips I did during that time.

I first designed it in MS Access, but then it became clear that might not be the best platform to have people easily share it, either on their tablets, or while they were traveling. And most people at Yale are in an Apple iOS of some sort. So I redesigned it in FileMaker Pro.  It was my first jab at FileMaker so some things came slowly to me, but at least the latest versions have relational database windows, so I could at least set up table relationships with primary keys. I don't remember being able to do that ten years ago.

Here is the Folio Dashboard. It's a layout that's meant to be a go-to place in the database for visual and textual information about a lyric witness.

As for the data so far, I've added some photographs from my own research, from the online archives, and my own manuscript descriptions (for about 150 manuscripts of Middle English Lyrics, drawn from my thesis appendix). There are manuscript listings for 200 more. I'm far short of having the database properly populated; that's what I'm working on now.

I think this would be a perfect project for crowdsourcing and public access. It would be a neat way to make use of the images that are all the time going online at major institutional archives. So my goal is, currently, to have public access. At the moment it's hosted at Yale and they can't yet host it on a public-facing server. The grad course that I mentioned above currently has access. But my intention is that it will eventually be open to the public. I guess that might mean I have to redesign it again in a native web app. And of course, negotiate with all relevant archives.

One thing at a time...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Article submitted

Article submitted...

So what can I say about this article given that the review process is supposed to be a blind one? i.e. my identity is supposed to be top secret? My reviewer might be out there reading this very post? (Pshaw...very low odds of that, I think)

Well, I can say it's based on the first chapter of my thesis, which was the strongest one in my opinion. I can say it's about Middle English lyrics and (social) networks of manuscripts, which is not a revolutionary concept now, but was at least relatively new when I was first proposing it, in 2008. I can say I used the (free) software Netdraw and it's really cool. But really what I'm doing in the article is provenance stuff (which led me to my interest in William Boswell). The point about using social networks language is to show people that what they've been doing all along is a kind of network analysis. No need to be hostile to "social networks" theory... it's already embedded in what we do. (Like cat hair on our pant legs.) One reviewer really disliked that line, so I had to take it out. But everyone at the conference liked it.

I could gripe about how slow the publication process works in academia but that's not an isolated problem; it's a problem everywhere. Publication takes time. Improvement, editing, finicky details, proofreading; it all takes time. Even at Snapd where I'm freelancing now, photos take three to four weeks to come out, and that's, like, aeons given the life cycle of social media (instagram, twitter, facebook) these days. When my husband and I photograph weddings, it takes a month or two to process all those photos -- to make them look the best they can be -- and the price of "best" is time. So everyone's already posted their hearts out about the magical wedding moments, when the couple finally gets their pictures.

Let's not even get started on how I never got around to doing my own wedding album! We got married four and a half years ago. My mother is still waiting.

Well now that I've officially sworn off academia, maybe I can finally get to the wedding album, hmm?!

Sir William Boswell and the Bowswells of Durham

Sir William Boswell, seventeenth-century diplomat, was a powerful, intriguing figure. There is not much about his family or where he came from, although there is plenty of historical evidence about his political activities. But who was he? Apparently he "claimed affinity" with his wife's family, the Bosvilles of Kent. As Alan Stewart puts it in the DNB, Boswell "married his cousin Margaret Boswell or Bosvile, a relation of Sir Ralph Bosvile of Eynsford in Kent."

In this post I'll suggest that William Boswell's family was actually from Durham. He probably was not related to Margaret Bosville, although certainly their names were spelled similarly.

We can see that Boswell's family was from Durham from the will of his father, John, who died in 1595--the reference for the will is given in History of Parliament online and in the DNB article by Alan Stewart.

The will of John Bowswell, of Suffolk, is fairly detailed. In particular, it mentions that the property that John Bowswell has got from Sir Robert Gardener, in Suffolk, is bequeathed to his eldest son William Bowswell (that is, Sir William Boswell). However, later in the will, John Bowswell names his brother Thomas as the heir of all his property in Barnard Castle village in Durham. The will refers to his right to hold the land "of one John Fulthorpe esquire and his ancesters ... many yeeres beyond the meamory of man"; a few lines later John refers to his father, "deceased of the heires of the said John Ffulthorpe."

Barnard Castle in Durham has a long association with the Bowes family, and there is a village called Bowes in Barnard Castle. George Bowes notoriously executed the northern rebels and took possession of Streatlam Castle in Durham in 1569. The Fulthorpes and the Bowes certainly had their links to each other: Anne Fulthorpe’s son married Sir George Bowes’ daughter, establishing family links between Bowes and Fulthorpe several decades before John Bowswell died in 1595. Bowes sounds a lot like Bowswell. You can see where I'm going with this. Perhaps Boswell is not a corruption of Bosville after all, but instead a corruption of Bowes.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Sharing datasets!

So we're coming to the end of the process of editing our special issue of Digital Philology - it will be ready to go a few weeks (as in, now, yesterday, tomorrow, as soon as possible). And finally we're investigating how we can share data online - I mean, big datasets - things that didn't fit in the issue's articles. And the answer, I think, is Figshare. This was suggested to me a while back by someone at Instructional Technologies at Yale. I didn't sign up for it because what I want to do with the lyrics database (crowdsource! public access!) is somewhat different. I don't want people just to view the finished data but actually to be able to work in the database. But certainly figshare is a way to share Excel datasets and other databases, things that are just far too large to go in a journal article. It might be a good way also for me to share screenshots and working ideas about the lyrics database - though I'm not sure what the benefits are other than blogging, so far.