The Problem of Digital Dating: Online Survey
[This article is cross-listed here and on the DigiPal project blog.]
Further to my earlier discussion about the problems of representing dates in digital format, Matthew Driscoll and I have produced a short survey to gague what people want and expect when searching databases with uncertain material. As noted on the survey itself,
This informal survey is designed to help us understand what people expect when searching databases of medieval material. Computers normally need clear definitions of dates, but in practice we often do not have such certainty. If you want to find manuscripts that have been dated to the early eleventh century, for instance, then what date range should you search for? When the computer displays the results of your search in chronological order, would you expect "early tenth century" to come before or after "circa 910"? These may seem like arbitrary questions but they must be addressed when designing databases and online catalogues, and so it is important for website designers to understand what you expect.
This survey is based on the "Digital Dating" discussion on the DigiPal blog and also in meetings of COST Action IS1005 (Medioevo Europeo). For further discussion of the problems involved please refer to the first of the DigiPal blog posts.
There are of course no right or wrong answers to any of the questions in this survey. The goal is to understand your expectations, not to test your expertise in medieval manuscripts.
We will post the results of the survey on the DigiPal blog in due course and in the meantime we thank you for your contribution.
Peter Stokes and Matthew Driscoll
These may seem like arbitrary questions but they must be addressed when designing databases and online catalogues, and so it is important for website designers to understand what you expect if the websites are going to be useful for you.
The survey is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FMS3735. Please circulate the link widely to anywhere you think appropriate as well. It is entirely anonymous and only contains ten questions so it should not take much of your time. We would be very grateful to hear what you think, and we very much hope that the results we get will help people to develop websites that better match our needs.Share on Twitter Share on Facebook