TAPAS Development Meeting: University of Virginia, May 14-16, 2013

The TAPAS development group met recently for a face-to-face meeting at the University of Virginia, hosted by Raf Alvarado and SHANTI. The emphasis of the meeting was to look at feedback from our beta testers, and the meeting was timed to follow the beta-testing period just concluded. Before the meeting we produced summaries of the beta-testing feedback to provide analysis of particular topics and areas of the service: 1) exploring TAPAS as a reader, 2) setting up a user account, 3) establishing a project, and 4) adding collections of TEI materials. We were impressed with the quality of the feedback we received—warm thanks to all of the beta-testers who participated! The information we received was really valuable. One area that received special attention was the tools for exploring TAPAS. In the beta version that users tested, this included both a “Search” interface (with some faceted refinement of results) and also a “Browse TAPAS” interface that attempted to give users an overview of TAPAS projects, collections, and texts. From the feedback we received, it was clear that a more advanced and functional search mechanism was needed, and also that the “Browse” capability needed to provide a better exploratory environment, one that can continue to provide meaningful browsing mechanisms as TAPAS scales up to include hundreds of projects and thousands of texts. In addition to the discussion of testing and the prioritization of tasks, we included two development sessions in which the group split up to focus on making progress on a few key areas. One group tackled a set of user-interface issues that were straightforward to fix. Another group worked on user documentation, including the instructions provided on the interface itself and also a draft “Quick start” guide to orient new users. A third group worked on finalizing the document that describes the proposed relationship between TAPAS and the TEI. At the end of the meeting, we prioritized the next steps for development over the coming months. These included implementing a more advanced search and exploration interface using SOLR, further developing the reading interface (including the development of a better set of stylesheets), and developing a further phase of beta-testing for the fall. During the summer, we will continue beta-testing in a more informal way, requesting feedback on specific features or updates. The site will be under active development, so users may find things changing underneath them from day to day. If you’re interested in signing up as a beta-tester, please register here: http://bit.ly/ufjOFO/ We will send you information about how to participate.