Because I maintain and develop www.computus.lat in my spare time and without any funding, I am unable to implement new features on a regular basis. However, since I started working on publishing datasets and resources, culminating in re-publishing the entire website after it broke down at the end of 2022, I am feeling a renewed interest in the project. My obsession with computus MSS has reignited. Browsing the catalogue, I became aware again of all the time and energy that I invested in the project when I was writing my master thesis. To be honest, I had forgotten about a great number of features and was slightly amazed by what I encountered on my own website. It felt a bit like coming home, when I looked at the digitized manuscripts that I have studied to intensely for the first time in years.
Deciding not to pursue an academic career in 2018 was something I did not take lightly. I made a hard and thorough decision. In a way, I felt I had no other option, when I concluded that life as a professional historian would not be healthy for me, involving all the insecurities of a (beginning) academical career. I wanted stability and kids… And I am eternally grateful that my healthy and beautiful daughters Eefje (2019) and June (2020) were born. I doubt whether it would have been possible to combine a starting academic career and family life, both timewise and financially.
For a long time, I felt that I had turned the final computistical folio. This, I believe, had everything to do with my disappointment and perhaps shame about what felt like a failed academic career. All of this changed when Computus.lat broke down at the end of 2022. I now realize that I do not want my decision to quit academia, means that Computus.lat is finished. Instead, I believe the project can and will remain a resource that I wish to dedicate time to.
Over the last weeks, I began to see new opportunities. Therefore, I want to share a roadmap for the future of Computus.lat in this blogpost. To manage expectations, I will not attach any release dates to the envisioned features.
Please note that this blogpost will be updated whenever I release new features to Computus.lat and when I have come up with entirely new features.
Adding all of Borst’s Reichskalender MSS
Even though one could argue that a manuscript containing only a calendar is not a computus manuscript, I will be adding all manuscripts researched in Arno Borst, Der karolingische Reichskalender und seine Überlieferung bis ins 12. Jahrhundert in Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Libri memoriales (Hannover, Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 2001) to the catalogue. I simply noticed that I never finished doing so, although most calendrical manuscripts were added to the catalogue when Comptutus.lat was first released.
Borst’s Reichskalender MSS on a map
Imagine a map vizualizing the geographical distribution of all Reichskalender MSS by place of origin. This next step is within reach as soon as all MSS are catalogued, combined with the coördinates of their place of origin.
Fixing broken links to digitizations and descriptions
Over the past couple of years, some of the links to digitizations and descriptions have broken, as institutions released new websites. I will try to fix all broken links. Should you come across any broken links, please let me know.
Adding new digitizations, descriptions and IIIF manifests
While I’m on it, I will try to find new newly released digitizations, descriptions and IIIF manuscripts and add them to the database. Many institutions have released new websites and new digitizations since I last checked my catalogue. Usually, a new website means the addition of IIIF manifests. Should you come across missing digitizations and/or IIIF manifests, please let me know.
Places of provenance
Ideally, the time and place of provenance of all codex units containing computistical or calendrical material are available in the catalogue. Currently, this is only the case for the codex units studied in my master thesis. The task at hand is huge. Furtermore, times and places of provenance are disputable, but highly useful as a points of departure for research. Bischoff’s Katalog der festländischen Handschriften des neunten Jahrhunderts, Lowe’s Codices Latini Antiquiores and of course the studies by Arno Borst should be ideal sources, combined with more recent studies by historians of computus. Imagine Computus manuscripts and where to find them with all place of provenance and a slider to choose which period of provenance to show on the map.
Direct access to folios within the Mirador Viewer
It should be possible to use the available IIIF manifests to create select boxes, with which you can browse all manuscript folios of your choice within the Mirador Viewer directly from the catalogue. Digitized folios will only be two or three mouse clicks away from the catalogue, when this feature is released. I can imagine how this would dramatically improve the workflow of researching digitized computus manuscripts.
Last but not least… Releasing datasets using the Computus.lat API
Currently, Computus.lat runs on a private API. In practice, this means that when you visit a page on www.computus.lat, all required data is gathered from the MySQL database, sent to the website in the form of JSON-objects and, finally, published in the form of styled webpage. However, none of the endpoints of the API is publicly available. As a matter of fact, it should be fairly easy to publish all API endpoints. As a consequence, all catalogue data will be available in the form of dynamic JSON-datasets. The major benefit of this public Computus API would be that other websites will be able to communicate with my database, without causing any security issues. Moreover, all catalogue data will be available in JSON datasets that are always up to date: whenever I add new data, it will immediately be available via the Computus API (just like it is immediately available on the website). Using the Computus API, researchers will be able to download my complete dataset without much hassle.
Because dynamic JSON datasets could spare me a lot of time, compared to static .csv or JSON datasets, I will put a hold on publishing major datasets until the Computus API is released. If you are interested in particular datasets that are currently unavailable, please get in touch with me.
Released on February 17, 2023: Improving Computus manuscripts and where to find them
I noticed Computus manuscripts and where to find them would be more far more useful if visitors are albe to directly head to the page of an institution within the catalogue via a hyperlink. By doing so, the map while become a geographical entry point to the catalogue.