Sunday, May 6, 2012

JavaScript Bug in Safari 5.1.5

Update: The latest Safari release 5.1.7 still has these issues. The T-PEN team is hard at work finding a more graceful solution for our Safari users. A separate update to T-PEN, however, means that once you have restored the interface, all the tools will work correctly.

The T-PEN development team has confirmed that there is a bug in the latest release of Safari, causing previously working pages to stop working. It seems that it can break sites that use some versions of java applets entirely, but is more frustrating on sites like T-PEN where piecemeal failures interrupt expected behaviors without offering fair warnings. In this case, Safari displays the image for transcription without any regions for text entry or functional tools.

In most installations, Safari updates automatically with no simple ability to rollback. The 5.1.5 release (beginning March 26) on Mac and Windows contain this bug. Since the applications update on a staggered schedule, it would be at some point over the following few weeks that the transcription page would stop displaying correctly. This has been the principal reason why it has taken us a while to determine the problem: being able to repeat a problem is essential in diagnosing it.

We are working on some fixes, and we hope in the same way that Apple quickly released 5.1.5 to fix problems with 5.1.4 (released March 12) they will fix this as well.

Chrome and Firefox still behave correctly. If switching browsers is an option, it is the best solution at this time. T-PEN is designed to function in all modern browsers and we are addressing this problem as a priority.

In the interim, this somewhat clunky workaround will restore full functionality, though the process must be repeated on each page.
  1. Load up your page to transcribe;
  2. Click on a tool and immediately press the ESC key;
    • Right after you click on the tool, you should see the bar that splits the screen on the far right - you'll need to hit ESC before the bar fades out again
    • If successful, you will see a split screen with the right side completely blank - the left side will show the correct display
  3. Press ESC again to restore the screen to full size - clicking the tools will now behave correctly.
If you notice other bugs or display issues as you are using T-PEN, please let the team know by logging into T-PEN and clicking on the Contact Us link on the transcription or home pages. Regular bug fixes are explained in periodic release notes; updates to this issue will be posted here as well.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

T-PEN version 2.0

T-PEN reached a milestone this month by releasing version 2.0 at  We've debugged over 600 bugs during the last 18 months and have added numerous features.  For this release, we offer four substantial new features:

1. Users can now upload their own image set for transcriptions.  These sets must be comprised of jpeg files and have to be zipped together.  This kind of project is automatically designated as private.  The manuscript shelf mark is not listed in T-PEN's catalog and the project leader can add a maximum of  five additional users to the project.  The images are hosted on T-PEN under the terms of the Fair Use section of the US Millenium Copyright Act.  To upload your images, select the "Advanced' tab on the landing page and follow the instructions.

2. T-PEN now fully supports crowd-sourcing projects.  These projects can be fully public (so both the project attributes and content can be modified by anyone) or have limited access.  These projects are listed under the "Public Projects" tab on the landing page.  Any project can be designated as public using the options in the Project Management page.  All projects that have been T-PEN use cases at the the Center for Digital Theology will be listed as public projects (content will be readable only).

3. T-PEN has been providing access to support tools for transcribers.  These tools are available on a split screen display. To date we have provided access to various language dictionaries, a dictionary of Latin abbreviations, and the Latin Vulgate Bible.  We know that soon many T-PEN users will want tools for transcribing manuscripts that are not pre-modern Latin.  To that end, T-PEN now permits users to identify a URL for a tool that a user may want to have displayed.  Under the "options" tab on project management, a user can add the name and the URL of the tool and that will be added to the buttons on the Transcription User Interface.   Please note: Users should be aware that this "i-frame" set up does provide full browser functionality.  If you are using a tool which requires authentication in advance (especially if it is via an institutional proxy), we recommend you establish the authentication first in that browser before loading that tool.   You can do this by loading the tool in anther tab and completing the authentication process (login, etc.).  When T-PEN is loaded in the same browser, but different tab, that authenticiation will persist.

4. The final feature is experimental: Glyph matching, a palegraphical analytical tool into T-PEN.  This tool will compare the page you have in the Transcription UI to other pages of that MS.  At present, this tool only compares to pages that are in T-PEN's image cache, and so the entire manuscript will not be part of the comparison process.  As we develop this tool and increase the speed of the comparative work, full page to manuscript comparison will become available.  At present, T-PEN compares glyph to glyph.  Sometimes that will be individual letters, sometimes that will be ligatures or letters written very close together.  Matches are hightlighted in blue. If you click on them, you will see a list of the matches on other pages.  Clicking on any those thumbnail images will take you to the originating page so you can see that glyph in context.  It is our aim that this tool will facilitate analysis of changes in hand in a manuscript and eventually be way to build data sets that demonstrate common hands in two or more manuscripts.  The tool will be heavily developed over the Summer of 2012.