1 04 2010

The AddressingHistory project will create an online tool which will enable a broad spectrum of users, both within and outwith academia (particularly local history groups and genealogists), to combine data from digitised historical Scottish Post Office Directories with contemporaneous historical maps.

The AddressingHistory project will be delivered by EDINA in partnership with the National Library of Scotland using materials already digitised under ongoing NLS programmes.

Crowd-sourcing through the AddressingHistory tool will, it is envisioned, lead to a fully geo-coded version of the digitised directories thus providing significant added-value to the general public, local historians and specialist researchers across multiple disciplines.

The project will focus on three eras of Edinburgh mapping and Post Office Directories (1784-5; 1865; 1905-6) however the technologies demonstrated will be scalable to the full collection of digitised materials which include 400 directories and associated maps covering the whole of Scotland.

Project Deliverables

  • The Web 2.0 enabled AddressingHistory tool which will contribute to crowd sourcing through the georeferencing of historical addresses.
  • Increased community awareness and engagement with the digitised maps and Post Office directories at the core of this project.
  • An API onto the crowd-sourced data.
  • A sustainable exit strategy for the data created by users for AddressingHistory.
  • Final report

EDINA Contacts

Stuart MacDonald




National Library of Scotland


Crowdsourcing Archival Collections

17 03 2010

Thinking of processes, procedures and policies for crowdsourcing content for archives.  Can archives, libraries, and museums move beyond outsourcing tasks such as transcription and metadata and rely on the crowd for collection development? Can this collection development be sustained?

Installing EPrints on Windows

12 03 2010

Updated manual for installing EPrints on your Windows system. Current manuals seem to be lacking in details. Here is a consolidation of instructions that have worked. Total install time should be around 30-45 minutes, depending on your technical experience. So if you ever wanted to play with a digital repository system – have fun.

Required Software

Apache 2.2.15-win32

ActivePerl 5.10.1 1007-MSWIN32-x86-291969

MySQL 5.1.44-win32

EPrints v3.2.0 Windows Installer

Optional Software

GhostScript 8.60

Catdoc 0.94.2

ImageMagick  6.3.5-6

Install Apache

Run the Apache .msi file that you downloaded. The .msi is a self installer and will guide you through the process. Install Apache on port [80] as a service for all users. Name your server name (localhost), Domain name (localhost) and administrative email account (any Apache will install in the C:Program Files\Apache Foundation\Apache2.2 directory by default. Change the directory to C:EPrints\Apache2.

After installation Apache automatically starts. The  icon in the system tray means Apache has started. The icon means that the Apache Monitor Servers are running but not Apache.

Install ActivePerl

Run the ActivePerl.msi. Install into the C:\EPrints\Perl directory. When the installation of ActivePerl is complete, you will need to install 2 additional ppd components (DBD-mysql.ppd and mod_perl.ppd) from the command line. Open a command prompt (Command line 101: Start Menu – Run – type “cmd”) and enter:

ppm install
ppm install

The mod-perl installer will prompt you for the Apache module path. Enter:


You will now need to add mod_perl support to Apache. Locate and edit the Apache configuration file, C:\EPrints\Apache2\conf\httpd.conf. Open the file in a text editor and add the following lines:

LoadFile   “C:/EPrints/Perl/bin/perl510.dll”
LoadModule   perl_module modules/

Configuring Apache and Perl

Configuring Apache and Perl requires you to set environment variables so EPrints can find Perl and its libraries. To set environment variables, use Control Panel – System – Advanced System Settings – Advanced – Environment Variables…

Locate the Path variable and edit it. Make sure both C:\Prints\perl\bin and C:\EPrints\Apache2\bin are included in the Path variable. Use a semicolon (;) to separate the variables.

Create a new variable PERL5LIB, with the value C:/EPrints/EPrints/perl_lib (note the forward slashes).

Install MySQL

Now run the MySQL installer and choose a Custom installation in the directory C:\EPrints\MySQL. You will need to set the following options:

Install the server and client programs. The C+ files are not needed. Skip the registration.

Configure MySQL

When the installation of MySQL completes, you will be prompted to configure the server. The configuration is simple and straightforward. You should accept most of the default settings.

When MySQL configuration has finished, you will need to set an option manually in MySQL’s configuration file by editing C:\EPrints\MySQL\my.ini in a text editor.

Remove the option NO_AUTO_CREATE_USER from the my.ini file.

Now restart MySQL so the new option will take effect. In the Control Panel – Administrative Tools – Services – MySQL and choose restart.

Install optional components

Install GhostScript, ImageMagick, and catdoc. These tools are not essential to EPrints, but provide extra functionality.

Run the GhostScript executable and install in C:\EPrints\GhostScript.

Catdoc is a zip file.  Unzip the file and place the contents into the EPrints directory. The file path should be C:\EPrints\catdoc-0.94.2.

Run the ImageMagick executable and install in C:\EPrints\ImageMagick . Select the options “Update executable search path” and “Install PerlMagick for ActiveState Perl”. Other options can be deselected.

Install EPrints 3

Run the EPrints installer. This will install files into C:\EPrints\EPrints.

When the installer has finished copying files, it will prompt you for server SMTP information.

Configure EPrints 3

First open a command prompt and change directory to C:\EPrints\EPrints. Now you can run epadmin to configure the archive.

cd \EPrints\EPrints

To start the EPrints creation process, run:

perl bin/epadmin create

Note: Whenever you need to run an EPrints command line tool, it must be prefixed with perl.

Run epadmin and fill out the prompts. You will get the following prompts (note that when you see something in [square brackets], it’s the default value and can be selected by simply hitting enter)

Archive ID – the system name for your archive. Once entered, an archive/<archive_id> directory will be created where the configuration files will be copied.

Configure vital settings – Hit enter to say ‘yes’. This will lead to more prompting about core settings:

Hostname – Since I am testing EPrints on my Laptop  I chose to run EPrints locally thus my hostname is is your computer’s default IP address. If you are directing to a live webserver, ensure that your IT can set the DNS.

Webserver Port – Which port to you want to serve the archive on? The default is 80, so unless you can think of a good reason not to, just hit enter to accept the default.

Alias – I created no aliases. You can enter any number of aliases that will take users to this archive. Enter a ‘#’ when you don’t want to enter any more. You could have your archive served on and As with the Hostname, your systems team need to be informed about these aliases too.

Administrator Email – Enter the email address of the repository administrator.

Archive Name – The full name of your archive. By default, this will be used on the header of the webpage and in the title bar of the browser.

Write these core settings – Enter ‘yes’.

Configure database –  Enter ‘yes’.

Database Name – epadmin will create the database for you. By default, epadmin uses your Archive ID for database name.

MySQL Host – The address of the server that the database is running on. If the database is on the same machine as the EPrints installation, enter ‘localhost’.

MySQL Port – You probably don’t need to enter a value.

MySQL Socket – As with MySQL Port, it’s unlikely that you need to enter anything.

Database User – The username with which to log into the MySQL Database. You don’t need to create this user, epadmin will do it for you. If you enter a MySQL username that already exists, it will be overwritten by epstats.

Database Password – The password for the Database User.

Write these database settings – Choose ‘yes’.

Create database <Database Name> – Choose ‘yes’, and epadmin can create the database.

MySQL Root Password – To create the database and the user, epadmin needs the MySQL Root Password.

Create database tables – say yes to have epadmin create all the database tables.

Create an initial user – Choose ‘yes’.

Enter a username – The username you will use to log into EPrints in your browser. Epadmin defaults to admin.

Select a user type (user|editor|admin) – There are three levels of user in EPrints. You probably want to be an administrator, so enter ‘admin’.

Enter Password – Enter a password

Email – Enter your email address.

Important: Note that, although you are prompted to build the static web pages, import LOC subject headings and update the apache config files, epadmin will FAIL to run them. Look above the message “That seemed to more or less work…” and See the error messages “…not recognized as an internal or external command…

You must run generate_static *Archives ID*, import_subjects *Archives ID*, and generate_apacheconf manually from the command prompt according to the standard instructions. *Archives ID* should match the Archives ID entered when you ran epadmin.

perl bin/generate_static *Archives ID*
perl bin/import_subjects *Archives ID*
perl bin/generate_apacheconf

Finally you need to add the EPrints configuration file to Apache. Edit C:\EPrints\Apache2\conf\httpd.conf and add at the bottom of the file:

PerlPassEnv PERL5LIB
Include C:/EPrints/EPrints/cfg/apache.conf

Starting Apache

Control Apache from the Services panel. Stop and start the service before testing, to reload the configuration file.


EPrints should now be accessible from your browser, at the hostname (localhost or you specified in epadmin.

One Dove; One Dove; Your Lucky to Have One Dove…

1 03 2010

“A century from now, will desegregation in Virginia be a forgotten story? If we don’t do a better job of saving our records, it could be. Currently, few records of school desegregation in Virginia are publicly available….”

With this ominous sentence Old Dominion University librarians Sonia Yaco and Tonia Graves discuss the state of historical access and preservation of records relating to the desegregation of Virginia schools. “Mapping the Desegregation of Education in Virginia: Where are the Records?” describes  the all too common scenario of historical records disappearing. I have discovered the same scenario while conducting research about a particular county in Alabama. However, the picture is not so gloomy. Yaco and Graves also describe a very unique, ambitious and valuable initiative Desgregation of Virginia Education (DOVE). DOVE’s goals are to identify, locate and preserve records that document Virginia’s  School desegregation process.

Visit the DOVE website @; monitor DOVE’s progress on DOVE’s blog @ and view the DOVE catalog @

Sometimes it’s great to read and write about high level concepts such as web 2.0, cloud computing, metadata, XML or other ways of leveraging technology in archives and special collections, but, as a historian, I get really excited when I see a concrete effort to place the focus on the one thing that matters the most – the COLLECTION i.e. the objects that the researcher/end user is interested in.  

DOVE’s progress should be monitored and the framework should be noted and referenced as a model for similar state/regional inventory projects.

Skype as a Reference Tool

23 02 2010

Project of the day is to install and test Skype. My Library is looking to use Skype to facilitate 2 long distance interviews and wanted something more intimate than a conference call. Having some familiarity with the software/service I have been tasked to help lead the project. This is great because I have had an interest in using Skype as a reference tool for our special collections. I’ll post about implementing Skype in general and in particular how we attempt to implement it as a reference tool.

On that note, it would be worth while to check out So Maybe This is Why no one uses Skype Reference Service from the Library Voice.  Chad Boeninger provides an excellent overview of his experience with Skype. I envision using the service a lot like Ohio University used it. Don’t call me crazy. Although we are doing the same thing , I DO expect different outcomes. I think that the outcomes will be different because our target users are different. Ohio U. naturally targeted its students. However, my target users are long distance baby boomers, with primarily genealogy reference questions. I believe that they want and are accustomed to the  face 2 face experience that Skype can give. I could be wrong but we’ll find out…