Thursday, 5 May 2016

An Eighteen Year Gap

I did actually order this, in a free service online and wasn't sent it or notified. But I went searching yesterday, and found it. It's my very own Ph.D thesis. I was never able to keep it because it was created and edited on an Amstrad PCW 8256 and the reading of the 3" disks went funny. I was unable to transfer the content on to a second disk below, size of 3.5" floppy disk, as became standard. Through the post (in those days) I obtained software to change the CP/M of any disk to DOS, to contain unformatted text files, and thus transfer content unformatted to my new PC computer running Windows 95. It wasn't long before Windows 98 appeared, but was a very long time before I used Windows 98 (and that was on a second PC computer when I had Windows XP! I jumped from 95 to XP via a new computer construction and purchase). All the time my website had the MA dissertation, as I did that on MS Word via Windows 95, but only summary and derived material relating to the Ph.D. I also lost a novel on these 3" disks. I never found a temporary or any PCW or any service by which to claw back this material.

But now someone else has done it. All I can say for these hybrid Optical Character Reader (OCR) scans into a .PDF is that they allow the user to extract the real text and correct it against the image of the text. My Ph.D image shows the Locoscript font and dot matrix output. Back then I wanted to print it out myself, despite the slow printer and danger I might knacker it for page after page. I was advised before the operation that it was only just acceptable - I wanted to avoid printing it in bold. I did avoid this. It did need new ribbons however and many of them. The given tendency to overuse a ribbon was not an option. Once it had gone round once that was it - replace and the next one.

I remember the disappointment of all that effort and discovering mistakes, and my tutor just saying it's OK enough and correcting by hand. I tried for replacement pages in my copy, but this scan shows the crossing out and of course the OCR can't handle the handwritten replacement.

Anyway, here is the thesis.PDF and it is a wopping 15 mb because of all the page images. Of course I am working on a text version, with so many corrections to make. My usual method is to make a webpage of it all - very long! - and indicate where the page breaks were in the original for people wanting to use it.

My view is it is open for others' uses. Now a John Seed years earlier wrote a Ph.D thesis on the social structure and middle class culture of Unitarianism. Completed in 1981, the fact is that it contains material I have not seen before (as well as some I have). The link I give to it is where I found it, but I have produced extracts relevant to Hull on a webpage and that is where the link is found. I note that this Ph.D was typed, and had some inserts for missing Part 1 and Part 2 titles. The text scan underlying it isn't too bad but far from mistake free.

With these updates I have taken the opportunity to remove the Learning Area Sociology of Religion menu links to Social Science only, and my own academic work with Ph.D is more accessible now. In Social Sciences my academic work used to jump (and still can) to an explanatory page for a list of items. This was an inheritance from the website in its earlier days.  Now the Religion area is more purely Religious Education and its subsets, including Theology and the Social Sciences section has a more immediate menu of this material.

I am aware that some items can appear in several sections. Local religious history could appear in Religion, History and Localities. There are some multiple menu links but mostly I try to keep with one. Nevertheless some rewritten Leonard Chamberlain material is in the Localities Area because it is about places where he functioned and where his legacy continues. A rewritten piece on the Charity of Chamberlain is in the Localities Area. History I want as much about issues of doing history as well as about history.

1 comment:

Fechangku Chen said...
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