Progress Report 2

Overview

Key Accomplishments of the Last Period

  1. The conceptual data model was updated
  2. Information from multiple sources was gathered
  3. A temporary database for data aggregation was created and populated
  4. Part of the data was cleaned up and organized
  5. Sketches of the website’s user interface were drafted
  6. The development of the website was initiated

Upcoming Tasks for the Next Period

  1. Import the formatted data in the production database
  2. Complete the data analysis
  3. Prepare a working demo

Issues

One of the main objectives of our project is to present relatively rich and precise information about Friedrich Nietzsche, his interactions with the world and the literary and philosophical legacy he has left. Achieving high level of completeness and accuracy requires a combination of heterogeneous sources of data, thus introducing additional conceptual complexity. It is the challenge that we have been facing for the past reporting period.

According to the project milestones that we had set, all relevant and necessary data should have been formatted, imported in the database and analyzed. However, the data modelling and organization processes appeared to be not so straightforward as we expected. Many of the resources bring valuable information that is incompatible with the database schema in use and changes to the data model immediately follow. In order to avoid these recurring modifications, we created a temporary database for storing and manipulating heterogeneous data. Thus, in the process of record refinement we also adapt our data model. In addition, conflicts between facts from diverse sources occasionally arise and further research is necessary for their resolutions. Nevertheless, the aggregation of information is almost complete and soon we will be back on track (in accordance with the project milestones).

Major Task Completion

Planned Complete Date Actual Complete Date Milestone
24.03.2013 t.b.a. Complete Data Extraction and Database Population
 07.04.2013 t.b.a. Complete Data Analysis

Details on Accomplishments

Conceptual Model Changes

The updated conceptual data model (version 1.2) for the project is available for download at https://nietzschebiography.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/conceptual_model_v1-2.pdf

As currently the model is often being changed, explanations on it will be given in the next report, until then a final version is expected.

Data Aggregation and Manipulation

So far we have compiled chronologies of Nietzsche’s life and literary works on Nietzsche from several books and websites. To facilitate the clean up and transformation of data, we have used the temporal database, spreadsheets, scripts, macros and Google Refine (a power tool for working with messy data, molding it from one format into another and extending it with web services).

Aside from the biographical information that we are extracting from the sources mentioned in previous posts, we also need geographical information (about countries, populated places and their coordinates). The data that we have obtained is derived from two primary products:

  • MaxMind’s “World Cities” database, which includes 3 174 000 populated places, their population, latitude and longitude. The database is updated about once per year, since the city data does not change very frequently.
  • Geobytes’s GeoWorldMap, which is distributed as a set of three text files. A “Countries” table is used to store a comprehensive list of all the countries in the world; a “Regions” table stores a list of sub-country geographical entities such as states, provinces and territories; and a “Cities” table is a detailed list of cities, related to countries and sub-country regions. We currently do not use the “Regions” data.

Common Website Design Features

  1. The website must be fully compliant with HTML5 and CSS3.
  2. The website should use metadata tags and attributes extensively.
  3. The website design should be simple, use typography and vector graphics rather than bitmap images.
  4. The website should provide a mobile version using media queries technology.
  5. The website should be designed by mobile-first approach.
  6. The website should be touch-friendly.

Basic Website Structure

Relative URL Name
/ Homepage
/bio Life
/bio/{Event.Slug} Life Event Details
/work Work
/work/{MediaItem.Slug} Work Details
/connections Connections
/connection/{Agent.Slug} Connection Details
/map Map
/map/{Location.Slug} Location Details
/sources Sources
/source/{Source.Slug} Source Details

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