Category: Documentation


Permalink 11:20:04 am, by mholmes, 35 words, 290 views   English (CA)
Categories: Activity log, Documentation; Mins. worked: 20

Script for image upload

I usually do image uploads manually on home1t at the command line, but it's pretty mechanical so I scripted it and tested the script successfully with co_60_17 this morning. It's called


Permalink 09:10:19 am, by mholmes, 69 words, 419 views   English (CA)
Categories: Activity log, Documentation; Mins. worked: 60

Stats for this round of funding

Generated these stats for CP's report on this round's grant funding:

Images processed so far this round for 1861:

CO 60:10, 60:11, 10:12
CO 305:17, 305:18
RG7 G8C:21

for a total of 4369 images, at 3 sizes = 13107.

1317 links to page-images have been added to the 404 documents for 1861.

According to my calculations, so far in 1861, 7150 names of people, places, and vessels have been linked:

5252 people
  65 vessels
1833 places 

KSW will do some calculations for the next application, for 1862.


Permalink 02:21:36 pm, by kim, 119 words, 378 views   English (CA)
Categories: Documentation; Mins. worked: 0

"Secret" document type removed

We discovered that one of the old scripts we used to convert the documents ran amok a little and added a false "documentType" value of "Secret." Liekly becasue the script assumed that "Secretary" counted as "Secret"!

We removed <idno type="documentType">Secret</idno> from 1,862 files. Revision number prior to this mass-fix: 990. First revision number with ONLY this fix: 991.

Important: there are actually 6 "Secret" files. These documents have <head> elements containing "Secret" but not containing "Secretary":

  • B61023SP.scx
  • B67067SC.scx
  • B67128AS.scx
  • B68058SC.scx
  • B697061A.scx
  • V61025SC.scx

We have added the <idno type="documentType">Secret</idno> to these files, and this revision number 992.

Permalink 08:45:47 am, by mholmes, 46 words, 495 views   English (CA)
Categories: Activity log, Announcements, Documentation; Mins. worked: 15

Colonial Despatches: Encoding guidelines document available

After some discussion and a request from a user, we've decided to make our encoding guidelines document available on the site. It is, of course, in a state of continuous evolution, so we'll refresh the PDF periodically. A link has been added to the Development page.


Permalink 03:19:01 pm, by kim, 45 words, 416 views   English (CA)
Categories: Documentation; Mins. worked: 0

Duplicate files in 1861

We will need to produce duplicates for some of the files in the 1861 collection, specifically, for documents that appear as letter-book copies in 398/1 and as originals in the RG7 G8C 9 collection.

We will handle this process as we have done before in previous collections.


Permalink 11:05:05 am, by mholmes, 194 words, 398 views   English (CA)
Categories: Activity log, Documentation; Mins. worked: 60

Adding maps to the site

JT provided two new maps for the gallery, so I've added those. I had to refresh myself on the procedure for doing this, so I'll detail it here:

  • Extract the bitmaps from the PDFs (if that's the format they come in) using pdfimages -j [pdffile] [outputprefix].
  • Create meaningful filenames based on repo, id numbers, and year.
  • Copy the full-sized originals into the correct year in [coldesp]/maps] on local drive. These will just be backed up locally.
  • Create a quarter-sized "large" image (max width 5000) in maps_lg.
  • Create a 1000px-wide version in maps_1000.
  • Create a 200px-wide version in maps_200.
  • Create a 100px-wide version in maps_thumb.
  • Create an XML file with the same name as the image file, and a matching @xml:id. It's simplest to model this on an existing file. Save it in xml/maps.
  • Fill out the metadata, and point the facsimile graphic at the right file name, with the right dimensions.
  • Add the XML file to SVN and commit it.
  • Upload the images to home1t, and the XML file into the db.
  • Test to make sure the map shows up in the gallery, and works properly on the site.


Permalink 11:19:13 am, by kim, 214 words, 455 views   English (CA)
Categories: Activity log, Documentation; Mins. worked: 25

Duplicate documents across collections

This concerns documents that appear in both letter-book and original form, and how to handle this crossover.

For example, we found a dozen or so documents in 1859 that are part of the 398/1 (BC series) and RG7G8C (VI series) collections, respectively. We decided that it was best to show both, but alert the reader to the copy or original, from each respective document.

So, in the RG7G8C version of this file, we added this note:

<note xml:id="B597018_1">Please note that this document exists as a <ref type="doc" cRef="V597018.scx">letter-book copy</ref>, as part of the British Columbia collection.</note>

And in this document, the 398/1 version, we added this note:

<note xml:id="V597011_1">The original form of this correspondence <ref type="doc" cRef="B597011.scx">can be viewed here</ref>. Please note that the original was marked initially as part of the Vancouver Island collection, and changed thereafter, presumably after receipt, to the British Columbia collection.</note>

For now, we have worked through most of the 1859 collection for duplicates. We will have to check in the CO410 collection for the same issue, and do the same for all applicable years.


Permalink 11:01:19 am, by kim, 86 words, 452 views   English (CA)
Categories: Documentation; Mins. worked: 0

How we handle incomplete entries for places, people, and vessels

A detailed write-up of the information below has been added to the Guidelines document. For now, the following examples, where the attributes are emphasized, should suffice:

  • For places: <placeName type="incomplete">Point Aitch Bee Cee</placeName>
  • For people:<persName type="incomplete"> <surname>Andrews</surname>, <forename> J.</forename><forename> A.</forename></persName>
  • For vessels: <name subtype="incomplete" type="vessel" key="archer">Archer</name>


Permalink 11:43:44 am, by kim, 134 words, 496 views   English (CA)
Categories: Documentation; Mins. worked: 0

A note on the Peripheral Vessels file

A "peripheral_vessels.xml" file was created to house vessels mentioned in files other than the despatches. For example, in Captain Cook's biography, we might mention his ship, Discovery, which does not appear in the despatches, at least not in the content transcribed currently.

As we discussed as a team, it seems odd that the online reader should encounter some vessels tagged and others not. After all, readers do not know which vessels occur in the letters and which do not. The peripheral-vessels file solves cures this potential for confusion.

Lastly, should a vessel that appears in the peripheral-vessels file one day be discovered elsewhere in the future, say, if the enclosures are eventually transcribed, then we would move the respective vessel entry over to the "vessels.xml" file, a simple copy/paste operation.


Permalink 01:25:01 pm, by kim, 97 words, 438 views   English (CA)
Categories: Documentation; Mins. worked: 0

SVN tricks and tips

This page will list our SVN conundrums and how we solved them! And, should this page miss something, check this website.

  • When we need to compare, that is, find the difference between two versions of the same file, or files, I suppose.Use this:
    svn diff -r [version number]:[version number]
    As in this example:
    svn diff -r 460:481 B60001.xml
    This was used to look at two versions of the same file: B60001.xml from version 460 and version 481. The SVN report details, with little plus and minus signs, to indicate lies and content added or removed, respectively.

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Colonial Despatches

The Colonial Despatches is an XML database project which is creating a digital archive containing the original correspondence between the British Colonial Office and the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia. The project lives at, and the web application runs on the Pear dev Tomcat. The XML data is managed in SVN at


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