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Updates, errors, bugs, etc

Link from Laetus article to Kairos document
Correction and update strategy
Addition of new documents to Kairos
Errors due to article formatting
Unresolved issues
Related overviews
Technical considerations

Conversion from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7: The Kairos facility has functioned successfully within the Drupal 6 content management system for 7 years. A much delayed necessary upgrade to Drupal 7 has been implemented since January 2017. The process of doing so has left a number of relatively minor issues unresolved. These include breaks in some documents due to formatting issues during the import into Drupal 7. In particular totalling of numeric fields in search results is no longer working. It was considered more appropriate to avoid delay in the upgrade to Drupal 7 and to repair such issues at a later date (with others which may become apparent). With respect to errors related to formatting, users are always able to revert to the original document on the Laetus-in-Praesens site.

Link from Laetus article to Kairos document
From the original PHP article on the Laetus-in-Praesens site, direct access to the corresponding Main document in Kairos has now been enabled in a test mode. A user login / password is not required at this stage. No additional facilities have been enabled for authenticated users. No comment facility has as yet been activated.

In contrast to the approach most commonly used in content management systems, the document names in Kairos can be identified in relation to the original PHP article (file) names in the Laetus collection of articles.

Correction and update strategy It should be stressed that, unlike many content management applications, the approach to the relationship between the older Laetus system and the management of documents within Drupal is understood here as involving a progressive and iterative approach. The relationship between the original PHP article and the extracted Kairos documents indicates the following strategy for repairing detected errors and adding new documents from Laetus as they are written:

  • Content errors: Repair in PHP article and delay replacing Kairos variants. This notably applies to spelling and erroneous treatment of special characters.
  • Bibliographical errors (author names, etc): Repair in PHP article and give priority to overwriting Kairos documents of References and Authors types, since these can be handled relatively independently of the other Kairos documents
  • Navigation link errors: Consider repairing certain links immediately by editing the Kairos documents in anticipation of any correction to the program extracting them from the PHP articles
  • Presentation of document titles: The titles of some parts of extracted documents are preceded by a number which results in less useful alphabetical title sorts. Such issues can be circumvented by tweaking the Drupal Views.
There are of course possibilities within Drupal to extract and generate some additional records, by-passing any suspect conversion from the original PHP articles. These remain to be explored -- notably with respect to new documents.

Addition of new documents to Kairos It has become apparent that it is relatively easy to import new documents from Laetus as they are written, if the impact on certain record types is ignored. The current strategy is therefore:

  • Citations of other documents in Kairos Checklists of links to other documents can therefore be added with no difficulty. However indication of the backlinks to the new documents will be postponed.
  • Citations by other documents in Kairos Checklists associated with older documents will not indicate any link from any newer document -- and must await a more extensive update.
  • Citation of non-Kairos references Such checklists can readily be imported, however the links to author records not already present in Kairos will be postponed until a more extensive update.
  • Authors not previously cited The addition of these records will be postponed.
  • Updating of existing author records These records will not be updated if they are cited by the newly added ddocument.
This approach means that updating can be done more frequently. Note that the possibility of keyword searches on newly added documents may compensate for some of these deficiencies.

Errors due to article formatting Some errors in the Kairos documents are fairly obvious and basically call for no special comment here. They derive from formatting and other errors in the original PHP articles (some dating back to the 1960s) -- from which the Kairos documents have been extracted by program, dependent on such formatting. They will be gradually eliminated when detected and as occasion permits. Links to PDF versions may be provided, especially where digitization may have left unresolved errors.

Significant errors may occasionally arise due to any exceptional complexity in the original PHP article and the consequent failure of the conversion programs to take appropriate account of them. When such errors occur they primarily affect the links between Kairos documents, but not access to them.

If in doubt, follow the [All] navigation link back to the original PHP article in Laetus.

Unresolved issues:
  • Document summary links (TOC): These are the links typically to be found before the introduction (in "DocMain", namely the first part of a set of documents composing the original PHP article), to other parts of that set ("DocPart"). Currently these links are in most cases functioning correctly -- except where the structure of the original article is especially complex, notably with indented references to other parts of a document. In such a case, further work remains to be done.

  • References from within documents: References within the body of the text may be of several types:
    • Navigation links between documents (Next, Last, etc): In some cases, these links are out of phase with the table of contents list (TOC), notably in relation to "Last" (resulting in "page not found").
    • Bibliographical references: Repeated with more detail in the relevant references record -- and possibly in more correct form (as noted below)
    • Newspaper and other web references: Typically not repeated in the relevant references record, notably in the case of blogs of unidentified authorship. This can be considered a limitation, if not a "bug".
    • Links to other Kairos documents: Extracted and regrouped in a checklist of separate records citing that document("Citfrk"), or cited by that document ("Cittok"). The checklists cite the main document of the set ("DocMain"), but not the part in which the citation otherwise appears ("DocPart"). This can be considered a limitation, if not a "bug". A possibility remedy is use of a separate checklist ("Kx").
    • Links to documents not yet incorporated into Kairos: Particularly from Encyclopedia commentaries. These may refer to documents which could have been imported into Kairos. In this case the links currently go back to the original. This may be notably apparent from the commentary checklists for individual sub-projects. This can be considered a limitation, if not a "bug", especially in the case of images which are not retrieved for the document.
  • Listing and sorting Kairos documents: These Drupal facilities (Views and Views Calc) will continue to be developed as described in Navigation facilities. At this stage:
    • an earlier issue of sorting of columns of numeric fields has been resolved. This now allows for totals and averages in many instances. Attention is required to any selection (inadvertently) made, when using these results, or they may be misinterpreted.
    • trivial document titles, most notably "Conclusion" have not as yet been suppressed from listings, as can readily be done.
  • Bibliographical references: The conversion of the bibliographical References at the end of many of the PHP articles into those in Kairos has been the occasion for extensive reformatting and the insertion of links to author names. This conversion was quite dependent on standard formatting in the PHP articles, notably since surname was placed after first name in Laetus articles (initially to facilitate early web searches).
    • Where the formatting is non-standard or incorrect, the results in Kairos documents are unpredictable. Some errors of this type remain to be corrected, although a number of the earliest PHP articles make extensive use of a mix of notes and bibliographical references which it is not intended to reformat.
    • A known issue is publication titles terminating with an interrogation mark, leading to failure to detect authors correctly -- as is evident in reference checklists.
    • There is clearly a widely-recognized issue with the variants in author names, including use of initials or not, as well as potential confusion with authors having the same name. These have been partially corrected for the most common differences in frequent author names cited in the PHP articles.
    • Details of publications (year of edition, publisher, etc) may vary with their citation in different PHP articles on different occasions. This is apparent in the summary records by author and results in erroneous publication counts since all variants are listed -- even the most trivial. It remains to be determined whether further effort to correct this is justified.
    • References without an appropriate author. These will necessarily appear as obvious errors calling for correction. A particular issue relates to articles derived from the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential (based on articles on the Laetus-in-Praesens site).
  • Formatting and font issues:
    • Document size: Issues arising from the large size of a few PHP articles have not yet been fully resolved in all cases. The articles are then incorrectly handled and some documents may very occasionally even be truncated or absent from the Kairos collection of documents.
    • Image size: Some included images may be incorrectly formatted in terms of size within the Kairos presentation. This is an issue yet to be resolved. Alternative text indications have yet to be added, as with the PHP collection of articles.
    • Accented and special characters: These may be evident in article titles in the PHP version. They pose a problem in the Kairos version where the field may be sorted to facilitate access. They have therefore been (provisionally) stripped out. This may also apply to the names of authors of documents cited in References. Unresolved issues may arise from texts quoting material from external documents containing special characters. Some of these issues relate to associated conversion of the original articles to the UTF-8 standard, notably required by Drupal.
  • Access to documents via topic: This facility is operational as described in Topics / Subjects -- via which document access is provided. Subject access has yet to be enhanced using the extensive Drupal taxonomy possibilities. The legacy facility currently in place has long been used with a form of automatic tagging on the Laetus site. It is as yet unclear whether the Drupal taxonomy possibilities can be adapted to some of the subtleties of that legacy system. In practice this means that currently it is not possible to makes searches by topic or by combinations of topics.
  • Duplication between Laetus and Encyclopedia documents: Since many Encyclopedia documents are derived from Laetus documents, however the former may have been adapted, reformatted or supplemented, a degree of duplication may be apparent from the titles. At this stage it is not clear whether this merits any attention. Missing however is any link from the Encyclopedia document to the Laetus document from which it may have been largely derived.
  • Highlighting document distinctions: One category of documents from Laetus, held as "musings" may call for cautionary distinction (perhaps by page colour) since they tend to be humourous, provocative, "irresponsible", or especially speculative,
  • Unforeseen errors: It is to be expected that errors will become apparent resulting from failure to anticipate issues in the conversion program.

Related overviews The following are also accessible from the left-margin menu:

Technical considerations

As described in more detail in the Content overview, the documents on this Kairos site derive from a set of articles held in PHP format on the related Laetus-in-Praesens website. These typically longer "articles" have been split into the shorter "documents" imported into the free and open-source content management system Drupal. The version currently used is Drupal 6; active experiments are underway to upgrade to Drupal 7

  • Conversion by program: The approach taken to the conversion of PHP articles into Drupal records is one which reflects the biases of a programmer exploring solutions such as to avoid manual copying of portions of those articles into the content management system (CMS). The challenge was whether the conversion could be extensively ensured by program, notably in order to extract other information and build that into other records to be imported into the CMS. The intention was therefore to build many of the CMS records prior to importing rather than endeavour to generate additional content types within the CMS facility. The approach was framed in this way because of extensive expertise in manipulation of text with a DOS-based application -- and little expertise in the PHP-related programming required for the CMS.
  • Article formatting: Advantage was taken of the fact that the PHP articles were in a format which had remained standard and stable over decades, since first placed onto a website (in HTML format) in the early 1990s -- with articles from earlier periods being adapted to that format as they were digitized. The key factor enabling conversion was the presence in those files of HTML title delimiters defining the sub-titles of what could then be split out as Drupal records. The conversion challenge was defined such as to avoid any additional mark-up to facilitate the process, using programming "tricks" to circumvent anomalies. This could well be described as a less than efficient process (if not stupid!), but it did offer some nice programming challenges for someone anxious to avoid manual manipulation (at all costs!).
  • Character issues: Working with articles published as early as the 1960s has required a degree of flexibility in adapting the conversion to handle characters which pre-date the currently favoured UTF-8 standard. Some of the articles are in French and other languages. Many make use of accented and special characters. Although the conversion process enabled some of these anomalies to be "corrected", these issues have not been completely resolved (as noted above).
  • Retaining relationship to original version: The conversion challenge was also seen as a means of preserving a degree of complementarity between the PHP articles in the Laetus facility and the variant on the Kairos facility. The intention was not to switch to writing articles within the Drupal CMS, since it was more convenient to continue the process of writing/editing of the PHP variants within the Laetus facility using Dreamweaver. This was one reason for using record (node) identifiers within the CMS based on the original PHP file/folder name -- rather than switch to a numeric node identifier as is commonly the case for a CMS.
  • Augmenting access possibilities: A major motivation for exploring a CMS variant was to segment the longer PHP files (some over 150k) into more "readable" forms as CMS records. This was seen as particularly valuable in that the sub-titles attributed to the HTML title-delimited segments were interesting to extract in order to benefit from the Drupal Views facility.
  • Benefitting from extensive hyperlinking: A significant characteristic of the PHP articles is the degree of hyperlinking between them. The conversion was designed to derive further information from this pattern of links, notably by generating "checklists" of citations "from" and "to" the CMS records. Unfortunately, as noted above, the links have been enabled to the "main" document introducing a set, and not to the individual documents of the set. This could be improved in the future.
  • Constructing records for import: Building the various CMS record types prior to import, rather than depending on (absent) Drupal skills to manipulate the basic imported documents, has meant that new record types can be created and populated as required in order to enhance the CMS facility. Of particular interest are those relating to the pattern of links.

  • Drupal node import: Of interest in the strategy adopted is the constraint imposed by the current state of development of the Drupal "node import facility". Basically the options available for updating any node of a particular content type by the import process are to delete such nodes individually, or in a batch process (VBO) -- and then to import the corrected set of nodes into the IDs thereby made "free". The provisions for "overwriting" a node, without prior deletion, are still in an (advanced) development stage within the Drupal community. In practice this means that it is easy to batch delete all the bibliographic reference records, or the associated author records, and then to re-import a set generated from PHP articles after corrections (in the light of errors that became apparent from Drupal sorts). The advantage of the node naming system is that the links to the other documents are not affected by this process since the pointers from those documents remain valid.
  • Revision strategy: This comment clarifies why it is more tedious to update the main document set (in contrast with any associated records). Issues are expected to arise from ensuring a degree of synchonrisation between the Laetus version of documents and their Kairos equivalent -- given that amendments will tend first to be made on the Laetus variant and replacing single sets of records poses a particular problem in Drupal 6. It is expected that a more flexible revision strategy will be possible -- now that the upgrade to Drupal 7 has been implemented
. Other issues will no doubt persist.