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New VWML Website (Full English)

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GUEST,Nick Dow 16 Apr 24 - 08:44 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 16 Apr 24 - 08:57 AM
Reinhard 16 Apr 24 - 09:00 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 16 Apr 24 - 09:29 AM
DaveRo 16 Apr 24 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 16 Apr 24 - 10:03 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 16 Apr 24 - 11:42 AM
Robert B. Waltz 16 Apr 24 - 12:31 PM
Reinhard 16 Apr 24 - 01:07 PM
Robert B. Waltz 16 Apr 24 - 01:11 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 16 Apr 24 - 07:01 PM
Robert B. Waltz 16 Apr 24 - 07:10 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 17 Apr 24 - 02:13 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 17 Apr 24 - 03:30 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 17 Apr 24 - 03:43 AM
Robert B. Waltz 17 Apr 24 - 04:56 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 17 Apr 24 - 05:45 AM
Robert B. Waltz 17 Apr 24 - 06:44 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 17 Apr 24 - 08:26 AM
GUEST 17 Apr 24 - 08:58 AM
RTim 17 Apr 24 - 09:48 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 17 Apr 24 - 10:50 AM
Robert B. Waltz 17 Apr 24 - 11:08 AM
DaveRo 17 Apr 24 - 11:39 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 17 Apr 24 - 12:10 PM
Reinhard 17 Apr 24 - 12:40 PM
GUEST 17 Apr 24 - 02:45 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 17 Apr 24 - 03:57 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 17 Apr 24 - 04:39 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 17 Apr 24 - 06:06 PM
Reinhard 17 Apr 24 - 10:33 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 18 Apr 24 - 02:07 AM
GUEST 18 Apr 24 - 09:53 AM
EFDSS Communications 19 Apr 24 - 06:26 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 19 Apr 24 - 08:15 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 19 Apr 24 - 09:21 AM
Reinhard 19 Apr 24 - 10:24 AM
EFDSS Communications 19 Apr 24 - 11:11 AM
Robert B. Waltz 19 Apr 24 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 19 Apr 24 - 12:38 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 19 Apr 24 - 07:33 PM
Robert B. Waltz 19 Apr 24 - 08:08 PM
DaveRo 20 Apr 24 - 03:06 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 20 Apr 24 - 01:00 PM
GUEST,Tiffany Hore 23 Apr 24 - 09:17 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 23 Apr 24 - 02:19 PM
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Subject: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 16 Apr 24 - 08:44 AM

Sorry folks but it's a pain to use. The search engine throws up versions of songs well enough, but there is no way of accessing archival entries without trawling through the lot and hoping that there is a digitized entry.
For example, if you wish to know every version of the Dark Eye'd sailor collected in Somerset you can not directly access that info as far as I can see. If you wish to filter out all but the digitally archived entries, there is no method of doing so. Consequently, it makes researching twice as long and twice as difficult. There is an old saying, if it ain't broken don't mend it!
Yes I will give it a chance, and no doubt I'll find my way round it, but all links from the likes of' 'Mainly Norfolk', 'Cecil Sharps people', and numerous other websites via Roud are completely buggered up. Just what I bloody needed! I'm off to have two of my red pills and a lie-down, then spend valuable time afterward trying to work my way around the options allowed by the genius who designed the website. (Moan mumble gibber groan!)


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 16 Apr 24 - 08:57 AM

Reading the articles it appears they had little choice, as the old website is no longer supported. However as someone who is only an occasional casual user my immediate reaction is that I don't find it any more user-friendly than the old one, less in fact. I have every sympathy with those who are trying to use it for serious research.

If external links from other websites are broken that is a serious omission.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: Reinhard
Date: 16 Apr 24 - 09:00 AM

For now you can use e.g. https://previous.vwml.org/roudnumber/265 to get the entries for Dark-Eyed Sailor, i.e. type "previous" instead of "www". I've fixed this on Mainly Norfolk accordingly.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 16 Apr 24 - 09:29 AM

Thanks Reinhard


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: DaveRo
Date: 16 Apr 24 - 10:02 AM

It took me a while to find this (but this is a mobile):
https://archives.vwml.org/

Is that what you're using?


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 16 Apr 24 - 10:03 AM

Long may it stay fixed! I am working on the Hudleston Collection for Steve Gardham and you have just saved me an hour or so.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 16 Apr 24 - 11:42 AM

That's the easy bit Dave. Try a detailed search and all will (not) become apparent. Thanks by the way!


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 16 Apr 24 - 12:31 PM

I too have been trying the new site and finding it difficult to find anything. Poor Steve Roud, who didn't really have any choice about what they did, has been hearing about it. But he may pass that on to the site designers.

FWIW: This is a very temporary workaround, and Steve Roud has expressed his disapproval of it (without offering an alternative), but if you want to look up the list of entries for a particular Roud number, this seems to work:

https://archives.vwml.org/search/all:single[folksong-broadside-books]/0_50/all/score_desc/extended-roudNo_s%3A[ROUD#]

(Where you fill in the Roud Number instead of [ROUD#].)

So, for instance, to find Roud #23, you would enter

https://archives.vwml.org/search/all:single[folksong-broadside-books]/0_50/all/score_desc/extended-roudNo_s%3A23

To find Roud #1000, you would enter

https://archives.vwml.org/search/all:single[folksong-broadside-books]/0_50/all/score_desc/extended-roudNo_s%3A1000

And so forth. (The boldface in the URL means nothing; it's just to show you the part that you need to change.)

THIS IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE. :-) It's me digging into the site, and is unapproved. If it doesn't work, we're back to being stuck. :-)


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: Reinhard
Date: 16 Apr 24 - 01:07 PM

Instead of the '%3A' in the URL you could also just use a ':', that's easier to read and is what I do on Mainly Norfolk.

I've written to the library and have been assured that the permalinks for individial entries like https://www.vwml.org/record/GG/1/7/402 will continue to work (though they are being redirected to, in this case, https://archives.vwml.org/records/GG/1/7/402).

I couldn't yet convince them to still accept requests for the old https://www.vwml.org/roudnumber/ way and redirect them to the new address. I believe the guy at the library didn't understand what I meant - he advised me to use the 'Quick search by Round number' at the bottom of the search page, but of course we want links from our websites to the VWML archive and not enter the Roud number manually in a search form.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 16 Apr 24 - 01:11 PM

Reinhard wrote:

Instead of the '%3A' in the URL you could also just use a ':', that's easier to read and is what I do on Mainly Norfolk.

You're obviously way ahead of me. I didn't try to figure out the URL; I just did some pattern recognition. :-)

[ ... ]

I couldn't yet convince them to still accept requests for the old https://www.vwml.org/roudnumber/ way and redirect them to the new address. I believe the guy at the library didn't understand what I meant - he advised me to use the 'Quick search by Round number' at the bottom of the search page, but of course we want links from our websites to the VWML archive and not enter the Roud number manually in a search form.

FWIW, Steve Roud heard some of us talk about the inconveniences of the search form on the mailing lists he frequents. I don't know if he'll take it seriously -- like you, I hope he will, but I can't make it happen -- but he probably has more influence than we do!

But the whole thing remains in flux.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 16 Apr 24 - 07:01 PM

Unfortunately it gets worse. Not only is the digital collection less accessible but it appears that all recordings are inaccessible. As an example I attempted to find the Carpenter recordings made at Bampton. The recordings were correctly listed but there appears to be no opportunity to play them. This wipes out all of VW recordings Sharps cylinders and it appears all of the sterling work done by Mr. Fury with his Mp3 transcriptions of Sharp and Hammond. While we're on the subject I sent all Cohen B/K's Mp3's to the Full English musical administrator in Australia (!!). They never made it to the site.
I think there is a case to answer here, and if as I suspect finance or lack of it is the problem somebody some where should have made more noise about it than a few pop up requests for donations. This is a serious loss to future generations, and somebody much younger than I and in better health needs to take control. It could well be that the movement in the 1990's to relocate the VWML to some other area of academic excellence had more merit that we thought at the time.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 16 Apr 24 - 07:10 PM

Nick Dow wrote: Unfortunately it gets worse.

Remember that it's a forced migration. I think we're in agreement that it's a mess. :-/. But I understand that they're still working on things.

It may be that they've simply messed up rather than deliberately abandoning things. There is a "Contact Us" link. Send them a message saying what you were trying to do and why you can't do it. It might encourage them to put things back. Or make them findable.

No promises. But I've been there, when CSU Fresno took away the Ballad Index site without telling me. Getting a new version up and running was... not easy. And the Ballad Index was a lot easier than this. They at least had warning -- but the move had to happen.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 17 Apr 24 - 02:13 AM

OK Robert. Then I'll take your advice and try and put together a polite and supportive letter, pointing out the shortcomings. When you say forced migration, who or what did the forcing and why did it happen? I may as well have all the facts before I open my gob any wider. Is there any possibility of addressing the problem at grass roots level, with the lack of funding or what ever was the problem? If this explanation is already on the website could you nudge me in the right direction if you have time? Thank you for your support. The outrage stops here, and hopefully a solution can be reached.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 17 Apr 24 - 03:30 AM

There are articles on the website, linked to from the latest announcement, which explain the reasons. Briefly, it appears that the current version was the work of a single person who is no longer willing, or able, to support it. This raises questions why such a vulnerable situation was allowed in the first place, but it means that this change has now been forced on them.

It is worrying that there may not have been sufficient consultation with serious users, and that it seems to have been released without adequate testing.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 17 Apr 24 - 03:43 AM

Thanks, Howard. I had the wrong end of the stick. I thought the previous website was unsupported. I'll put something together this week, but before I send it I'll contact everyone I can by Email including Steve Roud and others here, for their approval, and edit accordingly


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 17 Apr 24 - 04:56 AM

Howard Jones wrote: This raises questions why such a vulnerable situation was allowed in the first place....

From this I conclude that you've never been deeply involved in a long-established, low-budget, non-profit, largely-volunteer-driven organization. :-)

I have. A lot of them. In groups like that, what usually happens is that they identify a need and ask if someone can do it. "We need some posters." "Sure, I'll slap someone together." "We need someone to go talk to such-and-such folk club." "Sounds like fun." "We need a web site." "OK, I'd like to give it a try."

And then the job gets bigger and bigger, until it's really too much for one person. It's a lot harder to manage a web site with a whole bunch of databases and such than one that just says, "Hi! We're a music site. You can e-mail us at...." :-)

If you want another example, look at all the difficulties in keeping mudcat running!

And people get old, too. The number of great projects that die just because the dedicated volunteer who ran it becomes disabled is... astronomical. I know it's coming for the Ballad Index. I looked for many years for a successor. But it takes a peculiar sort of person to do the job. No one is interested, and very few have the required skills anyway. With luck, when I have to give it up, we'll have a home for it that will endure. But there will be no updates after that.

Be glad VWML is at least taking the task seriously, even if there are enough teething pains to suggest they need oral surgery....


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 17 Apr 24 - 05:45 AM

No doubt that is true, but there was nothing wrong with the previous website so why alter it? The road to Hell is paved with good intentions etc. etc.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 17 Apr 24 - 06:44 AM

Nick Dow wrote: No doubt that is true, but there was nothing wrong with the previous website so why alter it? The road to Hell is paved with good intentions etc. etc.

And if the computer the old site was running on breaks? Or if that computer is so old that it no longer gets security updates? Or the content management system is discontinued and can't be updated? Sometimes you just can't keep a system running.

We're also told that the person who maintained the site no longer wants the job. Probably no one else understands that site. And if the old person isn't willing to train new volunteers, it's very possible that no one else can figure it out.

Sadly, you can't stay on old hardware and software forever. If a system is going to fail eventually, better to start planning before it fails.

It seems pretty clear they released the new site before it was ready. But I understand the need to create a new one.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 17 Apr 24 - 08:26 AM

Robert B Waltz wrote "I conclude that you've never been deeply involved in a long-established, low-budget, non-profit, largely-volunteer-driven organization. :-)"

Actually I have. And exactly what you describe happened, several times. We now have a website which uses Wordpress. It's still run by a volunteer, but it's now on an established platform and properly documented, and it should be fairly easy for someone else to take it over when the need arises.

My point is that this is entirely predictable when you depend on a single person. EFDSS may not be flush with money, but its turnover is measured in millions of pounds. My organisation at least has the excuse that its income is only a few hundred pounds. I also recall EFDSS received a substantial grant to digitise the collection. It should have taken a more sustainable approach from the outset.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Apr 24 - 08:58 AM

I assumed that the grant to digitise the collection included for a 'sustainable approach from the outset' or, if it didn't, resources to curate the collection had been demonstrated as part of the submission.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: RTim
Date: 17 Apr 24 - 09:48 AM

As an ex-Systems Analyst and Programmer - whenever you approach the need to replace any system...the first prerequisite is to ensure that any New system..must have the Same function as any Old system....and to always remember that the Old systems functionality generally actually works..!!
In most case, if a system needs to be changed - it is for Technical reasons Not Functional reasons. Either that or the Old system is No Longer needed by it's users.
Therefore....in designing the New system..the functionality MUST be fully understood by those who are to write the New system...

Is this the case here...??

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 17 Apr 24 - 10:50 AM

Thanks I'm a bit wiser now. I can see where everyone is coming from.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 17 Apr 24 - 11:08 AM

I hope this will be my last word on this subject, because it's obviously doing no good.

To all those of you who think VWML made a series of mistakes... I agree. They apparently put themselves in a technologically unsustainable situation, and when they realized they had to do something, they released the result before it was really functional.

Like you, I hope they will fix it. This certainly matters to me, because I have to produce working links to the thing!

I do not disagree with this. Where I disagree is in getting angry about it. No one here knows how the situation came about, or whether we would have done better in the same situation.

More to the point, getting angry and/or grumbling won't help. Neither does saying, "You should have done X." Particularly if one has not contributed to VWML, either in time or money or both. Casting blame only makes people get defensive and less willing to listen. Without going into details, I can say that I have already seen this happen with them, even me without casting blame. The more you sympathize and the less you blame, and the more you are willing to help, the better results you are likely to get. This is basic behavioral psychology.

If you want proof, look how people in Washington, D.C., or Westminster spend most of their time blaming The Other Guys, and the more time they spend blaming, the less they get done.

So think about what you would like, and what you need, and what would make it possible -- but don't attack people to get it. Because, if you do, you very likely won't get it.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: DaveRo
Date: 17 Apr 24 - 11:39 AM

...RTim wrote: whenever you approach the need to replace any system...the first prerequisite is to ensure that any New system..must have the Same function as any Old system...
Yes, I remember when systems were developed like that - either by in-house IT staff or 'software houses' like the one I worked for. I built systems that way in the '70s and '80s. But, except in the case of specialist businesses - or very rich ones, that changed to preferring 'off the shelf' packaged software which met as many of the requirements as possible without spending a fortune on customising it. (We used to quote the '80/20 rule' - 80% of the functionality cost 20% of the final price.)

In this case the VWML has chosen a company which has - they hope - a suitable product and expertise in implementing and perhaps customising it to meet most of VWML's requirement.

https://www.efdss.org/about-us/what-we-do/news/12897-online-archives-move-on
https://epexio.com/

And it's common - and good practice - to release a system in stages. However, it's also good practice to set the users' expectations by explaining the roll-out and capabilities of a new system.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 17 Apr 24 - 12:10 PM

Probably best to leave things for a week or two and then re assess the situation. Meanwhile use the link above as long as possible. As Robert says best not to add insult to injury. I respect of running a website I am slowly working upon the Hammond collection, building on Purslows work and adding details from the FSJ. It's one enormous organisational file at the moment and will hopefully make a useful website, with every song published with Mp3 files. Cohen is taking over if I am absent for any reason.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: Reinhard
Date: 17 Apr 24 - 12:40 PM

VWML librarian Alex (I don't know his surname) just informed me that the old search links for Roud numbers like https://www.vwml.org/roudnumber/1 do work again. Hurrah!

There is still a problem searching for Roud numbers beginning with V like Roud V9375 but this will hopefully be fixed soon too. You can bypass this problem if you do not search for Roud number V9375 but instead search for V9375 as text.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Apr 24 - 02:45 PM

Let’s start by saying thank-you to the VWML and EFDSS for preserving so much of the material essential to our field, making it available, and providing online access, for free, to everyone, over the years. I am particularly grateful. I do not have the money or resources to make my indexes available on my own, and without the VWML’s consistent support and technical expertise the indexes simply would not exist. Nor would the ‘Full English’ project have happened without their dedication. And so on.

The old system that many of you seem to love is, in computer terms, ancient. It is well over 10 years old and has been held together with sticking-plaster for some time now. If a new system had not been designed it would soon have crashed completely. Yes, it was designed mostly by one person – and I for one was extremely grateful for the pains he took over it – but he is no longer involved, and things have moved on. Things do.

You all seem to love the old system but it generated similar howls of anguish when it was launched. It took a while to get right. And user-suggestions were key to that process. Angry posts to social media weren’t helpful.

The EFDSS does not have a ‘turnover of millions’. It survives on membership fees (and membership of all such organisations is falling) and on grants from bodies such as The Arts Council – and they have slashed their funding dramatically in the last 2 years. The Society does not have money to spare, but the present re-design has not been done on the cheap. The external digitisation funding some of you mention was Lottery money, over 10 years ago and was, like all project-funding, finite. The EFDSS is far from perfect, but it does not deserve the calumny included in your posts.

I trust that all of you who say how essential the site is have supported it over the years by being members or giving donations?

You all seem to believe that the VWML is the enemy, and your language is hurtful to the staff who spend their working lives providing you with the materials to feed your interests and passions. It is not difficult to understand. If you have specific queries, suggestions, etc., contact them direct, instead of venting in public. Be part of the solution, not the problem.

If you have an urgent need to use the old site, there is a place you can click on the search page. it says:
'For a limited time, you can continue to access the old website'.
The danger there is that you will continue to rely on it and be completely flummoxed when it is finally turned off. Exactly the same thing happened when the old site was launched.

You all seem to love the old site, but you are easily outnumbered by the people – especially casual users and newcomers - who disliked it and found it very difficult to navigate. On the whole, I am very pleased with the part of the new site given over to my indexes – and I asked for the semi-separation which has been achieved. My section is a lot easier to explain and most of the important functionality is still there, plus some new features. Some tweaking is needed, and it will take some getting used to.

I will be presenting a tutorial on how to use the new interface (my indexes only) at a special TSF zoom meeting, probably 5th May – details will be announced soon on TradSong, Ballad-list, and the TSF newsletter.
Steve Roud


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 17 Apr 24 - 03:57 PM

Steve while I fully support most of what you have said, when I started this thread, I had no idea that there was any possibility of a new Full English website, and when you suddenly find half the information you need is somewhere else this justifies a howl or two of frustration much the same as a book you need being moved out of sight without your knowledge. Neither is it about disrespecting anybody or suggesting that the EFDSS is the 'enemy' (Where did that come from?) I suggested in my original post that I would 'give it a chance etc.' but when I contacted Reinhart and David Sutcliffe they had no idea that their links would be rendered useless. Using Mudcat as a platform for matters such as this is the nature of the forum. My original post was a plea for some sort of explanation which if you read my other posts I was quite pleased to receive. I then went on to say that I understood the situation and was wiser than before. How long would it take to gather this information directly from the library? As you rightly say it needs tweaking, and thanks to Reinhard and Richard the situation has been explained and I think we, are in a more supportive frame of mind. Most if not all of us have supported the EFDSS for decades as I am sure you are aware.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 17 Apr 24 - 04:39 PM

Since it was me who made the comment about EFDSS's turnover I feel I should respond to Steve. The accounts for 2023 show a total income of £1.481m. Admittedly it made a loss of £57.8k but it was nevertheless able to carry forward £2.777m to the current year.

Furthermore the comment was in response to Robert B Waltz's remarks about small volunteer organisations who are let down by websites created by an enthusiastic volunteers. My own organisation's income barely reaches four figures. I acknowledged that EFDSS is not flush with money, but it is in a different league from the organisations that Robert and I were comparing. The risks of putting all its eggs in one basket should have been apparent even 10 years ago, and that is why this change is now being forced on it.

As for social media, as far as I can see the EFDSS offers nowhere to debate issues with its members, so what else can they go to discuss them? Specific problems can and should be fed back to the staff, but there must also be room for broader discussion.

No one is suggesting EFDSS/VWML is the enemy. However this relaunch seems to have some significant problems and it is not unreasonable to say so. As a casual user I am not finding it any easier as the links just seem to take me round in circles.

The old site refers to the new one as a beta version. Perhaps if it had been announced as that, rather implying it is a finished product, it might have received a more sympathetic response.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 17 Apr 24 - 06:06 PM

Reinhard.... Alex is a she not a he..... Derek


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: Reinhard
Date: 17 Apr 24 - 10:33 PM

Oops! I'm very sorry for assuming (both my colleagues Aleks and Alex are male). Thank you for setting me right.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 18 Apr 24 - 02:07 AM

David Sutcliffe informs me he is slowly trawling through his 750 links on the Cecil Sharps People site. His first few entries do show that the Midi files are still available, and there are just as many search options as before. and maybe one or two more. It will take a while to get used to the system, however I must agree with Howard and others it is not an easy site to enter and navigate. I found it very helpful to go to David's links which then show what results can be achieved and more importantly for me what they look like on the screen. I then attempted to achieve the same results independently. It takes a while but it is quite possible with a bit of practice. Yes, the launch of the website was a touch ham-fisted but that has all been explained. Several users are somewhat disconcerted by the sudden alterations and have been in touch on my Email. I am hoping that Steve's tutorial and a bit of time spent practicing will allow us to master the system. Howard rightly points out that there is no area for debate on the EFDSS website and this may well have avoided several problems in the first place. It is what it is, and it is yet another thing to enter on the to do list. Hey Ho.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Apr 24 - 09:53 AM

Hi All

This is Katy Spicer, Chief Executive of the English Folk Dance and Song Society. Firstly, thank you to "Guest" for both supporting the work of my Library and Archive colleagues and correcting some misunderstandings of EFDSS' financial position.

If anyone would like to understand the details of our finances, do contact me at katy@efdss.org and I will be very happy to explain.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: EFDSS Communications
Date: 19 Apr 24 - 06:26 AM

It has been dispiriting to read comments when people could have avoided considerable anguish – for themselves, for others, and also for those of us who dedicate our working lives to nurturing and celebrating the folk arts – by simply contacting us directly. You’ll find that our Library staff are exceptionally responsive. The new website says on every page "Can’t find what you need? Please tell us!" with a link to email the Library staff. It also links on every page to detailed information about this project.

We won't address here each of the many inaccurate statements. The site underwent extensive testing by expert users: we would never have considered launching with such extreme problems as have been claimed.

If you were unaware of this long-running project until this week, please do engage with our communications channels. Since August we have been spreading the word that this change was coming. It is free to join the thousands of people who have already signed up to our Library email newsletters. Members receive monthly updates by email, and full members also receive English Dance and Song magazine in the post three times a year. You can also reach us on any of the usual social media channels, where people have been actively commenting on our posts about this project.

It is absolutely free to research the tens of thousands of records in our archives. Despite increasing funding challenges, we have every intention that this will always be the case.

Many of us who work for the English Folk Dance and Song Society also support the organisation financially. If you are not already a member, I hope that you will be inspired to join us. Starter membership is only £2 a month, and full Individual membership (which includes the annual Folk Music Journal by post, plus access to the online archive of past editions starting in 1899) is currently £58 for a year. As a Registered Charity we are always delighted to accept donations, and we offer tax-efficient giving for US citizens.

https://www.efdss.org/support-us


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 19 Apr 24 - 08:15 AM

I think we all recognise the amount of work which has gone into this, and it is understandable that staff feel defensive when it is not met with unbridled enthusiasm. Nevertheless the criticisms appear to be justified, in particular those concerning links from external websites. It seems surprising that, for example, the comments of the owner of one of the most important UK folk music websites appear to have been ignored or misunderstood.

I don't intend to plough through past newsletters, but as far as I can see there have been only three articles about this, including the recent one announcing the launch of the new website. Whilst this project may have been at the forefront of the staff's minds, for others it would be easy to overlook previous messages.

When you refer to "the usual social media channels" you seem to be unaware that for discussing folk music Mudcat is one of them. If the EFDSS has not engaged with it that is not our fault. Hopefully that will now change.

I think everyone now understands that the upgrade was necessary, but there are legitimate concerns. As an occasional casual user who is not set into a familiar way of working I find the new site less intuitive than the old one, and I can only imagine how frustrated regular researchers are to find their regular working patterns are disrupted. However no doubt many of these will be resolved as users become more familiar with the new site and technical issues get fixed.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 19 Apr 24 - 09:21 AM

Thank you Howard. Exactly correct.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: Reinhard
Date: 19 Apr 24 - 10:24 AM

As an outsider from Germany I'm not very well connected in the English folk scene and so I had been surprised by Nick's initial post of this thread about a new EFDSS website.

But all initial problems I had with links from Mainly Norfolk to the EFDSS site had been resolved very speedily by their librarian Alex Burton. Thank you very much for your help!


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: EFDSS Communications
Date: 19 Apr 24 - 11:11 AM

Thank you, Reinhard. The crucial message must be: please *tell us* if you find anything else that isn't working, and we will aim to fix it as quickly as possible.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 19 Apr 24 - 11:18 AM

Reinhard wrote: But all initial problems I had with links from Mainly Norfolk to the EFDSS site had been resolved very speedily by their librarian Alex Burton. Thank you very much for your help!

More than that, they've made the old links, so any broken links have un-broken. I wouldn't guarantee that that will last, but the information I've received makes me believe that, if the old links finally end up broken, there will be a new way to link.

Furthermore, for the Roud index at least, serious users always could, and still can, download the whole database for their own use. If this is too complicated, I've done it for you, and set up a user interface, at least for several major platforms (Windows, iOS, certain Macs).

What's more, EFDSS is receptive to ideas; one change I suggested has already been made (and I'm in America, so I'm not the core audience). But it's worth noting that mine was a friendly suggestion.

I agree with the point that posting things on social media is not a sufficient method of supplying information -- I am not on any social media networks, and don't intend to be. But the information is available in other ways -- e.g. Steve Roud posted about it on several open mailing lists including Ballad-L and Tradsong. These are not as active as mudcat -- but on the other hand, they are about actual traditional music, so they are closer to what EFDSS is actually about.

And Steve Roud is planning to hold a Zoom lecture in a couple of weeks about how to use the Roud Index at the new site. You have to sign up, but it's free.

Are there problems with the new site? Yes. I agree that it would probably have been better to consult more people. But they're trying to fix them. It will get better. Being angry, and acting as if any of us who are not EFDSS members or volunteers or contributors have some sort of right to tell them what to do, is simply not constructive.

They listen to requests -- when they are requests.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 19 Apr 24 - 12:38 PM

I haven't seen a lot of anger - frustration, yes, and concern. That's what happens with social media, people use it to let off steam. I'm seeing similar things on Facebook, which is the only other platform I use, and in fairness the EFDSS is engaging on there (which it hasn't always done in the past).

I'm sure people with specific problems are also sending them to EFDSS.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 19 Apr 24 - 07:33 PM

I wonder if it is possible for me to put a question here, with impunity. Using the advanced search options I asked for a song to be displayed with all it's variants in one county. So I entered the field as Title and typed the name of the song then attempted to add Place on additional fields. The Website promptly treated the second field as the first demand and cleared the previous form. So I tried using the Roud number and the same thing happened. I attempted it eight times with still no success. I checked my spelling and everything else. I attempted to take a look at the song listing for Frances Collinson's collection. I Pulled up the first song, and got page two of the transcription and no tune or first verse. So I went to the old system and received both answers without any trouble. I hope things will improve fairly soon. May I make a request for guidance in the spirit of mediation please? Bearing in mind were this important research I would not get a reply from the library until next week.
Also in the spirit of support and encouragement I have offered Mp3 files to the library that cover a good 60% of the tunes to the Hammond manuscripts for inclusion in the website. I will We Transfer them to the library. I hope they will be of use.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 19 Apr 24 - 08:08 PM

Nick Dow wrote: Using the advanced search options....

We may need a little time to figure out how the thing works. :-)

I would suggest you sign up for Steve Roud's demonstration session on May 5. Presumably he'll know the tricks better than the rest of us. :-)

If May 5 doesn't work for you, the other alternative really is to download the actual database, which Steve makes available as text, and use it in your own database, or to use the Ballad Index software, which has far more search options than even the online version.

As for offering recordings, you'll need to offer them to EFDSS, not here. And I'd suggest waiting a few weeks, until things are settled down.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: DaveRo
Date: 20 Apr 24 - 03:06 AM

Starting at https://archives.vwml.org/collections
I can enter
dark sailor
in the first box, leaving All the words, then select Within: Title
then select Add more fields and using the same process add into the AND boxes that just appeared
somerset and Within: Place
I ignore the date selection, select Search, and get a list of 3 documents.

Screenshot 1
Screenshot 2

It also gives me its search command which I could copy and presumably modify and enter directly somewhere:
title: (dark AND sailor) AND place_tg: xxxxxx *

Seems not too bad. I could quibble with the design but it's easier than enquiring on rail fares.

(* On this 10" Android running Firefox I can't see or copy the whole command, and landscape doesn't work - the headers are too big.)


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 20 Apr 24 - 01:00 PM

Thank you so much. That was beyond the call of duty. I'm a bit under the weather at the moment but I'll try it next week.
Kind regards
Nick


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Tiffany Hore
Date: 23 Apr 24 - 09:17 AM

Hello everyone, this is Tiffany Hore, the Director of the VWML. I'm not going to address all the points people have made here, but I just want to assure you that we will be offering training on the new site, but only once the teething problems are smoothed out. Steve's online session on his indexes will be extremely useful, so I encourage you to go if you can. I wanted to apologise that I can't be there to say anything from our perspective; I wanted to be but the dates just didn't work sadly.

It's impossible to express from our point of view how fiendishly difficult this project has been, and is. We *did* consult and test, but there comes a point when it's impossible to pick up every issue unless a much wider user group is let loose on it. It was therefore never going to be perfect on day one, which is why the old site will remain available for as long as it needs to. The key, as my colleague said further up the thread is to *tell us* if something doesn't work. Our contact details are linked at the top of the search pages inviting you to do that. We only found out about the linking issues from this thread, and as soon as we knew, we sorted it out. We listen to everyone and act as fast as we can. We haven't ignored anyone.

We haven't done everything right and are not trying to claim we have. Nobody could undertake something as big as this and get it all right. Ours is by far the most complex system I have encountered in my career; most libraries and archives have it a lot easier than us. Most companies couldn't even come close to offering what we needed to deliver. But be assured that we are all on the same side; we want what you want, and by working together we will succeed. Your comments have already improved things and we are grateful for the feedback.


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Subject: RE: New VWML Website (Full English)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 23 Apr 24 - 02:19 PM

Thank You Tiffany.


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