Augmented Notes Accepts MEI!

First, happy Day of DH!  For those of you who are new to this idea, it’s a day when many digital humanists document every detail about their life that day to give everyone a sense of what it’s like to be a DHer.  I decided not to sign up for it this year, but I still think it’s a great idea.  You can follow the twitter hashtag #DayofDH to see what everyone else is up to and to better understand what digital humanities really is.
In other news, last Wednesday at noon, I gave a talk on Songs of the Victorians and Augmented Notes for the Scholars’ Lab: it was a great experience and I got lots of helpful comments and positive feedback. Thanks to all of you who were able to attend!  The podcast should be available by April 19th, and once it is, I’ll post it (or a link to it) here along with the slides from my talk.
Also, I just found out that a post I wrote for the The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s blog ProfHacker will be online tomorrow morning at 8am:  I wrote about the launch of Songs of the Victorians and about the difficulty of navigating “Browser hell” (the compatibility issues that result from designing for multiple browsers) and how a tool called BrowserStack can help.  I’ll include a link to the post here on my blog once it goes live.
The biggest development news is that Augmented Notes now accepts MEI!!   For those of you who don’t know, MEI is a type of xml for music, and it’s a really great way to encode music in a scholarly format.  It was developed by Perry Roland in the music library at the University of Virginia.  Some of you may be more familiar with MusicXML, another xml markup for music, but it’s used mainly for formatting music so it can be rendered properly, which is why it’s mainly used in such music composition programs as Sibelius and Finale.  MEI, unlike MusicXML, is designed for more scholarly, analytical markup, and it’s quickly becoming the standard tool for scholarly digital editions of scores. If you’d like to learn more about how it works, look at this helpful tutorial or subscribe to this mailing list.
I had always planned to use MEI in Augmented Notes, but I had been running into difficulty getting the google app engine to parse the xml: I needed it to support lxml, a python library, but it didn’t work properly. As a workaround, I originally built it to take a javascript file (specifically, a JSON file) that contained the pixel positions of each measure, which I would then use to create the boxes that highlight each measure in time with the music.  But as of yesterday, I figured out how to get the google app engine to support lxml, so the site can now accept MEI files that preserve pixel positions for each measure as well as a javascript file!
For this week, I plan to learn how to make Augmented Notes output a zip file once the “submit times” button is clicked.  Once I build that functionality, I can start figuring out how to make it output a zip file with everything users need to build their own site like Songs of the Victorians.

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