Friday, 18 July 2014

Oracc 3 Released

On behalf of the Oracc Steering Committee--myself, Eleanor Robson, and Niek Veldhuis--I am pleased to announce the appearance of Oracc 3, the most important visible feature of which is a reimplementation of the main browsing interface (the "pager"). The pager has been streamlined and rewritten for improved stability and many more changes have been made under the surface to support Oracc's next moves, including the creation of new dedicated servers, one at the University of Pennsylvania and the other at University College, London.

For help on the new user interface, click on the query icon, or see .

To access additional resources from the pager, click on the plus icon.

The documentation has been extensively revised by Eleanor Robson, and the portal implementation has been reworked by Ruth Horry to be responsive to different sized media such as mobile devices. Niek Veldhuis has provided extensive feedback and testing over the last year which has yielded many improvements.

In addition we encourage you to follow Oracc on various social media platforms--just click on the FaceBook, Blogspot and Twitter icons at the foot of the home page, / .

As usual, please report any bugs to me,

Portals on ESP2

For Project Managers with ESP portal sites

All portal sites on Oracc now need to be in the new version of ESP, called ESP2. If you need help in converting your site, please contact your project liaison.

ESP2 differs in several ways from the old version of ESP. We have made these changes primarily to make it easier to use Oracc on small screens such as phones.

Help pages have improved

All Oracc help pages are now written in ESP2 and have been revised and restructured to make them easier to use. But the documentation is for you! So if anything doesn't make sense, let me know, and I will try to improve it.

Some highlights to draw your attention to:

Style guide
Clearer, more comprehensive advice on good practice
Project URLs
How to link to Oracc pages that are outside your own project
Embedded content
How to embed static content (search bar, corpus stats, video, twitter feeds, etc.)

Minor changes to the schema

If you edit your ESP2 site on Emacs (strongly recommended!) you'll need to download and install the new schema as described here to make sure your xml files are valid.

Changes to where files live

ESP2 is now the default website software on Oracc, so the xml files have been moved up to the top level of 00web. Configuration files such as structure.xml are now in 00web/00config. To make uploads and rebuilds easier, images and static downloads such as PDFs and KML files are now store separately, in 00res/images/ and 00res/downloads/ respectively.

In other words, the directory structure is now:


For full information, see the new Oracc help page on ESP folders.

Tabs and image maps have gone

The tabs on the right-hand side of old ESP pages have disappeared. If you want to link to external sites from the left-hand menu, you can use <struct:link> to do so.

Many old ESP sites used image maps, especially on the front page. Image maps do not shrink to fit small screens so we have removed this functionality but the images used in the image maps have been kept. All links must now be text-based.

You should delete the <param:tabs> element and its contents from your 00web/00config/parameters.xml file.

For more hints on this topic see the new Oracc help on Links and Site Parameters.

Headers have gone

We have removed the header above the main title — with links to pages such as Access Keys, Site Map, Text Size, Privacy, Web Standards, Credits & Copyright, etc.

We now recommend that you make these available via the main menu instead.

Edit your 00web/00config/structure.xml to add:

<struct:page file="about.xml" id="about" accesskey="6" type="page">
    <struct:page file="404.xml" id="404" hide-menu-link="yes" type="page"/>
    <struct:page file="accesskeys.xml" id="accesskeys" accesskey="0" type="page"/>
    <struct:page file="cookies.xml" id="cookies" accesskey="7"  type="page"/>
    <struct:page file="accessibility.xml" id="accessibility" type="page"/>
    <struct:page file="sitemap.xml" id="sitemap" accesskey="9"  type="page"/>

and remove the old <struct:page> elements for these pages from the file. (They may have different names, e.g., standards.xml, copyright.xml.)

For more information see the new Oracc help on Site Structure and 00web/about/.

Footers need to change

All Oracc sites (and indeed all websites) need to comply with European Union law on notifying users about the site's use of cookies. We therefore strongly recommend that you change the content of your header. To do this, edit your 00web/00config/parameters.xml file so that the <param:footer> element looks like this:

<param:footer>The [NAME] Project at <esp:link
url="" hide-print="yes"></esp:link> / 
Content released under a <esp:link
rel="external" hide-print="yes">CC BY-SA 3.0</esp:link> licence, 2013-14<br/>
<small>Oracc sites use cookies only to collect Google Analytics data. 
Read more <esp:link page="privacy">here</esp:link>; 
see the stats <esp:link url=""
rel="external" hide-print="yes">here</esp:link>; opt out <esp:link
url="" rel="external"

Changing [NAME] to the name of your project.

For more help on parameters.xml see the new Oracc help on Site Parameters.

Some About files need to change

Again, this is about making Oracc's policy on standards, legal compliance, etc., a bit clearer. Download these template files and edit them to suit your project:

  • 00web/about.xml
  • 00web/about/accessibility.xml
  • 00web/about/cookies.xml

Then place them in your project's 00web and 00web/about folder respectively.

appearance.xml has disappeared

You now choose the fonts and colours for both portal and corpus in 00lib/p3colours.txt. For details see the Oracc help page about web colours.


You can now rebuild the portal and the corpus separately:

  • Use the oracc build portal command to rebuild the portal;
  • Use the oracc build corpus command to rebuild your corpus if you have one;
  • Use the oracc build project command to rebuild both.

If you have added new images or downloads to your site, you should run oracc resources before you run oracc build portal in order to copy the new files to the right place on the webserver.

See the help page on the Oracc command for more information.

The new rebuilding process is documented on the Oracc help page

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Project passwords for Oracc 3

If you are the manager of a project, please contact your liaison to obtain a temporary new Oracc password. You will not be able to log into your Oracc project without it. There is no hurry to do this: please wait until you need to use your project account again.

Logging in for the first time

Even if you and your project editors normally access your Oracc project using Emacs or Aquamacs, the first time that each of you logs in after the password change you must use Terminal or PuTTy in order to initialise the secure connection. Instructions are on the Emacs Setup help page.

In addition, depending on your computer's security systems, Terminal or PuTTy may tell you to delete your known_hosts file, and will tell you where to find it. To delete this file it is easiest to use Emacs: type ctrl-x ctrl-f and enter the filename (on Macs it is ~/.ssh/known_hosts). Simply delete the contents of the file, save and close it. Then go back to Terminal/PuTTy and try the log-in again.

Changing the password

On your first successful log-in you should change your temporary password into another strong password. It must be:

  • at least eight characters long
  • composed of a mix of upper and lower-case letters and/or digits and/or punctuation (i.e., at least 3 of these 4)

When you have decided on a suitable password, type passwd at the Terminal prompt, then follow the instructions. You will be asked to type the temporary password first, then your new one, twice.

In Oracc 3, you do not need to share your project password with your liaison, as they have their own passwords which allow them to work on your project when needed.


If you have any problems or questions with the initial log-in, please contact your liaison.