March 21, 2014TAPAS is now entering its second week of this final beta-testing phase. Participants are providing valuable feedback about the usability of the service to help us prepare for launch later this year. It’s not too late to take part in this test; if you are interested in participating please register here: http://bit.ly/ufjOFO. Participants are following a testing script, performing a series of tasks that include creating a TAPAS account, setting up a project, creating one or more collections, and uploading some TEI data. Test files are available for testers who don’t have TEI data of their own that they’re ready to use. During the testing phase, participants are providing feedback in discussion forums that we’ve recently added to the site. We have set up discussion threads on specific topics which we want beta testers to focus on. These forums also allow beta testers to provide immediate comments on their experiences and ask questions. After the testing period, the forums will form the hub of the TAPAS user community, providing a space for further testing activities, discussions, community support, and announcements. The testing process will take place over the course of about two to three weeks. We anticipate that the actual time required from each participant will be approximately 2-3 hours in all. After this testing phase and some final fixes, we will be inviting users who are interested in being early adopters to create real TAPAS projects to help us populate the service in advance of the formal launch. If you have a TEI project and would like to participate in this pre-launch phase, please let us know at email@example.com.
January 24, 2014The TEI Archiving, Publishing, and Access Service (TAPAS) is getting close to its public launch in spring 2014. In preparation we are seeking participants to help us with another round of beta testing. We are particularly interested in small to moderate-sized collections of TEI data. Since our last beta testing period in April 2013, we have refined and expanded our search and exploration interfaces, streamlined the data management workflows, and improved the reading interface. We’ve also done extensive performance testing and enhancement. Here’s how beta-testers will be involved in the next phase: In February, beta testers will help testing the new and refined features of the service, identifying any remaining areas that need work before launch. In particular at this stage we are looking for any remaining bugs, missing documentation, or areas where the workflow is confusing. A small group of faculty will be testing the service through classroom use, so that we can learn more about how the system operates under load and see how the interface works for group projects. As part of the spring launch, a set of early adopters will set up working TAPAS projects and collections that demonstrate the features of the service. If you’d like to participate in any of these activities, please register here: http://bit.ly/ufjOFO. If you have registered in the past, you don’t need to register again. We will contact all registered testers when the beta testing period is about to begin with details about how to participate.
December 20, 2013The TAPAS development group met at Brown University for a two day face-to-face meeting to review progress on the site, create a list of final development tasks, and plan for the lead-up to launch. The following institutions were represented at the meeting: Brown University, Hamilton College, Northeastern University, the University of Virginia, Providence College, and Wheaton College. During the meeting, the development team determined that much of the site is in good shape and planned out the remaining work to be done on improving the site’s performance, creating documentation and user help, clarifying workflows, and creating a better reading interface. One major outcome of the meeting was a timeline for the launch process. We are currently planning a two-stage launch: a soft launch with access by invitation, and a formal public launch at which the project will be available for general use by TEI members. The soft launch is currently planned for some time in March 2014, and the formal public launch is currently planned for summer 2014. We will have more information available about the soft launch and will be seeking contributors in the new year. As part of the lead-up to the formal launch we will be conducting a further round of beta-testing to review new interface features and improvements that have been introduced based on the last round of testing. This testing process will be conducted in the same manner as the previous round: we will be inviting members of the TEI community to sign up as beta-testers, and will provide a set of structured tasks with accompanying questions to guide the testing process. Responses and discussion will take place in a discussion forum so that we can ask followup questions about specific issues. If you are interesting in participating in this beta testing phase, please sign up if you have not already.
November 01, 2013As the TAPAS project approaches its soft launch in early 2014, members of TAPAS and the TEI board of directors held a panel presentation at the annual TEI conference in Rome on October 5, 2013 to report on progress and seek feedback from members of the TEI community. Julia Flanders gave an overview of the project's development progress which includes beta-testing, load testing, and improvement of the TEI reading interface in fall 2013. Syd Bauman discussed the process of data profiling and the development of TAPAS schemas. TEI chair Elena Pierazzo described the negotiations between TAPAS and the TEI concerning the possibility of offering TAPAS as a benefit of TEI membership. Following the panel, there was an open discussion in which members of the TEI community were invited to offer feedback and ideas about the development of the service. One strand of discussion that received especially interesting debate at the meeting was the question of peer review. Peer review of digital humanities projects and digital editions has been challenging to arrange, and there is a felt need within the TEI community for methods of peer review that address the TEI encoding as well as the scholarly content of digital publications. Several audience members suggested that TAPAS should provide or facilitate peer review of TAPAS projects. Several methods were proposed, one of which would allow specific communities to establish peer review standards reflected in formal constraints such as schemas and display stylesheets. These constraints could be built into the TAPAS validation and display system as options that community members could choose. Although this won't be available within TAPAS at launch in 2014, we are interested in exploring the potential for peer review systems within TAPAS in the future, and this may be an opportunity for future grant-writing (perhaps in collaboration with the TEI).
July 26, 2013Those who would like to find out more about the development of the TAPAS service will be interested in a recently published article in the Journal of the Text Encoding Initiative: “TAPAS: Building a TEI Publishing and Repository Service” (http://jtei.revues.org/788). The article provides a detailed account of the projects goals and strategic planning, as well as the development work that is under way. It also considers how TAPAS might best respond to the needs of the TEI community. It also addresses the crucial challenges the project faces: the creation of a publication ecology that operates gracefully at the level of the individual project and the TAPAS corpus; the problem of the vulnerability of TEI data in cases where projects cease their activity; and the variability and complexity of TEI data.
June 04, 2013The TAPAS development group met recently for a face-to-face meeting at the University of Virginia, hosted by Raf Alvarado and SHANTI. The emphasis of the meeting was to look at feedback from our beta testers, and the meeting was timed to follow the beta-testing period just concluded. Before the meeting we produced summaries of the beta-testing feedback to provide analysis of particular topics and areas of the service: 1) exploring TAPAS as a reader, 2) setting up a user account, 3) establishing a project, and 4) adding collections of TEI materials. We were impressed with the quality of the feedback we received—warm thanks to all of the beta-testers who participated! The information we received was really valuable. One area that received special attention was the tools for exploring TAPAS. In the beta version that users tested, this included both a “Search” interface (with some faceted refinement of results) and also a “Browse TAPAS” interface that attempted to give users an overview of TAPAS projects, collections, and texts. From the feedback we received, it was clear that a more advanced and functional search mechanism was needed, and also that the “Browse” capability needed to provide a better exploratory environment, one that can continue to provide meaningful browsing mechanisms as TAPAS scales up to include hundreds of projects and thousands of texts. In addition to the discussion of testing and the prioritization of tasks, we included two development sessions in which the group split up to focus on making progress on a few key areas. One group tackled a set of user-interface issues that were straightforward to fix. Another group worked on user documentation, including the instructions provided on the interface itself and also a draft “Quick start” guide to orient new users. A third group worked on finalizing the document that describes the proposed relationship between TAPAS and the TEI. At the end of the meeting, we prioritized the next steps for development over the coming months. These included implementing a more advanced search and exploration interface using SOLR, further developing the reading interface (including the development of a better set of stylesheets), and developing a further phase of beta-testing for the fall. During the summer, we will continue beta-testing in a more informal way, requesting feedback on specific features or updates. The site will be under active development, so users may find things changing underneath them from day to day. If you’re interested in signing up as a beta-tester, please register here: http://bit.ly/ufjOFO/ We will send you information about how to participate.
May 01, 2013We are now in our second week of beta testing the TAPAS user interface, with 27 individuals from 25 institutions and 8 countries currently participating. This testing exercise is focusing on the basic features of the site, including: reading and browsing projects, collections, and documents creating user account and projects creating collections and upload TEI files basic configuration of TAPAS publications reporting bugs and making feature requests To facilitate the testing, we’ve set up a discussion list for beta-testers with separate discussion threads for each testing activity. At the end of the testing period, we’ll ask participants to complete a short anonymous survey to help us focus on the areas most in need of further development. All of this feedback will be reviewed at our upcoming meeting at the University of Virginia in May. Unsurprisingly, testers have already reported several areas that need work, in particular the searching and results display. Because of the diversity of objects available for searching—TAPAS projects and their metadata, TAPAS collections and their metadata, and individual TEI texts—we need to put further thought into how to distinguish these meaningfully and how to organize the results a user receives. No doubt the next few days of testing will reveal further areas that need work!
March 08, 2013We are pleased to announce that the beta testing phase of TAPAS is about to begin. Those who have already signed up for TAPAS beta testing will soon receive an email inviting them to participate. The testing period will run for two weeks at the end of April. The testing process will take place over the course of about two weeks, and we will be seeking input on the mechanics and ergonomics of using the various parts of the site, the look and feel of the interface, and the overall design of the service. As part of the feedback process, we will ask participants to fill out a survey at the end of the testing period, and we will also host a discussion list to allow beta testers to provide immediate comments on their experiences and ask questions. The list will form the hub of the TAPAS user community, providing a space for further testing activities, discussions, and announcements. Between the forums and the survey, we hope to collect a rich set of comments which will help us improve the prototype for the official launch of TAPAS in January 2014. This test environment is an internal prototype and is not yet public, but we look forward to having participants share their experience via blogs or Twitter. There will be future opportunities to test TAPAS as we continue to develop it for a projected launch in 2014. Please register if you are interested in participating in future tests.
December 18, 2012The TAPAS development group met for a third face-to-face meeting at Wheaton College on December 5-7, 2012. The goal of the meeting was to plan the next stages of interface development, leading up to a working prototype that we plan to open up for beta-testing in early spring 2013. Prior to this event, everyone had had the chance to review an early working version of the TAPAS TEI publication software. During our three days of discussion we examined the entire TAPAS workflow from a user perspective and developed a prioritized list of features for inclusion in the prototype, and also in the project launch at the beginning of 2014. The prototype will include the essential features of the TAPAS service. For TAPAS contributors, this includes the ability to create projects and collections, and the ability to upload TEI data and display it via the TAPAS publication interface. TAPAS readers will be able to browse and read texts published in TAPAS, and also to browse TAPAS projects and collections. In late March 2013 we will be asking beta-testers to work with the prototype to test out features like: creating TAPAS user accounts setting up TAPAS projects and collections uploading TEI data to a TAPAS collection adding and editing metadata doing simple configuration of TAPAS publications browsing TAPAS collections If you'd like to be involved in the beta-testing, please sign up at: http://bit.ly/ufjOFO Happy holidays to all from the TAPAS team!
August 17, 2012The TAPAS project presented a poster at the recent DH2012 conference in Hamburg, detailing our planning and design work on the project so far. We were pleased by the feedback the project received, both from others working on similar repositories and projects (such as TextGrid) and also from potential contributors and readers. A PDF version of the poster is available here (low-resolution version for online viewing). The high-resolution version is here.