It has been a horrendous last few weeks, since the server that was hosting Landmark web sites, crashed, burned, and fell into a crumpled heap, smoke wisping up to the celling. Sorry, it’s a satisfying image after the heartache that we have experienced.
Anyway, I’m still picking up occasional pieces, but most of the Landmark web tools are up and running. They are fairly scattered across three hosting companies, with which I am currently more than thrilled.
It may not be a surprise that Citation Machine (http://citationmachine.net) required the largest hosting plan. In fact, it may have been CM and the closing semester that brought that web server to its knees in tears.
With things settling, a few weeks left before I start serious summer traveling, we are continuing to develop a new version of CM. One of our goals is to relieve the stress on any one web server. Under its current hosting plan, CM can only handle 70,000 citations in a day, which is only a fraction of its accesses in the waning weeks of this school term. This new version is being designed so that it can be licensed by schools and libraries, downloaded and easily installed on a local web server (requires PHP).
What I am especially excited about is a new feature that will allow local CM hosts to edit, delete, and add citations. For instance, the other day I was in an elementary school, where they want desperately to teach their youngsters to cite information sources. However, standard MLA and APA are way too complex for 7 and 8 year olds. So we were able to delete out the existing citations, and add some that were much more appropriate for young scholars.
I wish that I could say that we have developed a slick and intuitive interface. But we haven’t. The struggle has been to make it simple not only to operate, but also to install. Basically, it should be a compressed file, that is expanded and then uploaded to the web server, and, “bang,” you’re there.
Essentially, there will be a config file that has scripts in it that describe the citations. The administrator of the CM site will have to edit these scripts to change the citations.
I’ll talk more about how the scripts work later. It’s time to get to work.