What do you want from the DMNES?

We had an exciting meeting today with members of Durham University’s Advanced Research Computing group to see whether there’s an opportunity for collaboration on tools to develop the DMNES’s website and to make the data we’ve collected more accessible and useful. We talked about some long-wanted desires, such as having interactive maps tracing the spread of particular names across Europe and over time, as well as more practical matters such as best ways to search and present the data, beyond just the static browse pages we currently have.

There’s a lot of scope for cool projects to be done here, and we’re quite excited about the potential of working together to build some new tools not only to enhance the Dictionary but also to hopefully be of use to other similar digital humanities projects (it would be great if we can harness ARC’s resources to produce research that’s of benefit not only to us but to them as well!). One thing that came out of our discussions is that until we start building things, it’s not entirely clear what sorts of tools could — or should — be built (beyond what’s been mentioned above).

So, here’s where we turn to you, our faithful readers, for input: If the DMNES could do anything (related to given names found in records in Europe between 500 and 1600 🙂 ), what would you like it to be able to do? Whether you’re an onomastician, a historian, a parent, a re-enactor, or simply someone who just finds names neat, we want to hear from you. Hit us with your suggestions, practical, theoretical, and fantastical, and we’ll see what we can do!


Filed under crowd-sourcing

6 responses to “What do you want from the DMNES?

  1. Elizabeth Turner de Carlisle

    Search! It would be great to be able to query the database by data range and region. It would also be cool to have an option to either drill down to dialect (Occitan vs French for example) OR to broaden by “SENA Appendix C lingual mix”. That way you could either find a super authentic name, or just simply look for “given names compatible with this byname”.

  2. A “browse by country / century” feature would be nice.

    Imagine a page that looked like this:

    England: 6th, 7th, … 16th
    France: 6th, 7th, … 16th
    Spain: 6th, 7th, … 16th

    … and then when you clicked on any of the centuries, you’d get a list of the names that had been documented in that place and time, linked to their regular name entry pages.

  3. EABrown

    I was discussing this w/ Sara elsewhere, and am copying my comments here for reference.
    – I like the simplicity of the site. The font tells me that this is ‘academic’ rather than ‘popular’ content. I like that.
    – At the same time, the layout doesn’t move to mobile devices well. The column becomes very narrow on a phone.
    – On mobile, the menu items come up *very small*, and hard to read.
    The underline for links becomes so faint and small as to disappear on mobile.
    – move the alphabet to the home page *as well* as the top of the Browse page
    – make the Guide a roll-over tool OR have numbered roll-over hotspots on the sample entry. I don’t want to click through the different parts of the sample entry in sequence, I want to click the part of the entry that I don’t recognise and get an answer
    – on each entry, enable a roll-over popup which explains the sources and *expands the acronyms and short forms*, in particular.
    – in the popup, enable quick copying (like the link button on Giphy, where you click the button to copy the link to your clipboard) – could help c&p citations quickly

  4. Pingback: How about some stats? | Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources

  5. Don

    Some measure of the changing popularity of names over time and/or place would be great. “Top baby name” articles are always popular content, so apart from being personally interesting, it would make a good media release for the DMNES.

    • I would LOVE to be able to measure this sort of thing. But given the nature of the data — we record one instance of each name in each source document, even if the name shows up multiply in the source — it’s pretty much impossible to do anything quantitative.

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