All posts by Peter McCracken

The new content just keeps rolling in

I cannot believe how much additional content we’ve gotten into the database in the last several weeks. Here’s a list of content added since my last post:

As always, lots more will follow soon. And always feel free to let us know if you have titles  you think we should add. Send it to comments (at) shipindex (dot) org.

Can’t keep up with the new content….

It just keeps coming; I think we’ve added content from nearly 200 titles in the past six months or so. As of today, the full database contains “3,316,336 citations to ships in 729 resources”, and I know a lot more is waiting to be loaded. And, I’m planning trips to libraries this weekend, and to the Library of Congress in May, to collect still more.

Here’s what’s been added in the past two weeks:

So, there are good chances to get to the rare and unusual books that haven’t yet been added to the database. Let us know if you know of a title that should be added — comments (at) shipindex (dot) org.

In another data update, we’ve added full-text page links for all of the Navy Records Society volumes that are available through HathiTrust, meaning all pre-1924 volumes. Some links might not work if you’re accessing HathiTrust from a country that has different copyright laws, but hopefully most people will  now have more full-text access from home.

New online content added recently

We’re now moving to adding a bunch of online content. Here’s a list of online (and some print) resources that have been added in the past three weeks:

We also updated an online site that moved; unfortunately, this happens often. We don’t always hear about these URL changes, so if you see something that doesn’t work, please do let us know. And if you know of some other online resources that should be added to ShipIndex.org, so people know they mention specific ships, please let us know at comments (at) shipindex (dot) org.

Another collection of new content

It should be abundantly clear by now that we have a crack team working away on data; we’ve added indexes from hundreds of new titles to the database over the past year. It’s just not stopping, either. The indexes to the following books (and one online resource) have been added to ShipIndex.org since my last listing of content, on December 31:

As always, we welcome suggestions for new content to add, and we’d love to work with publishers who want to ensure that their content is discoverable! Send a note to comments (at) shipindex (dot) org to see how we can work together on this.

Nearly New Year; Lots more Additional Content

 

With a new year comes lots more content. Indexes to the following resources have been added to ShipIndex.org in the past month.

We continue to add primarily monographic content, and I think that each month I say we’ll be posting new online content soon. Well, don’t worry, we will. The great thing about printed content is that it’s not going anywhere. It might take some time to locate, but it’ll be there, which is more than can be said for online content. 

As always, if you have suggestions for content to add, please don’t hesitate to tell me! Leave a comment here, or send an email to comments (at) shipindex (dot) org. 

Wishing you the best for a great 2019!

Another round of new content

I can’t emphasize how excited I am to have so much new monographic (ie, book) content getting added to the ShipIndex database. The proverbial “we” of ShipIndex, which has mostly been “me”, has been enhanced by the addition of several great people, including one who has been doing yeoman’s work in getting files ready to be added to the database. This has been a game-changer, and a reason why we’re adding so many new monographic titles.

An aside: adding book content is really great. When we can find the book in Google Books or Hathi Trust, we add links to it. But when we can’t, it can be frustrating to end users that the content isn’t immediately available online. However — it is available. Just follow the “find in a library” link as one easy way to find out if a library near you owns the book. If they don’t, see if your local library can obtain a copy for you from another library, through Interlibrary Loan. They *want* to get you the book, and most of the time, they don’t charge you at all! (So, be kind, and support your local library! In fact, I’m writing this on #GivingTuesday, so today’s as good a day as any to support your local library!)

Online resources are great; they’re immediately available! Until they’re not. And then they’re gone for good. Books are almost never “gone for good.” Even if you can’t get a copy now, maybe the next time you take a trip to a bigger city, or to a town with a research library, you can check before you go to see if the book you want is available there. (Just repeat the “Find in a library” link, but put in the ZIP code or postal code of the city you’re visiting.) Having a reason to visit a library in a different city is a great thing!

Last month, I went to New York City for a big maritime event. I went a few days early, so I could do a ton of research at the New York Public Library, and it was an absolute blast. It was so much fun to walk around all the tourists (while secretly being one, as well) and go in to the Rose Reading Room to collect books that had been pulled from storage for me. Wow wow wow.

Anyway, back to the content. Here’s a list of titles added since my last update, which was only a few weeks ago:

As you can see, all of these are the start of the alphabet! (We organize them by author name, for the most part.) More to come, soon!

Even more new content!

In August, I posted a bunch of new content added to the database. We’re really on a roll here, and are adding more and more all the time. Here’s a list of titles that have been added since my last posting of new content:

As you can see, this is vaguely focused on the early part of the alphabet (when looking at authors’ names). Lots, lots more is being processed as I type, and I’m headed to the New York Public Library this coming week to gather even more.

If you know of a title whose index you think should be added to ShipIndex.org, please do let me know!

Still more new content!

This time last month I posted a list of several dozen new resources added to the database. I have a bunch more to list today.

The following have been added since I posted that list:

For the Naval Documents collection from the Quasi-War, we did some extra work on the files to ensure that the Captains names are findable in the index, and are connected with the appropriate entry. I’ll add a post soon with more information on how best to find those captains in the database.

We continue moving forward with more content; I plan to go collect more today, in fact. It’ll take some time to get it processed and added,  but it’s all moving along. All of the above, and what I collect today, will be from books, but we’ll also soon be turning to online resources, as well. As always, please let me know about any titles or resources that you think should be added.

Tons of new content; site upgrades

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything to the blog here. It might seem like nothing has been happening, but that’s actually not true. A quick look at the ShipIndex webpage will show that; we have a new, much-improved page that responds to the size of the screen, meaning it works as well on a smartphone as it does on a laptop or a desktop.

Getting that done was a pretty big project, and it took a long time. I’m thrilled that it’s finally done. We may spot a thing or two to change, but for the time being I think we’re pretty happy with how it has turned out. A friend and colleague took over the process of carrying the project across the finish line, and he did a great job on that.

Another change has been to bring on someone to pick up the data work that I hadn’t been able to get to. I love doing that stuff, but just knew it wasn’t going to happen any time soon, and there was (and remains) a ton of work to be done there. And if we’re not adding content to the database, then we’re not adding much value. So our new data expert is working through backfiles as quickly as possible, and will soon be moving on to new files and to websites, as well. We have been working through that backlog of content that was waiting to be finished and loaded into the database, and we’ve been loading a ton of it.

Here’s a list of content that has been added in the past few weeks:

That’s a lot of new content! We also updated links to some online resource, where the webpage had totally changed its structure and didn’t have updated links, and improved some others, as well.

Each new resource has a “new” note on it, on our Resources page. If you’re following a particular ship name, then  you’ll get an email when new content is added for that ship name. Remember, you don’t need to be an active subscriber to get those emails. You need an account (because we need to know how to contact you), but that’s it. If you see a new citation that looks interesting, you can either subscribe to access the new content, or access it through your local library, if they offer access.

New content will keep being added over the next few weeks, and we have a plan for collecting even more monographic content at a major research university, then at New York Public Library, then at the Library of Congress, and then beyond. If there’s a title you think we should add, please do let me know, either here, or by email to comments (at) shipindex (dot) org!

 

 

Updates to online resources, especially Mystic Seaport resources

A few weeks ago I went through all of the online resources in ShipIndex.org, to see if they all worked. It’s not uncommon for interfaces and search structures to change, and the result is that URLs slightly change. Any change to a URL, however slight, will likely cause the link to break, however, so I wanted to review all of them, and fix the ones that I could.

In one instance, I thought that the resource had disappeared completely, but I got a very helpful reply from the folks running the site, I learned of the new URL structure, and was easily able to update those links. In another instance, I thought a different resource was gone for good, but after a bunch of searching was able to find it, and figure out an update. Some still need attention, and I’m still working on those.

Yesterday, however, I learned that some of the oldest links in the database, to Ship Registers and other resources at Mystic Seaport, no longer work. These worked when I checked two or three weeks ago, and have worked since they were loaded into the ShipIndex.org database in 2009, but not today.

The Research collection at Mystic Seaport has gotten an online overhaul, and the new online resources are in a different interface. While some like the new interface, and the old one certainly did need an update, it appears that we can no longer link directly to an entry for a ship. I’m checking with the staff at the library to see if that is, in fact, the case, but if so, I’ll have to take out about a million direct links to these ships. I’ll keep the ships in the ShipIndex database, because I can still say with certainty that these ships are mentioned in the resources at Mystic, but I won’t be able to take a user directly to the entries any more.

This has happened with other resources in the past, most notably (in my mind) the Ellis Island Ship Database. I find it frustrating, because I like providing direct links, and I think they’re easier for people to use and cite, but I guess it was done for a reason. In the past, one could save a URL, and use that to link directly to the resource. Now, you’ll need to repeat the search every time you want to get to that specific resource, and your citation will need to describe how to do the search, rather than just include the link to the page in question.

 

If I’m able to update these links to direct links at some point, I’ll certainly do so, but I doubt that’ll be possible.