Friday 24th September 2004

Kal Ahmed has been busy creating topic map of events in Pepys’ Diary. What is it? Kal takes the events of each day and transforms them into XML, a format that can be easily interpreted by computer programs. From this he’s generated web pages that, for example, show you when Sam sent and received letters, what plays have been mentioned, or what happened when he journeyed from Brampton to Hatfield.

It’s all quite complex and bewildering, but in a good way! There’s a lot of information to browse through and get lost in, and while it can be confusing its existence means it will be easier for others to write programs that do interesting things with this data. There is more explanation about the project, and I’m sure Kal would love to hear from you if you have any suggestions or want to offer assistance. Currently the data goes back to the end of June 1661.

3 Comments

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

Fantastic! I love it as much for the technology and the potential (as
Phil says, XML is a universal language that can be leveraged in many
ways) as for the titles of the topics.

For example ... Get your kids' book titles here!
-- Samuel takes a singing lesson
-- Samuel buys new boots
-- Samuel gets a trim
-- Samuel chats with a Quaker

Or adult titles!
-- Samuel and Monsieur d'Esquier meet a Mrs Clifford
-- Doll, the new chamber maid, visits the Pepys
-- Samuel reads 'Hookers Ecclesiastical Polity'
etc...

-Todd

Jesse   Link to this

Quite an effort!

It would be fascinating to see - for some given day, or an out of town journey - an actual map with all the hither and thithers traced out, complete with timeline. Now a major part's being done.

Kal   Link to this

Adding physical location information to the topic map is definitely a thing I want to do. One of the nice things about this technology is that it is simple to "retrofit" new features like that.

I'm also planning to add a few more "smart" features to the HTML output to show things like "All events taking place in London" which is the same as saying "All events taking place in London and in any area or building that is part of London".

At the moment, I'm updating the HTML output on a monthly basis - the update with September's content added will go up sometime over the next couple of days...

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