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RolandHT – Help

About and Copyright

RolandHT is an electronic project forming part of my doctoral dissertation in Special Graduate Studies (Humanities Computing) at Brown University. The website was created by myself, Vika Zafrin, and Ethan Fremen (see below). The primary-source citations, semantic encoding and theoretical essays are mine. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Compatibility Issues

This site is a collaboration with Ethan Fremen. It can be viewed with any XSLT-aware browser, such as Firefox or Safari or Opera. Using Mozilla's built-in XSLT engine made the design much easier; we figured, if we had to constrain you to a browser, a free, open-source one is as benign as it gets. If you know of other software with which the work can be viewed, please let me know both the browser and the operating system(s) on which you've used it.

Major Features

The main web interface of RolandHT consists of four major areas (see image below). At the top (area 1) are links to bibliography and appendices, as well as a "reset" link at top right that reloads the page, showing all excerpt titles and marking all of them unread. Under the project title are links to theoretical essays and a help file. The rest of the browser window is divided into three columns: from left to right, the excerpt list (area 2); the list of characters, imagery and themes present in a displayed excerpt (area 3); and the text and/or multimedia links of the excerpt itself (area 4). Clicking on the (more...) link beside any excerpt title in area 2 reveals contextual information for that excerpt; the link then changes to (less...) and can be used to hide the context.

Placing the mouse over a theme in area 3 highlights all occurrences of that element in the excerpt. Clicking on the theme modifies the excerpt list (area 2) to show only those excerpts in which the theme occurs. The same functions are available for imagery and characters.

The excerpt pane may contain any of the following three study aids: information on the work as a whole (); in-text notes (); and/or words with available translations (any underlined words). Clicking on an information icon or a quill icon reveals notes on the work as a whole or an in-text note, respectively. The notes appear in a box that may be closed by clicking on the black × in the bottom right-hand corner. Hovering the mouse over an underlined word, usually in a Middle English text, reveals a small box with the translation in it.

For an example of all three study aids, please find the excerpt named "Missionary Work."

There Is No Search Engine

Arbitrary string-based and/or semantic queries are not yet supported. Clicking on encoded themes, characters or imagery performs a "canned query," which reduces the list of excerpts to those in which the given element occurs.

Semantic search engines of the kind RolandHT would need are already available, and intended to be customized for the needs of specific projects. One notable such tool is PhiloLogic. I haven't had time to play with it, though. Would you like to help? Or to use this project as the test bed for another robust semantic search engine? By all means, please contact me.

RolandHT Is Evolving

My dissertation was filed in May 2007. At that time online and archived versions of this site were identical. However, the plan was always to keep working on it, to the extent that time and resources allow. Individual pages will reflect the date on which they were last updated. If you don't see a last-modified date at a bottom of a page, please assume May 2007.

Still Have Questions?

If you have any questions or concerns about this project, be they logistical or content-related, please email me. I would love to hear from you.
Last modified on 30 December 2009.