“Indiana University project releases more of Sir Isaac Newton’s alchemy manuscripts” from IUB Newsroom

Story from http://newsinfo.iu.edu/web/page/normal/19929.html

"Star regulus of antimony" was produced by the Chymistry of Isaac Newton project following directions written by Newton.
"Star regulus of antimony" was produced by the Chymistry of Isaac Newton project following directions written by Newton.

The Chymistry of Isaac Newton project at Indiana University Bloomington has released digital editions of 30 previously unedited manuscripts written around 300 years ago by the great British scientist Sir Isaac Newton, the founder of modern physics.

The project, devoted to the editing and exposition of Newton’s work involving alchemy, the dream of transmuting base metals into gold, is directed by William R. Newman, Ruth N. Halls Professor of History and Philosophy of Science in the IU College of Arts and Sciences.

Look for a new Newton site design shortly!

Publicity on Newton Project, Moving on to TILE

SLIS News Story: http://www.slis.indiana.edu/news/story.php?story_id=2186

We have some new publicity on the Chymistry of Isaac Newton project. IU did a press release on the launch of new manuscripts, new website design, and new features… and I get some credit for redesigning the website. I’ve had a really great time working on the Newton Project with Dr. John A Walsh, Dr. William Newman, Wally Hooper, and the rest of the crew. We’ve had some good times. Now I’m moving on to the TILE project (Text-Image Linking Environment) and I’ll be working with Doug Reside, Dot Porter, Melissa Terras, and Dr. John A Walsh.

TILE Project Release: http://www.slis.indiana.edu/news/story.php?story_id=1985

Chymistry of Isaac Newton Annotation Tool Development

Firefox Add-On Development Center Logo

For the past few years I’ve been working on and off toward the development of a web-based text and image annotation tool for the Chymistry of Isaac Newton Project; I’ve been a member of the team since Fall 2007.   If you have any experience with web programming, you will know that it is almost impossible to successfully navigate the waters of browsers, operating systems, javascript engines, client requirements, accessibility standards, usability issues, mobile development, etc.  (the list continues to grow as new technologies saddle up to the Internet and demand seamless service).

The development has been long and arduous with many pitfalls, yet somehow I’m still working and making progress toward our goals…  I’ve learned a few valuable lessons, including my personal shortcomings as a designer, programmer, manager, student, friend, and husband.

I’m using XUL, jQuery, PHP, and MySQL for the beta development.  I chose jQuery mostly because our Digital Library Team here at Indiana University have some experience with this javascript library and are using it on a few other projects.  I would consider myself an expert with PHP, so that was a no-brainer.  I am at an almost expert level with both MySQL and PostgreSQL, so either database backend would suffice.   The XUL development choice comes from the fact that we are prototyping the annotation tool as a Firefox extension.  This part of the project has been the most frustrating and annoying, yet I’ve managed to get something working and we are moving forward now at a pretty good pace.  Now if you go looking for Firefox extension tutorials, you’ll be in luck because Mozilla finally got their act together and created a developer hub!  Finally!  This is very frustrating because it has come about 2 years too late for me…

Now I am going to start posting pointers from my own experience with this development life cycle.  I will post links to some tutorials, some hacks, a few scripts, and other materials that helped me along the way.  But maybe you won’t need them with this fancy, new dev center!