Okay so I disappeared for a while, mostly because I've been trapped in a small cupboard (with a java/netbeans-enabled computer) working on the project. Well, maybe.
Anyway, today's news is:
1. Lots of work on the research side of things has been done. Almost 95 surveys have done - Thank you so much if you have done one! (And if you haven't, please complete the survey!) Books and papers have been read, including plenty of rather complicated ones to do with Latent Semantic Indexing/Analysis and some rather more interesting & surprisingly helpful (for personal reasons as well as for the project) books.
Two books I've read recently are: 'Wired for Ministry - How the Internet, Visual Media, and Other New Technologies Can Serve Your Church' (2004) by John P. Jewell (see my interesting/amusing quotes post), and 'High-Tech Worship?: Using Presentational Technologies Wisely' (2005) by Quentin J.Schultze.
I don't really have time to go into too much detail on these books, but basically, Jewell's book was very practical and advocating balancing technology with theology; while Schultze focusses much more on the theological/liturgical reasons for (or not) using technology in worship. I found Schultze's book incredibly useful for myself as someone who leads music in a church, as it helps to ask questions and place worship in a wider liturgical perspective. As for what it says about technology, its biggest contribution is to discuss why it should or should not be used, rather than just why it is or is not used.
2. The next increment (and more!) of PSALM can be unleashed on the internet! Originally, the plan was to do 4 increments, focussing on:
- Song organisation system
- Theme recognition & search facility
- Transposition & capo features
- Setlist/song recommendation tool
The first two are complete, and the third has been evaluated to be utterly pointless (as it only involved one, or maybe two at a push, dropdown boxes to transpose a song) and was amalgamated into the first two. So by this plan, the first 3 have all been done. I am also pleased to announce that work on the setlist 'increment' has begun already with the GUI having been re-designed from the prototype/first increment layout to look much closer to the final design mock-up drawn up in the project's early stages. This means that a very basic setlist builder is already working and included in this release. Take a peek at how PSALM 2.5 looks in the image to the right (click to enlarge).
So rather than releasing this version of PSALM as a particular increment, here is the deliberately-ambiguously-named PSALM 2.5! (ZIP file, 236kb)