The Spirituals Database regularly receives updates when new recordings or minor edits are made to items. However, when major changes are made that affect visitor experience with the database, I will try to note those updates here.
As mentioned on other pages, The Spirituals Database is a project that sprung from research for a soon-to-be-published book, Recorded Solo Concert Spirituals, 1916-2022. For a time, the database was updated as the book research proceeded; however, work on the latter stages of the book (and a glitch in the platform that supports the database) forced me to suspend updates to the database. By the time the manuscript was submitted to the publisher and attention shifted back to the database, the entire database needed minor (i.e., fixing capitalization of titles) to major (i.e., reconciling content and adding new items and hundreds of images) updates.
After consideration of the scale of the work involved, I decided the best thing was to start over with a new site and a very similar domain, spiritualsdatabase.com. With the assistance of Grinnell College’s Vivero program, we spent the fall of 2022 undergoing a step-by-step process of assessing the extent of the problems with both operational functions and content, then repairing and/or updating as necessary. I launched the new site with a sample of items in order to test the database and made a number of adjustments in the appearance and available features. By the time I received the final book proofs from the publisher, I was ready to upload the entire contents to the database. However, two things were apparent. One, I needed to delete all of the old content from this site so the search engines would not continue to point to it, and I realized the import of the new contents would be equally as involved for the old site as for the new one. It would no longer be worth the inconvenience to visitors who had been kind enough to link to the old domain to ask them to start using a new one. Therefore:
- www.spirituals-database.com is the once-and-future domain for The Spirituals Database, with www.spiritualsdatabase.com pointing automatically to that site
- the database’s old contents have been deleted in favor of updated contents that reflect Recorded Solo Concert Spirituals, 1916-2022
- new tags that further categorize spirituals’ text have been added
- items referenced in Recorded Solo Concert Spirituals, 1916-2022 have received a searchable identifying number (i.e., R0001–all are four numerals starting with R to make them distinctive from other numbers in the database) corresponding with the track number assigned in the book. Items added to the database but not included in the book received the entry NIB (not in book)
One annoying–at least to me–glitch that remains is the display of several hundred URLs that are not active from their pages and may require a manual, one-by-one fix. If so, I will probably not be able begin working on this until early March 2023. In the meantime, I’m afraid it will be necessary to cut-and-paste the displayed URLs into the browser to access the referenced site.
The annoying glitch mentioned above is gone! After securing a mini-grant, I was able to contract with a programmer who manipulated the Omeka database so that all of the inactive links are now active!!