Clydesite Database - The Future

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Gould
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Clydesite Database - The Future

Post by Gould » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:04 am

I am posting on behalf of a member of Clydesite and Clydemaritime who wishes to remain anonymous for now.
I was asked to convey the following message.

In the interests of preserving and growing A Clyde Built Ships Data Base.
I have provisionally engaged the services of a professional coder to build a replica of the Clyde Built web site using more stable technology this can be built as a blank database application or if Bruce is willing to surrender his data base this data can be converted and used.

I do not want ownership or profit for my self instead this project could be controlled by a committee of guardians elected by members or interested parties on possibly a two or three year rotation with no one individual holding complete control.

Annual Hosting and domain name Cost approx 120 - 150. Upgrades and technical support will be sponsored by me.

If this proposal is supported by the senior members of Clydesite and Clydemaritime and hopefully Bruce it can go ahead immediately.

Feed back welcome.

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Re: Is it the end for Clydesite

Post by mcmahos » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:14 pm

Gould

I am sure that everyone supports any sensible moves to ensure the continuation of the Clydebuilt database. The key to it is to get the existing data from Bruce, and find if it can be modified/copied into a new database programme. We are led to believe it is an MS Access database which should be fairly easy to import in to a new web database such as MySql. Bruce has never responded fully to such requests in the past (I contacted him again less than a month ago), any promises have not been fulfilled, and to the best of my knowledge no-one has secured a copy of the data.

The idea of creating a blank database does not appeal .... who is going to start again to enter up many thousands of ship names and data? The software that the main ClydeMaritime site uses has the built-in ability to allow authorised people to update, edit and control entries, and little extra cost would be incurred if we were privileged to host it, but if required, I'm sure financing could be established, given the groundswell of support.

I fail to understand the anonymity required about your contact - the way forward is to be open, if you don’t want to discuss it in open forum then there is the personal message facility.

Also, I don’t see either site as having ‘senior members’, this site has moderators as any forum must, but everyone is equal as members.

Stuart
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Re: Is it the end for Clydesite

Post by Clydebuilt1971 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:20 pm

Hi,

With regards to the blank database, is there any way that the text of each entry could be read from the actual web and translated into a database entry? All the data is on show when you search a ship and can be manually copied (including the photos). I am not up to speed on web code but perhaps (although tedious) it could be done in this way?

Rgds

Gavin Stewart

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Re: Is it the end for Clydesite

Post by mcmahos » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:46 pm

Hi Gav

As an ultimate last resort you could copy and paste text from it but it would be VERY tedious and time consuming as each line/entry would need to then be manually copied over in to each new database field. The image(s) would also need to be manually downloaded and re-uploaded. I'd surmise that it's far easier to get a copy of the database from Bruce (!) and use that.
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Gould
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Re: Is it the end for Clydesite

Post by Gould » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:37 pm

I am assured that it is a MS Access Database and can be converted to MS / SQL or MYSQL in a short time without the loss of data and a new interface created for both visitors and editors.

Copying text from Clydesite is a non runner and starting from fresh is a daunting task.

My only interest here is to preserve this database or a new one for the future, where the people who contribute the information own and control the web site, its resultant data base, stock of images and profit if there is any.

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Re: A New Beginning

Post by Arran1 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:34 pm

Gould wrote:I am posting on behalf of a member of Clydesite and Clydemaritime who wishes to remain anonymous for now.
I was asked to convey the following message.

In the interests of preserving and growing A Clyde Built Ships Data Base.
I have provisionally engaged the services of a professional coder to build a replica of the Clyde Built web site using more stable technology this can be built as a blank database application or if Bruce is willing to surrender his data base this data can be converted and used.

I do not want ownership or profit for my self instead this project could be controlled by a committee of guardians elected by members or interested parties on possibly a two or three year rotation with no one individual holding complete control.

Annual Hosting and domain name Cost approx 120 - 150. Upgrades and technical support will be sponsored by me.

If this proposal is supported by the senior members of Clydesite and Clydemaritime and hopefully Bruce it can go ahead immediately.

Feed back welcome.
Hi Gould,

Please count me in for a wee donation of the annual running costs. I figure that if 10 of us could donate £15 each year this would help keep the HUGE amount of work, not least by Bruce, but by so many others at least alive on the web thingy!

Also help morale that there are still supporters of that wonderful time of Clydesite.

Would be horrified if the virtual Clydesite ironically went the way of the actual Clyde Shipbuilding Industry.

Just one last thought.

Might it be an idea to contact the Glasgow Nautical College to see if they would be interested in a joint venture with a group of like minded supporters and volunteers from various levels of the shipping industry and the most important element thereof - the transport users! Possibly the IT department of the Glasgow Nautical College help host and grow both Clydesite and this site, with like minded other maritime websites. There might even be a Ph.D., doctorial thesis in this sort of idea for someone !

Very best regards,

Arran.

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time out images
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Re: Is it the end for Clydesite

Post by time out images » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:58 pm

i am not a member of clydesite or know anything about it, so why cant it be incorporated into the Clyde maritime site, instead of someone else building another database, website, as far as i can tell a lot of members from clydesite are members of clydemaritime
Regards Thomas

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Re: Is it the end for Clydesite

Post by Clydebuilt1971 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:10 pm

Hi again,

I was just thinking that perhaps my idea of developing some sort of code to extract the text from the existing database and insert it into the correct fields in the new one may lead to copyright issues with Clydesite. I'm not sure if that would be the case as I am not sure how Bruce stands with regards to the information contained within the existing database ie does he own the copyright or is it in the public domain?

I would be willing give a donation to any effort being made with regards to the database.

Gav

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Re: Is it the end for Clydesite

Post by yorkieman » Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:37 pm

I think the earlier conclusion on copyright is that BB ownes it legally but not morally as he created the framework but almost all the content is from others putting in thousands of hours of work.

He should, if any decency, release a copy forthwith and allow others to set it up in a format that will not require his future participation or intervention.

With regard to future ownership and covering costs, I promoted long ago setting up a 'club/society' with members whose modest annual subs could cover hosting the d/base and indeed a forum such as this, it's also my view that such could qualify as a charity and gain Gift Aid and possible grant aid. A 'Clyde Maritime Heritage Society' could embrace much more than a forum and database. It could collect objects, historic records etc., record oral history from those who served in the shipyards or at sea, in liaison with established museums etc. THINK BIG.
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Re: Is it the end for Clydesite

Post by SCameron » Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:16 pm

I'm not aware of Bruce's currrent attitude to the Database as we have not been in contact for several years.Back in the late nineties when he and I discussed getting the information online, and I sent the data that I had 'converted' from the paper sources to digital (spreadsheet), we were in agreement that access to the database should be free to all. Even in the period when 'Clydesite' became a subscription site the Database remained free to non-members. Of course, that may need to be reviewed in light of current realities but I still think it could attract funding support if it was vested with a body that had charitable status. Clydesite, or Clydemaritime for that matter, would not have access to that type of funding support.

Of course, the Database as it now exists is a much greater resource that the one that we started, which was basically just a ships built list. The vast majority of the effort to get it to its current status did not come from either Bruce or myself but to a group of very dedicated individuals who I am not going to attempt to list as I would inevitably leave someone out.

Pending the resolution of the long term funding issue, I would be willing to contribute to a fund to safeguard the future of the resource but, due to workload commitments, I am afraid I could not pledge much of my time to any such effort.

SC

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Re: Is it the end for Clydesite

Post by yorkieman » Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:42 pm

Stuart, we are of the same mind re a charitable body, you are right in saying that CS or CM would not have access to 'that type of funding support' but that's just looking at them as they are today .... CS is owned by Bruce, CM is owned by .... errr, errr .... Stuart Mc I guess as he set it up, twiddles the knobs and covers the costs!
But think ahead, either or both sites could at any time be adopted by a Society and become their websites/databases, it's just a matter of transferring the ownership of the site name and taking over the hosting payments, by agreement. I am sure that would not be a problem with CM, I cannot speak for Bruce and CS. But in any case there would be one Society with one website and database.
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Re: Is it the end for Clydesite

Post by alasdairmac » Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:51 pm

NIce to see some interest in this building up again but without BB's co-operation we have nothing, zero, zilch (unless anyone knows a geek who could hack into the site and get it for us :evil: ) Finding Bruce is where we need to concentrate our efforts for the time being and in that connection I remember that there was a Clydesite member who visited Bruce during one of his previous periods of seclusion a year or so back but I cant remember who it actually was: is he by any chance reading this on ClydeMaritime and could he bring himself to repeat his visit?

I think as Stuart has said that our hosting the database should not be an issue and with CMs's membership now at 1000+, even an average donation of £0.50 a head per annum would cover any costs by a large margin. I dont think we should even think of going down the tortuous road of seeking charity status, but as an alternative might the new Clyde Riverside Museum be interested? Clydebuilt is a unique historical record and surely should be right up their street, particularly if it's not going to cost them anything to acquire?

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Re: Is it the end for Clydesite

Post by Gould » Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:39 pm

Finance is not the issue, I mentioned the hosting cost just to show how little it would cost to run such a project and I am sure a sponsor for that little amount could be found.
yorkieman wrote:But think ahead, either or both sites could at any time be adopted by a Society and become their websites/databases, it's just a matter of transferring the ownership of the site name and taking over the hosting payments, by agreement. I am sure that would not be a problem with CM, I cannot speak for Bruce and CS. But in any case there would be one Society with one website and database.
This is the type of arrangement I had in mind, I was thinking a group of members and not a Society, but why not, I did say senior members before, by senior members I meant those who have been long time members of C-S and people who have given so much time to researching and to updating clydesite database.

I said in my first I have no interest in owning this project but will take on the responsibility of having it built, the continued tech support and getting the ball rolling.

We have zilch with out B-B , yes an approach to Bruce is the next step.

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Re: Is it the end for Clydesite

Post by mcmahos » Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:14 pm

The important factor to bear in mind is that the database is still a 'work in progress' and there can only be one 'authorised' version of it. I seem to recall BB offering it on disk a while back and the scenario arising that there could be half a dozen databases all being updated differently, which if it happened was a recipe for disaster. To that end I doubt if the likes of the Riverside Museum would be interested, unless they simply 'tapped in' to it.

The way the original database was set up was on an ad-hoc basis whereby BB created the webified version of it and then wrote some access scripts to allow multiple editors to contribute. Any future version of the database needs a more formalised level of access, but only to the degree that the 'committee', for want of a better word, all have high level access, if required, to the important files. With the existing database only Bruce has that access. With ClydeMaritime, for example, should anything happen to myself, then the current Moderators have access details / passwords etc for the webhost and site.

At present I also don't think setting it up as a charity is worthwhile - far too much work and effort for little gain. The hosting costs, as implied previously, are minimal.

I'm happy for the database to be hosted within the ClydeMaritime domains, and the drupal software I use is more than capable of hooking in to it. But I would need assistance in getting the two to talk to one another properly.

The priority though is to somehow get hold of a copy of the database from Bruce. Until then there's not a lot we can do. I emailed him on 13th October and also left a message on his Facebook page, but have yet to hear from him. Once we've got a copy, then a working group can be set up to discuss how and where it should be hosted and implemented. And after that is all sorted, a new group of editors can be assigned to it.

Stuart
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Re: Is it the end for Clydesite

Post by yorkieman » Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:38 pm

Another aspect of any public body like an existing museum becoming involved, is that they (quite rightly!) are cautious about things like photo copyrights, we all know that's a murky area with the older photos which are circulating everywhere through the internet now, but an informal group can be less 'picky' whilst always being responsive and if necessary apologetic if anyone should raise copyright issues. A museum may well say 'no photos without proof of copyright or permission', and a database lacking photos is far less useful as a historic record.
If you simply want the history of a Clyde-built vessel, just pay as small fee to access Miramar, it will even bring up a yardlist, such a thing did not exist when the CS database was created, so you have to think of how it is worth the effort to build and maintain a local one, it has to do more than Miramar such as adding engine details and a photo if available.
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Re: Is it the end for Clydesite

Post by Angus Mac Kinnon » Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:36 pm

Finding Bruce is where we need to concentrate our efforts for the time being and in that connection I remember that there was a Clydesite member who visited Bruce during one of his previous periods of seclusion a year or so back but I cant remember who it actually was: is he by any chance reading this on ClydeMaritime and could he bring himself to repeat his visit?

The person you are referring to, above, is Paul Hunter - a member of both Clydesite and ClydeMaritime. On numerous occasions Paul went seeking out BB when he was on his AWOL absences, giving of his time and expenses to see whether BB would accept any offers of help insofar as he was clearly having some bad times. Alas, despite various assurances, this achieved little, not for the lack of persistence and effort by Paul, but basically because BB did not know whether he was drilled, bored or reamed in these bad times, and cared even less.

Nevertheless, Paul stuck with it and tried repeatedly to bring to BB's attention the concern of his membership had for his personal welfare and, of course, the security and longevity of Clydesite. It was very much in vain, and as time went on to show over the next year it became clearer that BB did not want to communicate with any of the membership, let alone enter into discussions on the securing of the Database.

As those who have independently tried to make contact via e-mails, PMs, Facebook, etc., will attest, the man just didn't want to know.

I think it would be unreasonable to request Paul to go through all this again, he went far beyond 'the call of duty' already, all for nothing, and any further efforts would invariably just waste his time and expenses once more. Remember what John Forsyth has already told us on a few occasions, he received an e-mail some time ago from BB advising that he no longer had any interest in his creation - Clydesite.
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Re: Is it the end for Clydesite

Post by dougie-coull » Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:57 pm

I think it would be unreasonable to request Paul to go through all this again,
Fairly sure that Paul told me he doesn't know where Bruce is living now, and agree it wouldn't be fair to ask him again in any case ............

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Re: Is it the end for Clydesite

Post by Angus Mac Kinnon » Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:27 pm

Correct, Dougie, the house appeared to have been vacated, no sign of life when Paul was last up there looking around.
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Re: Is it the end for Clydesite

Post by From the North » Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:22 am

Correct. He has moved to unknown address in Balloch. Possibly staying with a relative.

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Re: Is it the end for Clydesite

Post by SCameron » Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:33 am

I agree that setting up an individual charitable-status organisation is probably not the way to go - it takes quite a long time and the costs of setting it up would probably outweigh any financial benefits. I was really refering to an existing trust such as the one into which Glasgow's museums. libraries and sports facilities were transferred (from direct council ownership) a few years ago - I assume it includes the Mitchell Library where a lot of material in the database came from in the first place.

Bruce is still around - a friend met up with him last month when in the area.

SC

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Re: Is it the end for Clydesite

Post by yorkieman » Wed Nov 09, 2011 7:43 am

Well adoption by any existing Trust, preferably one with charitable status, would be ideal for the d/base as long as they are happy to accept it as it is (if we ever get a copy) especially on the issue of photo copyrights which I mentioned.

Anyway, what's the point of establishing this level of detail, the only priority, as it always has been, is to Hunt The Bruce and get a copy, without which we have nothing and I can't see anyone wanting to start all over again.
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Re: Is it the end for Clydesite

Post by Magoonigal » Wed Nov 09, 2011 10:19 am

"Anyway, what's the point of establishing this level of detail, the only priority, as it always has been, is to Hunt The Bruce and get a copy, without which we have nothing and I can't see anyone wanting to start all over again."

Agree 100% George.

Its impossible to do anything without tracking down BB first.
Paul Hood.

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Re: Clydesite Database - The Future

Post by Richard D » Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:41 pm

I had a word today with Christopher Mason, who chairs the Clyde Maritime Trust, keepers of Glenlee etc. He is willing to discuss whether this Trust might assist by being the charitable body that could "own" the database. Perhaps one of you who are most involved could have a word with him? I'm happy to make the introduction if you don't know how to get in touch.
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Re: Clydesite Database - The Future

Post by Bill Harvey » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:41 am

Having read the entirety of this thread, it is apparent that there is a lot of support from members, but, in summary, I would suggest that certain actions are needed to prevent it becoming a disjointed mess.

1. Agree who will co-ordinate the activity especially if / when in receipt of the crucial component - the database.

2. Agree a nominated negotiator, so that we keep good control of the project.

3. Attempt to locate BB and negotiate his relinquishing the database and any associated information on its use to us.

Any other planning at this stage is not really necessary until such time we actually obtain the database.

Without the above being in place, there is no point in individuals making contact with others in regard to support or whatever as "egg on face " springs to mind, especially if we cannot actually obtain the database.

Bill

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Re: Clydesite Database - The Future

Post by Angus Mac Kinnon » Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:14 am

Good points, Bill, all valid and logical but, as you say, nothing can happen and there is no starting point until BB is located and asked if he is willing to cooperate and he responds positively. Until then, there is nothing to coordinate, negotiate or manage. This is where the situation is hung up, his location is not known and even if it was any incursion into his private life - a known sensitive area - might be counter-productive. All efforts to engage in contact via alternative means, PMs, e-mails, social networks, etc., have drawn a blank indicating he is not willing to communicate with his membership.

I concur with the concept of 'keeping powder dry' until such time as a solution to the main hurdle, per above, presents itself, as that could just end up wasting people's time and efforts.

Angus
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