[humanities-dev] Couple of TEXTUS design questions

Sam Leon sam.leon at okfn.org
Thu Mar 15 22:22:49 UTC 2012

Hi Tom, All,

I would prefer single page visible UI. Makes it much easier to read and
find your place in the text. I find scrolling seriously inconvenient for

I am going up to Goldsmiths tomorrow morning and will put this to the
students there and feedback.

On the annotations point, I very much like the idea that you suggest of
having a specific view to show all scans for the currently visible text in
sequence. I think this would make the job of checking transcription against
scan, something that many people will be inclined to do, much easier.


On Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 11:48 AM, Tom Oinn <tom.oinn at okfn.org> wrote:

> I've been hacking away at the reader interface for TEXTUS. This is the
> component which presents a text, along with typography and annotations
> and allows users to read it (it also allows for the creation of
> annotations, but that's easy so I'm not going to talk about that
> here). The currently online project which also does this is
> openshakespeare; this works but has a few issues and I'd like to get
> some thoughts on whether we actually care about them.
> Firstly openshakespeare loads the entire text into a single web page
> (i.e. http://openshakespeare.org/work/hamlet). With modern computers
> and browsers this is probably fine, it's a relatively small amount of
> data and loads rapidly (or at least it does at home - trying to access
> it on my phone over a flaky gprs connection is not so hot). For TEXTUS
> though I was originally envisaging an interface which presented pages,
> where a page was 'however much can be put on the screen at the moment'
> rather than an underlying page in a transcribed text. There are pros
> and cons to both approaches:
> Entire text visible
>  + Free text search works trivially with browser CTRL+F or similar
>  + Easy to copy / paste large sections into other documents
>  - Expensive with large numbers of annotations, unless annotations
> are loaded based on viewport
> Single 'page' visible
>  + Better UI for actually reading text, creating bookmarks etc
>  + Maps simply onto a sensible UI for tablets
>  + Easy to only retrieve and render applicable annotations
>  - Search has to be implemented through back-end service (not
> entirely a bad thing, can be more flexible but not as quick)
> It would be possible to do either, so it's really down to what people
> think is a preferable presentation style?
> Secondly there's the issue of how we present annotations. In this
> context annotations include attributed free text comments, links to
> other texts or sections of texts, external links out to images of
> scanned manuscripts and potentially many others. Because of this it is
> guaranteed that annotations will overlap with one another, something
> which the OKFN annotator allows but handles poorly (try creating a few
> overlapping annotations on openshakespeare.org and you'll see the
> problem). We can avoid some of these issues by making annotations
> visible on the 'breadcrumb trail' bar in the UI (a component which
> locates the currently visible sub-section of text, i.e. 'Hamlet > Act
> II > Scene I'). We will have filtering for annotation types (i.e.
> 'show me all scanned image links', or 'only show me annotations from
> <set of users>') but we're still hopefully going to end up with much
> denser annotation than a naive approach will handle. I propose a few
> different mechanisms, which would work in concert, to mitigate this:
> 1) Annotations pertaining to large sections of text, i.e. much more
> than currently displayed in the viewport of the browser, will be
> indicated by a control on the breadcrumb trail. For example, the
> metadata for the entire text (author, title, edition etc) would appear
> as an indicator under the root part of the breadcrumb trail. This
> allows for annotations which apply to all the document, or all of a
> chapter, without polluting the actual text display too much.
> 2) Some annotation types would not have their location within the text
> shown by default, simply being presented if the text to which they
> pertain is visible. This would work well for links back to scans of
> the original manuscript, for example - you would see icons for the
> scanned images corresponding to whatever text was visible, I don't
> think we'd need to specifically say 'scan 1 is from this word to this
> other word' as it would be obvious from the scans themselves (we might
> even have a specific view to show all scans for the currently visible
> text in sequence)
> These two ideas both serve to reduce the number of annotations we
> actually need to display in the text itself, but we'll still have
> quite a few...
> 3) Overlapping annotations are trickier - annotator's approach
> (inserting spans with particular styles) doesn't work for this. One
> option would be to render the markers indicating annotations in a more
> sophisticated way, for example using an HTML5 canvas behind the text
> itself and drawing lines or boxes around annotated text and out to a
> marginalia style display. This also has the advantage that multiple
> annotations can have their text visible at the same time rather than
> using pop-ups. A paginated approach to text display makes this more
> practical, but it's possible with the scrollable full text view as
> well.
> Thoughts?
> Tom
> _______________________________________________
> humanities-dev mailing list
> humanities-dev at lists.okfn.org
> http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/humanities-dev

Sam Leon
Community Coordinator
Open Knowledge Foundation
Twitter: @noeL_maS
Skype: samedleon
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.okfn.org/pipermail/humanities-dev/attachments/20120315/b6fb6dcd/attachment.html>

More information about the humanities-dev mailing list