At the end of 5 days, perhaps inevitably, we are just getting our teeth into the meat of the issues! As we planned yesterday, Alex has run a number of searches within our existing subset of pages that contain the word “inhaler.” Although not without its own problems, the results have enabled Olivia and David to investigate what more refined searches might look like. What would a search looking for pages containing “asthma” + “inhaler” look like? What about finding illustrations only that contain those terms? Would you be able to look for a brand name such as “Potter’s Asthma Cure” or “Ventolin” within these results? The resulting timeline visualisations show how advanced searches and filters might work and show masses of potential to prompt further and interesting research questions.
David has also created a timeline that shows, through density of coloured dots plotting the results, the frequency of results occurring in each issue of the journal.
Spending time today experimenting with more of this user interface confirms that our ambitions are justifiable, but not currently attainable. Hopefully, if the time and resources are found in the future to spend on the back end search functionality of The Chemist and Druggist, it will be a much more accessible and useful resource for a wide range of historians. So, we haven’t reached our holy grail this week, but it has been really enjoyable trying.