Tuesday 28th January 2003

Up to now we’ve been reading entries for January that I entered some time ago, and it’s now time for me to enter the next batch. So I’d like to know how people feel about the amount of links to People and Places pages. At the moment I create a new page if the 1893 edition has footnotes for an item, if a reader requests a page, or if it seems obvious to me that it might be useful.

Would you like more of them? While I could make every person and place into a link I don’t think this would necessarily be a good idea. We don’t know anything about some of the people and there may be little if anything to say about some of the places. If a lot of these pages have little content I can imagine one might get frustrated with clicking links that often end up with nothing at the end of them.

So, is the current amount of links about right? If you want more, any thoughts on how to judge when a new person or place deserves a page? Thanks for your thoughts.

18 Comments

David Quidnunc   Link to this

Standards for Creating People Pages

Any public person who appears three times or more in the diary should get a people page, I think, especially since we're likely to find something about him or her online.

A quick check in the Latham & Matthews index should be helpful on that score. I think there's an index for the entire diary.

Pepys's relatives who reappear in the diary three times should have pages too, even if we have only scanty information on them, since we can use the trackback feature to look up the last time we saw them.

Even bare-bones information on a single, linked page is useful, because we can find it easily. We know little about Hawley and Shepley, for instance, but at some point I'd like to review what we do know about them (using the trackbacks) and see if I can draw some conclusion about each of them -- maybe even just speculate about what they may be like based on what Pepys says.

Err on the side of having more people pages rather than less, even if we find we're clicking on a page with next to nothing on it. It would be good to have some discretion about it --but if it's easier to create a page for everyone without checking the L&M index, do it to save yourself trouble, Phil.

Mrs. Pierce, for instance, seems interesting with her wild partying and flashy clothing, and if she never appears again for four years, we'd love to be reminded of those past entries when she does come back for a visit.

Celeste   Link to this

I like the way things are going at the moment. Most characters and places appear to have footnotes. Readers are requesting extra footnotes pages if a person or place appears of importance, or if they know of some particular information which will be of interest. This should stop us getting totally confused with links all over every page.

Having said that if creating a footnote for every person and place automatically is easier than waiting for us to request them, then go with the easier option.

oliver   Link to this

It would be wonderful if you could create a page or set of links in which readers could ask questions about events, habits, phrases, etc. that appear in the diary. For instance, just within the page for 28 January, what does it mean that Mr. Walton took 300 l. "by content"? What is/was "breast of mutton"? Was it common for people to decide one morning to go overseas and then leave within a few hours as Mr. Downing seems to have done?

There is so much knowledge out there among your readers that I'm sure such annotated "background" pages would become a treasure in their own right.

oliver   Link to this

Oh! In my previous posting I forgot to add a heartfelt "thank you" for the time and great intelligence you've invested in this website. I read excerpts from the diary years ago and enjoyed them then, but your idea of reading them day by day and of including annotations and comments from the public has made them even more enjoyable.

I'll bet that by the time the project is finished, the world will have a picture of Pepys and the 1660s in England that is more vivid and detailed than was ever thought possible.

Phil   Link to this

I do plan to create some general background pages soon -- I'll be asking for comments on those before long, so hold your horses! :)

But even then I think the best place to ask about individual phrases is on each entry as the answers are more use there than on a page somewhere else. We're bound to repeat ourselves several times over the next few years, however things are arranged.

Kenneth Sutton   Link to this

Thank you for the care you're putting into this work! I appreciate how you are involving the readers as you move forward.

The footnote links are about right for me. I only occasionally use one, but there aren't so many that it disrupts my reading. (And I could always override the different color for links in my browser, if it came to it.)

The annotations, on the other hand, I always read. Like other USians, I return to the previous day's entry to catch up on the annotations. I've also begun using the "recent annotations" link to see if anything new has turned up on entries from previous days.

I agree with others that you should do what is most convenient for you.

Glyn   Link to this

I think you've done a superlative job on this site - and I expect it to win a few awards as it develops. But perhaps more annotations would be a case of providing too much information. Anyway, just how much storage space do you get on this site?

Why not wait six months to see how things develop and then have another think?

If people want background information, then I'd like to nominate 4 books in no particular order.

(1) Volume 10 of the Latham edition is the so-called "Companion" volume and has footnotes about everything.

(2) "Restoration London - Everyday Life in the 1660s" - Liza Picard. Published 2001.

Richard Lathom   Link to this

Sat 1 Jan
Why was the "Rump" parliament so called?

Tue 24 Jan
What was the "late Committee of Safety"
which was ordered to come before Parliament?

Warren Keith Wright   Link to this

Kenneth Sutton speaks not only for me but I'm sure others: the footnotes seem just about right, and the annotations prompt thinking about an entry from every angle. As time goes on we will surely grow more accustomed to Pepys's style and the locutions of his time, and each reader will have favorite recurring characters to report on more fully. Glyn's further readings look excellent, and Tomalin's bio ever harder to resist. ---This is just an excellent site, and one can only salute "Phil" for putting so much work in on it.

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

The amount of footnotes are good for me, but I have a modest proposal about the annotations:

Phil, is it possible (here I'm showing my ignorance of the technology behind blogs) to allow the user to specify the number of "results" they get when they "request" a list of recent annotations? My language in quotes in the previous sentence shows that I realize that's not how the annotations page works now ... rather, it seems to comprise a certain number of annotations, with the most-recent pushing the least-recent from the list. But is it possible to have the user specify how many recent annotations they want to see? I ask because I can foresee times when I won't be able to read the diary for a day or two (horrors! :^) and am afraid I'll miss a useful annotation that someone has posted.

As usual, many thanks for the site. You've turned me into a Pepys junkie, ya bastard!

Phil   Link to this

I'm afraid that's not possible Todd - the list is pre-generated by Movable Type, the tool that handles all the entries and comments. I can make it longer though if people feel it would be more useful.

Movable Type isn't really geared towards handling so many comments, so I'm always looking for new ways to make it easier for everyone to use...

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

'swhat I figured (and feared) ... thanks for the quick response, Phil.

FWIW, I wouldn't mind making the list of recent annotations longer.

Mary   Link to this

Thankyou for this site. I can only concur with everyone else that the current links are brilliant, more would be grand but only if their addition is not too inconvenient, and additional opportunities to annotate general information around the etiquette/environment etc... would be wonderful if possible. I also wouldn't mind knowing more about the mysterious "Lady Wright"...Thanks again, Phil, words can't describe the amazing thing you are doing here...

PHE   Link to this

I suggest a section where discussions on particular subjects can be followed through. Eg. food, politics, fashion, language, science. This will allow insteresting comments to be retained more easily and reduce some of the repetition where the same questions are often asked again some days later. I'm sure its easier said than done and will involve yet more effort.

David Quidnunc   Link to this

Here's a radical idea

Having pages for "Things" as well as People and Places would be extremely useful. I'm bothered by having annotations in the daily entries that we all know will come up again days, weeks or even years from now -- when we will forget what diary entry contained that useful annotation.

I've been thinking about the problem as it applies to words: we get a definition for "handsome" or "gallant" in one diary entry and then we either have to remember it when the word pops up again, or we have to look it up again, or we have to create a file on our computers for our own little Pepys dictionary.

Most of us won't do any of this, of course, so the value of the annotations will be lost to us over time. To me, that's a big loss. The same applies not only to words, but every other annotation of permanent value.

What if we had a "Pepys Dictionary" section alongside the People and Places sections? One page for each letter of the alphabet. When a word is defined in the daily-entry page, anyone could go to the relevant dictionary page and create an annotation there with the word spelled out and simply a link to the daily-entry annotation where the word is defined.

Let's not overload Phil with this -- just leave it open to anyone to provide the entries and links. That spreads out the work. Alternately, some reader could put the definition on the dictionary page and simply provide a link on the diary entry page: "HANDSOME -- I've just put a definition on the H page, here's a link ..." It shouldn't matter one way or the other. And the next time it comes up, someone could provide a link to the word on the dictionary page. Think about all the work (or frustration) we'd avoid.

With one page per letter, we shouldn't have to worry about alphabetizing on each dictionary page -- a little extra scrolling should be no bother.

Now here's a REALLY radical notion: Take this whole dictionary concept and, instead of applying it to just words, apply it to all subjects that don't have their own pages. Call it a "Miscellaneous" section or an "Index" -- again, with a page per letter. Label it as all-volunteer and not comprehensive (so people don't get the wrong idea and start complaining that they can't find something in the "index").

As Phil has the time or inclination, he can create individual pages for subjects that seem particularly useful. And the rest of us get subject links that we can use without having to burden Phil (who is the one-of-a-kind, without-which-not member of this operation whose time and effort obviously needs to be protected).

David Quidnunc   Link to this

On the other hand, I should hold my horses on this idea, as Phil suggested above. Just reread that. Sorry.

sharon kregg   Link to this

your site is great.

out of curiosity have you read the jack aubrey books on navel history by patrick o'brien?

s

Eclipse   Link to this

Thanks i needed this information for a school project.

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