News about this site and other Pepys-related events.


More background reading pages?

Friday 7th February 2003

Several people have suggested something I’ve been thinking about for a while: general pages for background information in addition to the People and Places pages. Given the amount of general information that is posted to diary entries that will be of use again in the future it seems an extremely sensible idea. It should help people who are new to the site find out common information without it having to be repeated too often (although we should accept this will happen nevertheless!).

There are two questions however: What pages should there be? And what should be the policy on annotating the pages? To address these in order…

Continue reading…


More Pepys Diary press

Friday 7th February 2003

There was a bit about the site in the issue of Web User that just left the UK newsstands; I didn’t read it, so I’m not sure what it said. I’ll also be interviewed by Valerie Richardson on WPKN in Bridgeport, Connecticut at around 10.30am local time today.


New Recent Annotations page format

Tuesday 4th February 2003

I’ve been working on improving the Recent Annotations page format, as it was rather unwieldy. I’ve now set it so that rather than listing the last 30 annotations chronologically, it lists the last 10 entries ordered by whichever has the most recent annotations. I hope that makes sense! There didn’t seem much point in the previous listing where most of the comments were on the current diary entry. This way, it’s easier to keep an eye on new annotations appearing on older diary entries.

I’ve also worked out how to include the start of each annotation, which makes it a bit more interesting. I’ve changed the recent People/Places annotations list to the same format too (I’m trying to split this into two separate lists but haven’t worked out how yet). I hope you feel this is an improvement; let me know!



What to do about plot spoilers...

Saturday 1st February 2003

David Quidnunc has suggested we should discuss a general policy on plot spoilers in annotations. Sometimes it seems necessary to divulge something that happens in the “future” to explain a point, but given that most of us don’t know what’s coming up for Pepys this might spoil any suspense. He says:

Continue reading…


New York Times article on weblogs and Pepys

Saturday 1st February 2003

The New York Times has an article which is mostly about Pepys, this site and comparing weblogs in general to Pepys’ style. Be a bit careful though; some huge interactive GE advert on the page locked my browser up for several minutes until I could get Back off the page (using Mozilla on Mac OS X); I resorted to Lynx. (Thanks Gerry.)



More footnote pages?

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.


Question and Answer with Claire Tomalin

Saturday 25th January 2003

The Guardian has a Question and Answer with Claire Tomalin, the author nominated for a Whitbread Award for her Pepys biography. Strangely, the page doesn’t say when Tomalin will be fulfilling the Answering part of the deal, so you’d better rush over and ask your Questions now. Unfortunately you need to log in or register before you can submit questions, but don’t let that put you off; follow the “log in” link on the page to register. (Thanks for the tip mum!)


Local press about the site

Saturday 25th January 2003

The local newspaper from where I grew up has published a short piece about the site. The Witham and Braintree Times isn’t online in any useful form so here’s the article for your entertainment and my embarrassment:

Continue reading…




HTML changes... CSS guru needed

Monday 20th January 2003

Please excuse a technical note… I made a few tweaks to the site today to try and handle a few glitches that had been pointed out to me. The basic font size had been measured in pixels, something I’d never done on a site before. I now remember why I hadn’t done this: Internet Explorer on Windows doesn’t allow the user to resize a page’s text if its size has been set in pixels. So it’s now set in ems. This may make the default text size look larger or smaller for you — if it’s completely unreadable let me know your browser and operating system.

I’ve also tidied things up a bit for those using versions of Netscape 4.x. It’s not pretty, but at least it’s readable! One problem though… I’ve managed to make the form for adding Annotations appear, but it still doesn’t work. The div below the textarea is mostly being displayed behind the textarea, rather than below it. This hides some text and on the Preview page the buttons don’t work. If you know CSS and can work out how to shift the text following the textarea down, do let me know! I was using Netscape 4.7 on Windows XP.



Nice words about the site

Monday 20th January 2003

Among many weblog entries about this site over the past few weeks, this one by Greg Elin is perhaps the most enthusiastic. Pointing this out might seem like I’m blowing my own trumpet, but that’s not my intention… the feature Elin raves most about is the annotations which, with a handful of exceptions, are not my work. The point is it’s the willingness of you to research and post useful information and links that makes this site, and the rest of the internet, quite so interesting. I was able to take some free text (from Project Gutenberg), publish it using free technology (such as PHP and Movable Type) and enable people to share knowledge. This is what it’s all about.


Pages for Hawly and Will's

Saturday 18th January 2003

I created new pages for Hawly (an employee of George Downing along with Pepys) and Will’s (Pepys’ favourite drinking house). These seemed to be cropping up a lot so it made sense to stop any confusion and give them separate pages. If you have other nominations for their own pages, let me know.




Want more people/place footnotes?

Monday 13th January 2003

In an annotation I’ve now lost (sorry), someone asked for more links to pages for people and places other than those that already have footnotes in the 1893 text, so that readers can add annotations. This is something I’ve considered, because the Victorian footnotes are somewhat erratic. However, if I added such links for every person and place mentioned, I’d be worried there would be too many extra pages for incidental characters about whom we will never have anything to say. That said, if you have a desire to annotate a character or place that doesn’t currently have a footnote page, simply email me with the name and the entry in which they’re mentioned. I recently set up pages for Pepys’ wife and maid after just such a request, and it’s not a problem.


Should entries display the weekday?

Monday 13th January 2003

A few people (such as in these annotations) have asked that diary entries display the day of the week. The reason I haven’t done this before is because I’m attempting to keep the diary content as close to the original as the web format (and the translations through Victorian editors and Project Gutenberg’s processes) allow. Pepys’ diaries included the month and year at the head of a page and each entry was marked with just the date. Occasionally he seems to have noted Sundays, but not always.

So, the question is, do I include weekdays on each entry, and if so how? Feel free to discuss this below…