Posts tagged with "tools"

    Introduction to Plain Text Workflows and Sustainable Publishing

    DRAFT

    Disclaimer 1: many of the ideas have been inspired by the work of Alex Gil (@elotroalex) and Denis Tenen (@dennistenen)1 and discussions with the two of them and others at DHI Beirut, THATCamp Beirut, and DHSI.

    Disclaimer 2: I am teaching short workshops on some of the ideas outlined in this post at Digital Humanities Institute - Beirut on 10 March 2017 and at DH Abu Dhabi on 10 April 2017. Basic slides are available here and here.

    Intro

    In the world of (academic) publishing, large aggregators and indexers have turned into and acquired publishing presses and generate obscene profits by charging the public (every tax-payer worldwide) multiple times over. First by charging the predominantly publicly-funded academic for publishing the results of her publicly-funded research and by enforcing a culture of pro bono labour among academic reviewers and editors; second by selling this content to equally predominantly publicly-funded libraries, which then increasingly demand access fees from members of the public, who want to access their collections; and third by offloading the cost of long-term preservation to, again, publicly-funded institutions. This system not only created a hierarchy of academics and institutions in the relatively well-off “West”—two classes divided by their ability to pay for being published and accessing publications (their own and others). It also increasingly prevents anybody outside western academia from accessing cutting-edge research and participating in intellectual discourse.

    1. Tenen, Dennis and Grant Wythoff. “Sustainable Authorship in Plain Text Using Pandoc and Markdown.” 

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    New XSLT stylesheets for calendar conversion on Github

    A couple of months ago a posted a short note on my XSLT stylesheets to convert the various calendars at use in the late Ottoman empire at will. Now, I have improved the functions and added the Ottoman fiscal calendar (mālī, sene-yi māliye) to the brew and uploaded everything under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license to GitHub. Feel free to fork and tinker with the code. Enjoy!

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    XSLT functions for converting calendars

    Recently I came across the necessity of converting Islamic hijrī dates to Gregorian dates in order to automatically harvest data from the Baṣbakanlik Osmanli Arṣivi’s catalogue into my research database. Unfortunately the database I use (the reference manager Sente) is proprietary software that can only deal with Gregorian dates. Thus, I needed to translate a certain string through XSLT in order to produce the correct XML for import into the database. I soon discovered that even though, formally the specifications for the format-date() function in XPath 2.0 include the hijrī calendar (labelled “Islamic”) and even Arabic month names, this specification was never actually implemented. As I could not find any available code on the net, I adopted the javascript conversion between Gregorian, Julian, and Hijri calendars provided by John Walker’s Calendar Converter for XSLT 2.0 and decided to share the functions on GitHub for reuse.

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    Historical Currency Converter

    Conducting historical research, one often encounters odd currencies, measures, and calendars, all of which are bound to space and time. Calender conversion tools can be readily found on the internet (a good example is CalendarHome’s adaptation of Fourmilab’s code), but converters for non-metric currencies and weights are a bit trickier to come by. As I found myself repeatedly computing exchange rates between Ottoman Lira, British Pound Sterling, US Dollars, and French Francs, I wrote a simple javascript and html frontend.

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