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and so to nra, britarch, scotarch and scotmed;

apologies for all the x posting spam.

Iain
 
 
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> Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2010 18:52:33 +0100
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [LOCAL-HISTORY] Improvements to historical gazetteers (Bartholomew, Imperial, Groome) on "A Vision of Britain through Time"
> To: [log in to unmask]
> 
> Ever since it launched in 2004, "A Vision of Britain throgh Time" has included the text of three detailed 19th century descriptive gazetteers:
> 
> * John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales (1872)
> * Frances Groome's The Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1885)
> * John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles (1887)
> 
> Although we draw on the text elsewhere in the site, and especially on the "place" pages that are reached from our main home page, the fullest access is via a specialised search form:
> 
http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/descriptions 
> 
> We have just completed a series of improvements both to the gazetteers and to how this searching works:
> 
> <> We have added several hundred entries from the Imperial Gazetteer that had simply gone missing, so places like Harrogate and Lamport now have the much fuller entries that the Imperial Gazetteer provides, as well as the short entries from Bartholomew.
> 
> <> A great many transcription errors have been corrected -- although many remain in the 92,128 entries and c. 6m. words of text we have. c. 400 entries from Bartholomew that somehow got truncated have been restored.
> 
> <> We have sorted out the layout on many of the poems embedded within entries!
> 
> <> The system of searching was based on our having extracted a "head-word" from the beginning of each entry, but this had relied too heavily on our OCR system identifying which words were in bold face. We have re-extracted all the entry headers, this time placing greater emphasis on identifying where the next part of a stereotypical entry, the "feature type", started. The "headers" we now hold for each entry are often substantially longer than the head-words we held previously.
> 
> <> These headers often contain "OR", or have the parts reversed. The system can now hold multiple place-names for each entry. These will always include the header as a whole, but we have also tried to include the implied variants, so the Imperial entry with the header "DUNMOW (Great)" has three associated place-names: "DUNMOW", "DUNMOW GREAT" and "GREAT DUNMOW".
> 
> <> We have also tried to identify variant names, and especially achaic forms, that are listed within the body of the entry, as with this example for Liverpool (scroll to the bottom):
> 
http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/descriptions/entry_page.jsp?text_id=2121510
> 
> <> Lastly, up to now the names being searched included some punctuation characters, which made them hard to find. The place names we use for searching have now all been "cleaned", which leaves just upper case letters and spaces, and we also clean the names users search for.
> 
> The work is linked to work to improve our "place pages", and in particular to ensure that all possible pages include a substantial descriptive entry. More about that later, but the fullest geographical searching on our site will always be of the descriptive gazetteers, as our "places" are towns and villages while the descriptive gazetteers also cover mountains, rivers, etc. Our pages for the descriptive entries include links to associated "places" and administrative units, so this is a route into the site as a whole.
> 
> Humphrey Southall
 		 	   		  
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