Announcing WordSeer 4.0

We are announcing WordSeer 4.0!

The software for WordSeer is available online as open source at this location:

Several improvements over version 3.0 are found in the new release:

  1. A unique interface for specifying which parts of the metadata associated with an XML file to include for processing in WordSeer. Custom code processes the XML and allows the user, via a visual view, to select which parts to include within the tool. This software is significant in its own right and could be useful for other projects within and outside the digital humanities.
  2. Installation scripts for both mac and windows operating systems. Users can now run the software directly on their laptops, as well as on a server.
  3. Software to allow users to keep track of projects, including creating and deleting new projects, along with the generated XML processing files.
  4. Improvements in the graphic design of the interface; the look and feel are modern and more streamlined.

The software infrastructure was significantly changed to replace MySQL with SQLLite. The motivation for replacing MySQL was to make installment easier, not requiring the intervention of a system administration and allowing one-click installation. The PHP code in the backend was replaced with python using the SQLAlchemy framework to interface between the database calls and the javascript code in the front end.
(The Stanford CoreNLP code that is imported uses Java, but it has a python wrapper.)

The transition was completed, and many software issues from the original code were fixed. Much of the functionality from the PHP version of the code was transferred (with some exceptions — annotations, sets, and some visualizations). However, the current version of the code does have performance problems when loaded with collections beyond a moderate size. It also retains a significant number of software bugs. It is hoped that the “many eyes” of the open source community will be able to figure out and fix the open issues.

Three new videos have been created to demonstrate the functionality of WordSeer 4.0. They explain:

  1. The installation process for a Mac computer.
  2. The new functionality for loading an XML-structured document directly into WordSeer.
  3. How to use the features of WordSeer 4.0 after an instance has been loaded.