Monday, October 29, 2012

From graphs to applications

In 2012, the quantity of material collected by the HMT project has grown rapidly.  To cope with this, we have been developing an automated system to identify the relations among all citable objects in the HMT data archive (texts, images, artifacts like manuscript pages, to name a few).   In mathematical terms, these relations form a graph.

In the HMT graph, all nodes are identified by URN values (CTS URNs for texts, or CITE URNs for other kinds of objects).  This simple, consistent reference format made it easy for us to develop a network service  for working with the HMT graph:  supply the service with a URN value, and the service finds all links to that URN.

This is an important development for the long-term development of our digital multitext, and will certainly be the subject of future blog posts.  For today, I simply want to announce a test site with end-user applications built on the graph service.

Like our other services for retrieving HMT data, the graph service replies with a simple XML format;  as in our other service implementations, we can include XSLT stylesheets to format these graph descriptions as web pages for human readers.
We have written three sets of stylesheets that turn the graph data into three quite distinct applications:

  • a facsimile browser, for reading diplomatic edition of texts alongside documentary images
  • a multitext reader, for reading multiple versions of a single text
  • a graph navigator, for exploring links in the HMT project graph

You'll find test versions of all three of these apps at our new HMT Apps test page:

If you're curious about how the graph service works, try viewing the XML source of one of the application's web pages.  If you just want to try out an app, feel free.  Expect that the test versions on this site will evolve rapidly over the next several months.  We'll post announcements on this blog when we install more static release versions elsewhere.

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