Progress Report 1

Overview

Key Accomplishments of the Last Period

  1. Technologies to be used were chosen
  2. Project management methodology and tools were chosen
  3. Data sources were collected
  4. Database schema’s first draft was created
  5. Digital biography’s hosting was established

Upcoming Tasks for the Next Period

  1. Finalize the database schema
  2. Create and populate the database
  3. Perform data analysis
  4. Design biographical website’s user interface
  5. Configure the website to use the database
  6. Start development of the website

Issues

None at the moment.

Major Task Completion

Planned Complete Date Actual Complete Date Milestone
20.02.2013 20.02.2013 Project Start
24.02.2013 01.03.2013 Data Collection — Complete Source Aggregation
10.03.2013 10.03.2013 Data Collection — Complete Database Model Design
24.03.2013 t.b.a. Data Collection — Complete Data Extraction and Database Population

Details on Accomplishments

Chosen technologies

Because the digital biography is going to be a website, we needed to choose web application development technologies. At first we had some problems to find intersections in our technological knowledge, but in the end we agreed on the following:

DBMS: MySQL
Website Platform: ASP.NET MVC
DAL: Entity Framework (ORM)

Project Management

It is a good practice to choose a methodology for any software development in teams. We chose to use Scrum, an agile development methodology, together with Team Foundation Service, a Microsoft’s free tool for assisting software development project management and a version control system.

Collected Data Sources

The primary sources that we will use are:

  • The Nietzsche Channel
  • Nietzsche Circle
  • Friedrich Nietzsche – Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  • Friedrich Nietzsche. A Philosophical Biography, Julian Young, Wake Forest University, North Carolina
  • Nietzsche: Life as Literature, Alexander Nehamas, Cambridge, Harvard University
    Press, 1985
  • Nietzsche: A Critical Life, Ronald Hayman, New York: Oxford University Press, 1980
  • Introductions to Nietzsche, Robert Pippin, Cambridge University Press, 2012
  • Nietzsche’s Library, Rainer J. Hanshe
  • The Neurological Illness of Friedrich Nietzsche, D. Hemelsoet, K. Hemelsoet and D. Devreese, 2008, N° 1 (Vol. 108/1) p.9-16, Acta Neurologica Belgica

Project Database Schema

The core of the conceptual database model for the “Nietzsche: A Digital Biography” project is based on the BIO vocabulary – a semantic model for describing biographical information about people.

According to it a person’s life may be well depicted as a series of interconnected major events, to which additional details and relevant information can be attached. The model can be considered as person-centric rather than neutral. For instance, the Employment event puts the individual being employed as the principal agent in the event rather than the employer.

Biography Vocabulary Core Classes

The BIO vocabulary defines and describes several core classes and properties that can be used to create a relatively complete story of a person’s life and his or her interactions with other individuals, organizations (institutions) and the surrounding environment. We incorporated their underlying concepts for the design of our database. For example, events limit intervals of time (timespans) that can be associated with particular long-term or short-term relationships between individuals and groups of people (or organisations). Various types of life events are available as the obvious Birth, Education, Marriage and Death. In addition, a number of obscure and subtle events such as Baptism, Naturalisation, Imprisonment and Inauguration have been added. The included events so far do not cover the whole spectrum of events associated with biographical material in its entirety, and they will be further expanded during the data extraction and population process.

As the semantic model does not currently provide a complete representation of the relationship segment of a biography, we developed a Relationship classification hierarchy, which incorporates several types of relationship such as family and marital relationships, and professional collaborations.

The conceptual data model for the project is available for download at https://nietzschebiography.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conceptual_model.pdf

Project Hosting

Since we chose to use ASP.NET as the website platform, we needed a suitable hosting provider for it. A natural choice was Windows Azure, a Microsoft’s cloud-computing platform which offers free hosting for small websites. An advantage of this hosting is that it integrates with the Team Foundation Service’s version control system and downloads all changes automatically.

The address of our digital biography website is: http://nietzsche.azurewebsites.net

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