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Visit to The National Archives

Our visit to the National Archives was our first look at the raw materials for our project, particularly the service records which are full of useful biographical information and will present quite a challenge for our encoders!

The first step has been to design a draft for an XML schema for these records, which is now being perused by Ed and Martin. Once this is approved by all and sundry, the hard work of encoding begins!

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May 31st, 1916, Scapa Flow

Here’s the logbook of the iron Duke, part of the fleet at Scapa Flow. Check out the 3.57pm entry:

Sometimes, what the primary source materials don’t say is even more important than what they do say – now link that!

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TNA: SAILSproject team visit the archives

The project team met at TNA on September 3rd to take a look at the original materials. Ed Hampshire took us round the vaults and let us look at a selection of service records and ships logs. Seeing the materials up close really gave us a sense of the data content that can be marked up and linked, far more clearly than working with PDFs.

Service record of Lord Cunnigham

After Ed had shown us some particularly interesting examples, we all met to have some discussions about data issues with Caroline Kimbell.

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Workshop development

The first SAILS workshop will take place in Exeter during the week of October 18th. Watch this space for more details….

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LInking up with the MET Office and GalaxyZoo

As is apt for a linked data project, we are working closely with the MET Office and GalaxyZoo as part of this project. GalaxyZoo will be using its Citizen Cyberscience methods to convert ships logs into machine-readable form and we will be linking to these as they come onstream. I had a very productive meeting with Chris Lintott from GalaxyZoo and Philip Brohan and Rob Allan from the MET Office in Oxford a couple of weeks ago to discuss it all.

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Ships’s log – sample

This is an example of the ship’s logs that we will be working with. These images have been digitized by the Met Office ACRE project, from originals in the National Archives

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The forecast project budget for SAILS totals £95605.65 (£76484.52 JISC funding with the balance – 20% – from institutional contributions). The detailed budget forecast breakdown is given in the table below.

Apr10–Mar 11 Apr11– Mar 12 TOTAL £
Directly Incurred Staff £ 30963.98 £ 6192.81 £ 37156.79
Directly Incurred non-staff £ 27500 £ 4000 £ 31500
Total Directly Incurred £ 49463.98 £ 10192.81 £ 59656.79
Directly Allocated £ 5796.33 £ 1159.26 £ 6955.59
Indirect Costs £24161.05 £4832.22 £28993.27
Total Project Costs £ 79421.36 £ 16184.29 £ 95605.65

Travel and expenses include £4000 for dissemination activities, including stakeholder workshops.

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Project Team Relationships and End User Engagement.

Name Role
Lorna Hughes, CeRch Deputy Director of CeRch. Extensive experience managing and delivering digital humanities projects. Recent projects include: AHRC ICT Methods Network; and arts-humanities.net, Arts and Humanities e-Science Support centre (AHeSSC), ‘enabling uptake of e-infrastructure services’ project.
Richard Gartner CeRch CeRch Information and Knowledge Specialist, expert in electronic information provision, including metadata for digital libraries. Recent projects include: METS Awareness Training project (Digital Preservation and Records Management Programme (4/04)), Internet Library of Early Journals (ILEJ) project. Author of three JISC Technology and Standards Watch reports (02-25, 03-06 and 08-01).
Developer, CeRch A software developer from the CeRch pool will be deployed on the project. We will ensure that they have suitable skills and experience in RDFs and linked data technologies.
Martin Robson, Corbet Centre, KCL Visiting Lecturer and Research Assistant at The Corbett Centre and an Honorary Fellow of the Centre for Maritime Historical Studies at the University of Exeter. Former Caird Senior Research Fellow at the National Maritime Museum and the author of several books on naval history. Has extensive experience of commercial sector project management in traditional and electronic publishing delivering print and web content in an educational environment.
Rob Allan, and Philip Brohan, Met Office Acre Initiative Climate researchers, have worked extensively on land-based records, ships logs and related materials, to recover, image, digitise, archive and visualize primary source materials related to historic instrumental weather records.

End user engagement will be co-ordinated through a series of formative and summative evaluation activities, including workshops and discussions with stakeholders. We will also hold at least one prost-project activity, for example, a dissemination workshop.

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