Hub contributors are on the map!

Here at the Hub we have been working on creating a Google Maps mash-up for the past few weeks, and it is finally live on the Hub and accessible from our repositories page at

It uses an XML document that lists each contributor with their latitude and longitude in order to create the markers – you can see the XML page at if you are interested in such things.

The main HTML page simple links to the XML page and includes the script and information about the map itself.

I tried doing this first of all just using the instructions and examples given on the Google Maps API but after a fairly lengthy process of creating the document (I didn’t find the instructions that easy to get my head round) I ended up with the mystery of the disappearing markers…I found that when I displayed the map random markers would appear at different times. So, i would refresh the page and Exeter disappeared, refresh again and Aberdeen disappeared!

After struggling with this problem and posting to the web-support jiscmail list to get some help, which was unfortunately not forthcoming, I abandoned that approach and found another site that offered a better Google Maps API tutorial. This showed me how to create a simple XML document with each element containing the label, link and co-ordinates for the contributor.

I ended up with a lovely map, displaying all the information correctly…but I had been viewing it in Firefox browser, and when I tried in Internet Explorer I got half a map that was centered around the middle of France! So unless we quickly introduced some contributors from the continent, it was looking rather odd. I could only seem to solve this by abandoning part of the Hub navigation in order to lessen the number of tables that the map was contained within, and that did the trick for IE.

We can add further information and images to the map if we want to, and if we find we have the time to do this, but we are quite pleased with our first attempt.

Sharing made simple

Tomorrow Jane and I will be taking part in a course for archivists who want to find out more using technology to interact with users and colleagues in new ways. Jane has organised the event with Brian Kelly, who works for UKOLN and maintains the UK Web Focus blog.

I’m looking forward to hearing more about The National Archives’ wiki, which has recently been launched to the public. Jane and I went along to its internal launch in Kew last year and were very impressed. It’ll be interesting to see how many contributions have been submitted from members of the public.

If you are attending the event, feel free to post comments here to let us know what you thought of the day and whether you plan to implement any of the technologies that we’ll be looking at.

BBC 2.0

BBC2's opening night logoThe Archives Hub’s funding body, JISC, held a one-day conference on Tuesday in Birmingham. One of the keynotes was by Tom Loosemore, of the BBC’s Future Media and Technology section. The slides and notes of Tom’s talk on the fifteen Web Principles of BBC 2.0 are worth a look.

The image of BBC2 on its opening night has been taken from The Ident Zone. The logos from the BBC’s own site can’t be shared on the web (cf. Principle #13).