Wednesday, March 9, 2011

T-PEN's Project Management

T-PEN is being designed to support both on-the-fly transcription and project-based work. The first occurs when a scholar simply wants to transcribe a few pages from a manuscript for another project, export the transcription and move on. Project-based transcription assumes more sustained work on a given manuscript, so much so that it may be a shared project. With that in mind, the T-PEN team has been developing a project management component. That page looks like this:

The Projects tab indicates which current project is active and what other projects you may have on the go. The central box lists some basic metadata (this will be superceded by a Dublin Core set, as well as the option for the user to upload their own DC set or a TEI-header). The last box has three functions: transcribe, the ability to remove images from MS set (for that user's purposes only) or to modify the image sequence. This last option can be very important for medieval manuscripts since some have been bound incorrectly and so the gatherings are out of order.

The Manuscript tab provides two additional project functions. It is not uncommon for scholars to have started an in situ transcription but did not have the time to finish it. Now that a digital copy of that manuscript is available, there's no reason why one has to start from scratch. Hence, users can upload a text-only file for line breaking. This means a user can align an existing transcription with the lines of the manuscript page, and then continue where they left off. We will demonstrate this function in a future post. Finally, individual users can modify the way the T-PEN application has identified the location of the lines on the manuscript page. While we have worked very hard to make this as accurate as possible, we have regularly only attained a 85% success rate. And, sometimes the lines on a manuscript page are not straight enough to permit good automated line parsing. Users can traverse the pages and make manual corrections. If they deem the automated parsing to be too deficient, they can elect to make their manual line identifications available to other users.

On the last tab, Collaboration, a project manager can administer his/her research group. They can add or remove users who are registered on T-PEN. Or, they can invite a colleague to join the project. Finally, any changes made to the project are noted in the activity log. This includes when a manuscript is added to the project, when a new collaborator joins the team (or leaves the team), when any changes are made to any transcription page and if any resequencing or manual line parsing has been completed.

We look forward to any comments on how to improve this component of our digital tool.