We've begun a major overhaul of the way the wiki stores information which should make article updates easier and possibly allow us to do some interesting stuff programmatically in the future. All transcriptions will be moved off of the master pages (or manual pages, in a few places) and shunted into their own dedicated pages from which they will be transcluded back into their previous locations. Which is a complicated way of saying that we'll be creating a single page for each transcription and then displaying pieces of that page wherever we need them. This is what we should have done in the first place, but I didn't this was possible back then (for all I know, it might not have been—that was four versions of Mediawiki ago) and we didn't have the right extensions installed even if I did.
The ultimate goal is to arrive at a point where the only content on a page is the English-language material (we'll visit the idea of moving translations onto their own pages at a later date), which will not only serve to make the code easier to read and edit, but will also make the translation engine more useful since it won't have to grapple with the transcription text when marking up a page. (Hopefully my long-suffering Spanish translators haven't lost interest after all this time that I've spent trying to get the wiki to a state where it can work for them.)
For a detailed explanation of how this system works, see the Wiktenauer:Tutorial. Since Goliath and Fiore dei Liberi are our exemplar pages for their respective categories, they get the treatment first and I've been using them to test out and tweak the model. After them, we'll be rolling through on a treatise-by-treatise basis, creating transcription pages and then updating master pages when all the content is in place.
Here's where you come in. This is a huge undertaking and will essentially usher Wiktenauer into its third major incarnation. Doing it by myself (yes, I've been using the royal plural throughout this note since it's just me working on it), this will take several months and won't be completed on any deadline. Gone are the days when I could put in 50, 60, 70 hours a week working on this. If it's going to happen soon, I'll need volunteers. This isn't difficult or technical work for the most part—I can walk someone through the process in just a few minutes—but it will consist of a lot of copypasta and repetition. (I usually watch movies while doing it to stay focused.)
(Alternatively, if you're good at that sort of thing and can develop an automated scenario for extracting and reformatting this content, I'd be very interested to hear about it. At the moment, the only automation I'm planning on is converting HTML to Wiki Markup Language for the transcriptions where I can get the source code.)
People often ask me how I learned so much about treatises, but there's no mysterious answer; this is how, looking at manuscripts for hours and hours (in my case, I'd guess I've spent somewhere above 6,000 hours) and seeing all the ways they fit together. Here's your chance to do a little of the same. Contact me here or elsewhere if you can help, and we'll talk about setting you up with a master or treatise that interests you (it's all got to get done, so why not start with something you like?).
~ Michael Chidester (Contact) 01:43, 23 August 2013 (UTC)