With the latest update of eMargin we’ve made some changes to the way permissions are transferred to a text from a group. This has enabled us to add IMS LTI links, which can be used with many Virtual Learning Environments to enable seamless transition into eMargin.
Previously the link from the group to the text determined the access permissions on that text for all of its members. Now, the access level that a user has in a group will become the access level that a user is assigned in the connected texts (with the possibility to set a maximum level). We have updated the instructions for setting up groups and texts to reflect this.
eMargin can be used to code elements of texts in a precise manner, especially by using tags to categorise annotations. You may then wish to use those codings in other tools. To facilitate this we have added a XML export feature to eMargin.
In the Admin section of each Text you’ll now find an Export Text option. You can choose which annotation features you would like to export (the text, comments, tags, permalinks or everything). The XML will then be generated. The format is a small twist on TEI, in the namespace http://emargin.bcu.ac.uk/tei.
A regularly requested feature for eMargin is the ability to delete a text or group. We’ve now updated the tool to enable this. Go to the ‘Text Admin’ page of a text you own and you’ll see a ‘Delete Text’ link in the left-hand menu. You’ll be asked if you’re sure before anything happens. Please be careful as you will also delete all annotations, comments, tags and colour information associated with the text.
In eMargin groups are used to control who can access a text. Users may be members of multiple groups and may wish to limit the annotations displayed in a text to just one of them. Now, you can do just that:
The above section can be found in the sidebar when viewing a text. Click the ‘Switch’ button to open up a list of your groups to choose from, or choose ‘Any Group’. The displayed highlights will then be limited to that group. Also, when filtering the annotations by colour, tag or other search options, only those from within the group will be displayed.
This group setting is also set when a user accesses a group page. This is useful when you have separate groups of students, who will see only their own group’s annotations when they subsequently access a text.
We’ve also made some improvements to highlighting on touch-screen devices. Users may drag over the text with their finger tip to highlight words and phrases, just as they would with a mouse. Similarly you can drag open annotations around using their title bars. To scroll the page just touch in the white space elsewhere. Many touch-screen devices will be recognised automatically, but you can also change between selection methods using the Preferences button in the sidebar:
Just a quick update to tell you about the recent changes we’ve made to eMargin.
Firstly, we’ve added a ‘Show only my annotations’ button so you can quickly hide everything other than the annotations or comments that you have written.
Secondly, in the texts and on pages where your texts are listed, you’ll see a little notification circle telling you if there have been any updates to the text since you last viewed it.
We’re always taking suggestions for new features and if you’d like to add yours then either use our feedback form or comment on this post.
In recent weeks we’ve attended the BAAL Discotech and ICAME 33 conferences to give presentations about eMargin. Given that our previously available presentations are a bit out of date, I’ve put together the essential elements of the presentations we gave at those two events.
We we’re very encouraged by the reception of eMargin at both events and will keep developing the tool for use by linguistic researchers (well, that’s what we are after all) as well students and teachers in many other text-based disciplines.
You may have noticed that the interface to eMargin has changed recently. We thought it about time we replaced the functional style of the initial version with something cleaner and generally prettier. We believe these changes will have a positive effect on the usability of eMargin too. Navigation should be simpler and annotations should be easier to read. Of course, we welcome your thoughts on our changes so please let us know what you think.
The recent changes are not solely cosmetic though, with additions to the back-end designed to enable some features which we’ll be launching soon. These include integration with VLEs, more detailed histories, named layers of annotation and other text analysis tools. Watch this space…
We’ve recently added some features to the eMargin text uploading system. When you go to the Upload Text page you’ll be given the option of:
- Uploading a file from your computer. Just choose the file in the Open File window and upload.
- Fetching a text from a web page. Enter the URL of the page and eMargin will fetch it and convert it ready for annotation.
- Copying and Pasting into a text area, just like before.
Your upload will be presented to you before saving in case any alterations are necessary, or you want to add any additional information.
This is made possible by the absolutely marvellous Apache Tika project. It means you can upload just about any file that contains text (e.g. Microsoft Office files, OpenOffice files, PDF, RTF and HTML) and it will be converted to text for eMargin to store and enable annotation. Extra information such as the title and author of the text will also be extracted when possible.
We hope these options will make it even easier to get started. Feel free to give us your feedback about this and any other eMargin features.
eMargin gives you various ways to control texts and groups. It allows you to manage which users can get access to the items you create. To help teachers set up groups and texts we’ve written some instructions, which you can find here:
eMargin – Setting up groups and texts – Instructions for teachers
We’ll be reviewing the processes described in this document as the project progresses, if you have any feedback please let us know…
With the recent updates to eMargin came the addition of a touchscreen mode. Let me just tell you a little about it.
Normally highlights would be made by dragging the mouse over the words you wish to annotate. However on touchscreen devices this isn’t possible as the drag action is normally used for scrolling. So we created an interface that instead uses a series of clicks (or touches).
First, touch the first word you wish to highlight. Then a little box pops up with options to either:
extend your highlight
or annotate that single word.
If you choose the later, the normal annotation box opens up. If you choose to extend your highlight, then touch the last word you wish highlight and the annotation box will appear.
You can write your comment, add tags, choose a colour and save your annotation just like normal.
If you touch an existing highlight, information about that annotation (such as tags) will be displayed and a third option will be available:
which opens the annotation.
Finally, you can move the annotation pop-ups by touching the title bar, then touching somewhere else on the page to place the annotation there.
We plan to do further experiments with tablets, trialling eMargin in active situations where you need to carry your annotations with you, for example: actors reading their annotated script. We’ll also be thinking about other improvements that can be made to the interface for different scenarios.
(Updated 19/07/2012 with new user interface screenshots)