Oh, man. I’m so far behind in updating the world on what ShipIndex.org is up to. A few important points:
New content. I uploaded several files today. So far, they’ve included:
- Torrington, George Byng, Viscount, John Byng, Brian Tunstall. The Byng Papers: Selected from the Letters and Papers of Admiral Sir George Byng, First Viscount Torrington, and of his Son, Admiral the Hon. John Byng, Vol. 1 (Navy Records Society, Vol. 67). London: Navy Records Society, 1930.
- Sandwich, John Montagu, Earl of. The Private Papers of John, Earl of Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty, 1771-1782, Vol. 1 (Navy Records Society, Vol. 69). London: Navy Records Society, 1932.
- Lenton, H T. British & Empire Warships of the Second World War. 1998: Greenhill Books, London.
The first fills a brief gap; I had already imported volumes 2 and 3, but had had a problem with volume 1, which I’ve since fixed. The last resource, H. T. Lenton’s volume, is a really big, important one. It’s got just over 23,000 citations in it. Many of these are for unnamed vessels, such as Landing Crafts, with names like “LCM.21” or “LCM.234”. I think this is important content for those doing research on these rarely-known vessels. I wrote a lot about the processing I did on this one on the resource’s information page here.
I’m very pleased to get this one imported; it adds immeasurably to the World War II content for those doing in-depth research into naval movements during the war.
With these additions, we’re now just 24 citations short of 1,325,000 citations. Perhaps I’ll find a small set to add some time today.
Past Conference. Two weeks ago (man, time flies!), we went to Salt Lake City for the National Genealogical Society conference. That was a great event, and we had a super time talking with genealogists and learning how we can improve the product we provide for them. We also had a fine time talking with folks from other companies who we can partner with, to the benefit of all involved.
There’s so much to do as a followup on that, and we’re working away on it. That’s a good problem to have, but wow, what a pile of work on our plates. On top of all of that, I’m still working on adding content, and Mike is plugging away at enhancements and new features. Both of us are also working on some neat possible partnerships, plus adding institutional subscribers here and there.
Ship Normalization. Speaking of new enhancements, Mike has built a really valuable new tool that will have a huge impact on a lot of the data that we have from a few major resources. One drawback of projects where a print resource (especially a 19th century one) is digitized and put online is that the print-specific space-saving conventions are applied to an online environment. For example, the schooner Abbot Lawrence is represented in different volumes as “Abbot L’wr’nce”, “Abbott Law’nce”, “Abbott Lawr’nce”, and (obviously) “Abbot Lawrence”. All of them mean describe the same vessel, and in a print volume, that’s easily discerned. But online, the computer doesn’t know that when you search for “Abbott Lawrence,” you’d also like to see the other variations above. That is, unless you have Mike on your side, who has created a tool so that we can bring them all together (that is, ‘normalize’ them). And that’s what we’re doing. The process is quick and accurate, though there are enough entries that it’ll take quite a while.
But, we’re doing it, and we’re making all those other entries available, despite the proliferation of apostrophes.
Next Conference. Finally, I’m headed to a conference at Mystic Seaport tomorrow – it’s a joint conference for a number of organizations, including the Council of American Maritime Museums, the North American Society for Oceanic History, the Steamship Historical Society of America, the National Maritime Historical Society, and the Society for Nautical Research. What a group!
I’m looking forward to telling folks there about ShipIndex.org, and I hope I won’t run out of brochures. If you’re going, and would like to get together at some point, please drop me a line.