[r-t] Of complib.org and ringing.org

Don Morrison dfm at ringing.org
Tue May 31 18:16:43 UTC 2016

It's come to my attention that Mark Davies asked a question during the
Compositions Committee's report at yesterday's Council meeting about the
relationship between Graham John's Composition Library and ringing.org.
Here's my view.

When a few years ago Graham announced he was starting work on this project
I said I'd be happy to contribute what help I can to getting compositions
from ringing.org into it. A few weeks ago, as the initial version of
Composition Library was settling down he wrote to me about the subject. I
sent him a copy of the contents of the database underlying ringing.org's
composition collection. My understanding is that Graham had little
difficulty in reconstituting it into a MySQL database on his own machine,
which was gratifying.

Of course, the real work will be taking these formatted compositions, which
are really just free form text, albeit with at least a little regular
structure to them, and turning them into whatever more detailed structure
Graham uses internally. Though I know nothing of the details, I'm sure it's
a difficult problem in general, though perhaps for some large subset of the
compositions from ringing.org it may prove eventually tractable. My
understanding is that Graham is currently thinking about how best to do
that, possibly even making some practical progress.

I remain willing to help in any way I can, the primary impediment being I
don't really have as much free time available as it would require to do
much. But what I can do, I'm more than willing to. At the very least, if
Graham reaches a point at which it would be helpful, I can easily arrange a
regular dump of things from ringing.org to him. This is particularly easy
for me, as it is essentially what I do to the Council's ICT Committee
already, which they then store for backup against future disaster. Of
course, if anyone else has use for this data, I'm happy to provide it to
them, too.

If, in the future, Graham's Composition Library supplants the peals
collection on ringing.org I won't be in the least disappointed. Similarly
if the Council's Compositions Committee one day decides it prefers putting
things there rather than on ringing.org. My interest in maintaining the
stuff on ringing.org, apart, of course, from as a place to host my own
compositions, is as a service to the ringing community. If that community
comes to find that Composition Library meets its needs more than ringing.org,
all the better. In fact, Graham has already saved me a bit of work as he's
doing some things similar to things I'd had at the back of my mind to add
to ringing.org, and now I have a good excuse not to bother! Also, I'm
interested in eventually figuring out a way to easily add my own
compositions to Composition Library -- given my obsessive/compulsive
tendencies and the high volume flow of callings that is their result, I
hope no one takes this as a threat!

I think it reasonable to presume that both will continue to exist in
parallel for at least several years, likely much longer.

Don Morrison <dfm at ringing.org>
"All men have an equal right to be informed on all that concerns
them, and none of the authorities established by men over themselves
has the right to hide from them one single truth."
        -- Condorcet, _Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress
             of the Human Mind_, tr June Barraclough
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