The boring side of web-work

It’s been a terribly boring month. My cool, awesome projects have either launched, or are still in “committee” (endless meetings banging out the minute details). Instead, I’ve been finishing up the tedious tasks that pop up when you decide to move thousands of video and audio files from one streaming server to another–updating links and embed code, converting old formats to new formats (goodbye, Real Media!), identifying the corrupt files, removing their links and embeds, and trying to keep it all straight in one giganto spreadsheet. Granted, I’ve learned about the Amazon cloud servers and the various different media conversion software options that sometimes recognize Real Media….and sometimes don’t. But mostly I’ve been getting repetitive stress twinges from the constant copying and pasting of filenames and shiny new embed codes.

Awesome. But, somebody’s got to do it.

Now I just have to track down about a hundred source files to replace the corrupt ones. Yay.

Another big launch! Introducing Mellini’s Manuscript in Verse

Last week my team at the Getty launched our latest big project, Pietro Mellini’s Inventory in Verse, 1681. Five years of work, contributing scholars from multiple countries, two different Drupal versions, and development team members coming and going have finally led to this first of its kind (for us, anyway), completely digital publication of scholarly work, which translates and interprets this unique manuscript of the inventory of Pietro Mellini’s art collection, written entirely in verse.

Homepage of Mellini publication
Pietro Mellini’s Inventory in Verse, 1681

The first half of the project that began in 2000, which I did not work on, involved building a scholar workspace in Drupal 6, which enabled the scholars to collaborate on the same material from the comfort of their various countries.

The second half, the part where I came in, was to build a public-facing, fully-annotated and citable digital publication of their work, which we built in Drupal 7.

Easily the two coolest features are the manuscript view pages and the list of artworks page.

The Manuscript Viewer

Mellini / Manuscript page comparison viewer
View each page of the manuscript, compare it to its transcription or English translation, and see the scholars’ notes on particular passages.
  • Visit every page of the manuscript and zoom in to check every little detail of Mellini’s writing.
  • View the transcription and/or English translation of every page.
  • View the different versions side-by-side.
  • Read the scholars’ notes for select passages by clicking on the highlighted selections.
  • Use the linked margin notes to find out more information about each work.

List of Artworks

Mellini / Concordance example
Find out how artworks included in the 1681 inventory compare to how they were listed in the more traditionally documented 1680 inventory of the same collection.
  • Find out what known artwork, if any, the scholars have identified as being part of the Mellini collection.
  • Compare how the same work was described–usually in much more technical detail–in Mellini’s 1680 inventory of the same collection.
  • Use the convenient filters to find out how many works, if any, Mellini owned from your favorite artist.
  • Jump to the Research Notes for each identified or possibly identified image to see more information and provenance.

Five years and the hard work of numerous people went into this publication, but personally I’d like to thank the team members I worked with myself over the past two years–Susan Edwards, Tom Scutt, Ahree Lee, JP Pan, Murtha Baca and Francesca Albrezzi. Hey guys–we did it!

Everyone else: Go see it!

Featured Works from WWI Exhibition

It’s finally here! We have officially launched the mobile-optimized highlights “tour” for the new World War I exhibition opening next week!

Featured Works of WWI Exhibition at the Getty Research Institute (a.k.a. the one I’ve been slaving on)
World War I: War of Images, Images of War (a.k.a. the official exhibition website, which I did not work on but which my awesome colleagues built)

Screencap from Featured Works of the WWI Exhibition
Screencap from Featured Works of the WWI Exhibition
I have learned so much on this project, about Foundation 5 and responsive design, and about customizing sharing options for the most popular social media communities. I was lucky to work with great people from the GRI, and with a beautiful design from one of our talented Museum designers, and I’m so glad we finished it on schedule. I’m still sad we had to lose some of the features from the earliest iterations of the project, but the skills I’ve learned on our little mobile tour means that next time I can spend time on building more complex interfaces.

Congrats to my team Liz, Alicia, and Cathy, and to the early architects, Annelisa and Molly! We all rock!

Me, myself and my work