Celtic Poets in North America – 1st Prototype

I’m happy to say that most of the basic functionality of the first version of the system is now running. I’m currently hosting it on CloudBees at this link.

(Please note that, due to the low priority of free web-hosting, it sometimes takes a long time for dormant websites to be reactivated, and you it may timeout the first time you try the link on your browser — just try again.)

Here’s the home screen (of a previous draft):


The “banner” I’ve created for the project contains two images: the image on the left is a section of a manuscript known traditionally as the Cathach of St. Columba and is dated from the late 6th century; the image on the right is the masthead of the all-Gaelic newspaper Mac-Talla, printed in Sydney, Cape Breton, from 1892 to 1904. This represents the continuity of literary tradition that the Celtic Poets in North America project is meant to represent and promote.

The user can search through the database and visualize its contents in various ways, and particularly by looking through poets and poems.


Most of the poets currently in the database are taken from my editions of Scottish Gaelic poetry from North America (including an anthology of Canadian material on which I’m currently working), although it also contains some Welsh contributions from Robert Humphries and a few Irish items I’ve gleaned from a few articles.

The screen above allows the user to look at the entries for Poets in the database, narrowing down the entries displayed by particular criteria. As you’ll see, I’ve selected three criteria: the poet must have “Iain” in his name, must be born in Scotland between the years 1750 and 1810. Note also I’ve left the default display list “As List.” So, when I push the Run filter button, I get the following list:


Four poets result from these criteria and we get their biographical details. If we wish to see the details about the places they were born or died, we can select the hotlinks. We can also select the associated See poems link to see the list of poems they composed.

Rather than see biographical details about the poets in textual form, we can also produce a map based on the places poets were born or died:


Rather than look at individual items, we can also produce charts that summarize certain patterns in the database. This screen allows you to select the criteria for such charts:


In this case, we’ve just specifying that we’d like to see a summary of the data regarding the state, province or county where the poets were born. Here’s the resulting chart (of the current database):


You can deal with the poems in a very similar way. Here’s the filter screen for poems.


In this case, I’ve specified that I only want to see the poems that were composed in Ontario in Scottish Gaelic that have been tagged with IDENTITY (as a major topic). Here’s the results as a list:


Note that for each entry (for each poem), you can select a hot link to see the details about the place where it was composed or the details about the composer. But rather than seeing lists of poems, you can also place them on maps. Here’s a map of the current poems in the database:


So, as you can see, most of the functionality is in place. In the near future, I will add timelines (so that you can see poets and poems in their chronological order), and other visualization techniques.

But for now, I’d like to reiterate my call for data contributions from those of you who have details about poets who composed in Celtic languages in North America and their compositions! All contributions will be acknowledged on the home page. (Details on data formats can be seen in this previous blog.)


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