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    Re: Board of Longitude archive - trial launch of digitised material
    From: Brad Morris
    Date: 2013 Feb 1, 20:01 -0500

    Mr. Dunn

    I had occasion to play today with the initial release of the Board of Longitude.  Please do understand that the following are just my views and are non-binding on anyone. 

    Firstly, to get a lay of the land, I used the search feature, entering such common terms and names such as "maskelyne", "sextant" and "ramsden".  When results were returned, I was at first astounded at the paucity of data (!?!?) There appeared to be very little information.  After a bit of poking around, I discovered the "view more" link, which opened into what I expected, a wealth of sentences including the search phrase or word highlighted.  In my humble opinion, the search results should come back like that initially, as do many other search functions such as google and ebay. If there are too many for one page, paginate the search results.  I do not click again to get the first page of google results, I get them right away.

    Once that feature was mastered, I followed a link to a returned page.  Beautiful image of the page, but no obvious transcription.  So I went back and forth between the search results and the pages, unable to see anything but images.  I clicked about on the pages, until I realized that there was a tab that said "Transcription".  Ah!  Now I can read the minutes!  The image, while fascinating, is hard to read.  My suggestion would be that the "transcription" tab be the selected tab upon entry to a page, not the "about" tab.  I came to the page to read the transcript, not to read the static "about" information.  This means that every time I view a new page from the search results, I must click again to get the transcript (therefore two page loads for one page of information).  You will note that this is a similar quibble as above, a usability nit.

    Thumbing through, page by page, worked as I would have expected.  Once the transcription tab was selected, going to the next page of image showed the next page of transcription.

    Best Regards
    Brad Morris

    On Feb 1, 2013 6:23 AM, "Richard Dunn" <RDunn@nmm.ac.uk> wrote:

    I’m delighted to announce that the Cambridge Digital Library has just launched some samples of material from the Board of Longitude archive, which is being digitized under a JISC-funded project, ‘Navigating Eighteenth Century Science and Technology: the Board of Longitude’. You can view the material at http://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/collections/longitude.

    We’ve put up three volumes from the Board’s archive: the first volume of confirmed minutes (1737-1779), which includes a full transcription and covers all the meetings involving John Harrison; William Wales’s log from Cook’s second voyage; and a group of letters and reports by astronomers and captains about work on late 18th and early 19th century voyages of discovery. For all three, we’ve also begun to make links with the collections at Greenwich.

    The rest of the archive (including other material from Cambridge and Greenwich) will go online this summer, but we’d like to get feedback on how it works and things we can do to improve it. There’s lots of interesting stuff in the three volumes, so please have a look and email any comments to Huw Jones at Cambridge University Library (hej23---ac.uk).

    With best wishes
    Richard Dunn
    Royal Museums Greenwich

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