Monday, April 28, 2008

New titles published today

These books have been made available on MEMSO or for purchase as downloads/CD-ROMs during the week of 28 April 2008: (see for full details)
    Calendar of State Papers, Venice, volume 20 (1626-1628)
    Calendar of State Papers, Ireland, volume 23 (Adventurers for Land in Ireland, 1642-1659)
    Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward III, 1360-1364
    Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward III, 1364-1368
    Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward III, 1369-1374
    Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward III, 1374-1377
    Calendar of Close Rolls, Richard II, 1377-1381
    Calendar of Close Rolls, Richard II, 1389-1392
    John Strype's Ecclesiastical Memorials, Edward VI, volume 2 parts 1 & 2
    John Strype's Ecclesiastical Memorials, Mary I, volume 3 parts 1 & 2
    Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII, 2nd edition, volume 1 part 1 (1509-1513)
Coming Soon:
    Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII, 2nd edition, volume 1 parts 2 & 3
    Thomas Duffus Hardy ed., Rotuli Chartarum, volume 1 part 1 (1199-1216), and Rotuli Litterarum Patentium, volume 1.1 (1201-1216)
    Calendar of Close Rolls, Richard II
    Calendar of the Patent Rolls, Elizabeth I
    And more from the Rolls Series including Memorials of Henry the Fifth King of England, Memorials of King Henry VII,Munimenta Gildhallae Londoniensis,Historia Monasterii S. Augustini Cantuariensis and Chronica Johannis de Oxenedes...

Monday, April 14, 2008

MEMSO 2.6 launched

Last week we launched the latest version of Medieval and Early Modern Sources Online, or version 2.6.

Some new features:
'Live search' - This is a great feature for searching alternate spellings of words - especially place names and personal names, and also provides a way around the inevitable scanning errors that digital searching creates. Typing just the first few letters of a word will now bring up a list of suggestions that you might like to select, which changes dynamically as you type. See the example to the left, where a list of places in Scotland that begin with 'Auchter' are listed. Note how the list includes eight alternate spellings of the Scottish town Auchterarder in Perthshire.

Toolkit: We've integrated search boxes into MEMSO that will take you to the UK version of Google Maps, The Oxford English Dictionary(OED), and the Dictionary of the Scottish Language (DSL). Google maps provides a good starting point for locating placenames within MEMSO, although we'd rather be using the Ordnance Survey which is much better for historical research. At present, unfortunately, their website does not work well enough for us to integrate it even though they make all their maps available for online searching. The specialist language used in our historical sources is always going to make having a good dictionary at hand useful, and subscribers to OED have a fantastic version available. DSL is a similarly brilliant use of the web for a reference work, bringing together the research from the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue and the Scottish National Dictionary. It's well worth a look even if your research is not primarily in the realm of Scottish history, especially as their is overlap between Scots and the dialects of northern England.

We'll be adding new and more advanced tools for users in time, which we hope will integrate (or mashup) other sites' data with MEMSO's. Keep an eye out for tools for language experts, such as concordances and word frequency tools.

The first part of a user preferences system was launched. At present it only controls our tooltips, which help new users to get the most from the site. Over the next month or so we'll be adding a lot of new features here, enabling users to save 'favourite' books, and bookmark their place within a book.

Permalinks. We've added permalinks to every page now, so you can use the URL directly for citation purposes, or to save you place in your browser.

New login system. For users that use usernames and passwords to login, you'll notice that things just got prettier.

We've also made the placing of the main search more logical, in a drop down box, and likewise adjusted the 'search within this book' option.

There's always room for improvement, so all comments are very welcome.

Why the version numbers?

For those that wonder why we use version numbers, it's to highlight the fact that MEMSO is now in all senses a 'web application' rather than a 'web page', with incremental changes happening every month or two, as well as the weekly additions of new books. In other words, it helps to think of MEMSO more like a program such as Microsoft Word or Excel, where the program provides many advanced features for working with a particular type of data.

That creates some challenges for both us and the user. The danger we run is of overloading users with a complicated interface, and hiding the most heavily used features behind a deluge of useful but less popular material. We therefore always encourage as much feedback as possible about MEMSO, so we can make it work as well as possible. You can send feedback through out website at, or post a message here.

Why we've launched a blog

Why does TannerRitchie Publishing need a blog? Well partly we like playing with web toys, but mainly because there isn't always enough room to explain on our various websites about new features, products and things that are in the pipeline. We hope we'll be able to give some more information here about what is going on behind the scenes with the developers, and also elicit some feedback about our websites, new features and books, and more ...