Day 2 of my summer research leave
The plan for today was to gather all documents which have something to do with the edition, then list an overview of the files and their contents and create a README and a data management plan to continue the Ethica project so I don’t have to redo all these steps again next time.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to work from home today and take care of something else, so this didn’t happen. The little time I had to work on the project was used up by setting up my private laptop for the tasks. In 2019, I transitioned from working locally and occasionally using GoogleDrive or similar cloud-based storage systems to working with Git and GitHub for most of my projects. This helps keep files and stuff synchronised even when I have to work from home – or, in the worst case, have to access my files using the GitHub platform.
However, it turns out that I haven’t been using my private computer for a while, and so it needed the dreaded updates to run Git. This led to a cascade of updates, and when I finally had set up everything I needed, I went online and checked the contents of a project repository which I hadn’t cloned to my local environment yet.
On GitHub, every repository has an information block displaying the most used programming language. What surprised me was that this repo had “Jupyter Notebook” highlighted. What on earth did I use a Jupyter Notebook for when creating XML transcriptions of early modern books? A quick look revealed that the notebook was created during a workshop at the Huygens Institute in The Netherlands on February 12, 2019. The topic was collating textual witnesses using the CollateX package for Python. Right! I remembered that I had started doing some tests with the transcriptions of the prefaces of several editions of the Ethica. I read the code and installed CollateX on my private computer.
By now, you should have an idea of where this is going. I wasn’t able to. I followed the instructions and updated Java (of course, every time!), but I only ever got this error message:
Error: Unable to access jarfile collatex-tools-1.7.1.jar. I spent an hour following suggestions on fixing the problem, but I could not get it to work.
Having CollateX running is not vital to the project at hand; it would probably have been a major distraction. But this stuff is so frustrating! When I teach the basics of coding, I also talk about how to help oneself when stuck and to build resilience and a higher frustration threshold. But we’re only humans; sometimes, even a relatively high threshold isn’t enough. I give up for today. Java issues are a problem for future me. I need some calming tasks to finish my short workday today, so I will spend the remaining 45 minutes tidying my Zotero project library instead.