[okfn-discuss] Proposed project on Milton

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Mon Mar 3 16:09:21 UTC 2008

Dear Iain,

It is really wonderful to hear from you. This sounds like a wonderful 
idea and your more general suggestion regarding tracking ideas and 
changes is also spot on. Its also great to hear from you as there is so 
much in common, in terms of tools approaches etc, between this and Open 
Shakespeare (even stupid stuff like the script to strip the PG headers 
and footers off their texts) that it seems a perfect opportunity to 
collaborate -- it would also prompt us to get around to updating Open 
Shakespeare (there are several things which have been 
'waiting-to-be-done' over the last 6 months or so). Anyway, look forward 
to chatting more and I've put a few inlined comments below.


Iain Emsley wrote:
> Apologies for the slightly random email whilst I was trying to  
> unsubscribe my Yahoo account.
> I'd like to propose a project using similar tools to the Open  
> Shakespeare project but on Milton (as it is his 400th borthday on  
> December 9th).

Sounds fantastic.

> I've been experimenting with building a concordance which I hope to  
> put onto my development site fairly soon (it's very rough and ready  
> Perl and needs some glamourising). I'm also looking at creating notes,  

Any way to persuade you to leave those Perl ways behind and switch to 
python :)

> such as the characters and their relationships, on the site and  
> providing RDFa versions in the HTML for RDF aware tools and also  
> trying to link back to resources (where these are possible by the ts &  
> cs)

Sounds great. I've long been meaning to sort out the OS stuff to use a 
more marked up version of the texts.

> Whilst this is currently web-based, I am envisaging a SOAP interface  
> and a downloadable client (or details of users want to create their  
> own in different languages). However I'm open to suggestion.

Our approach has been to put any source material in the repo along with 
the code. That way people who want the 'source' can get it directly that 
way -- plus you get to track changes etc etc.

> However where I would like to go with this is to try and develop some  
> tools to allow users to track linguistic and literary changes with a  
> wider range of open texts from Project Gutenberg (though elsewhere if  
> they can be sourced openly), so for example you might want to track  
> political expression from Hobbes to Paine, or to track the changing  
> meaning of words or sound shifts in Early Modern English.

Even more ambitious but a really great idea, and an area where one could 
really use technology to complement traditional scholarship.

> I'm curious as to how you can open up literature (something a  
> colleague and I were discussing in the corridor) and language and use  
> the Open Data and the Internet to do this.

The possibilities seem very large but as yet almost completely untapped 
(at least from the openness side of things).

> Would this be of interest at all?


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