Books and Borrowing 1750-1830

Building the Books and Borrowing Digital Resource

Over the past few months, we have been busy thinking about how we can make all the data we have been accumulating available to other people. In other words, we’ve been thinking through the eventual front-end of our database, and working out with our wonderful developer Brian Aitken what will work best in terms of Search and Browse functions, as well as visualisations to help people understand the numbers more clearly. This is a mammoth task – not only do we have a very large volume of data, the information itself is very complex. We began by roughing out a lengthy Requirements document, from which Brian could then work, and then Brian began by building the Browse functions, before moving on to the Search functions.

Screenshot of how browsing borrowers at the Advocates Library will appear in the eventual resource

In his own blog, Brian talks through the decisions we’ve been making and his solutions to the many and various technical problems that have arisen. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the ways in which resources like the Books and Borrowing database come into being, and I hope readers of this blog will find it illuminating!

Screenshot of how the 100 most borrowed books at Innerpeffray Library will be displayed

I’ve been enormously grateful for Brian’s knowledge, expertise, kindness and patience as we have all worked on this together, and wanted here to record my thanks in public. Thank you Brian! We couldn’t do any of it without you.