Scotland, Canada, William Blake, More: Saturday Morning Buzz, March 7th, 2015


The FDA has launched a mobile app to provide information about drug shortages. “The app identifies current drug shortages, resolved shortages and discontinuations of drug products….App users can search or browse by a drug’s generic name or active ingredient, and browse by therapeutic category. The app can also be used to report a suspected drug shortage or supply issue to the FDA.”

WordPress is now offering a security white paper. “The white paper is an analysis and explanation of the WordPress core software development and its related security processes, as well as an examination of the inherent security built directly into the software. Decision makers evaluating WordPress as a content management system or web application framework should use the white paper in their analysis and decision-making, and for developers to refer to it to familiarize themselves with the security components and best practices of the software.”

Princeton University has digitized its Godefroy Engelmann proofs and samples albums. “The publisher and printer Godefroy Engelmann I (1788-1839) had offices in a number of locations, including Rue Cassette No.18, Paris (1817); Rue Louis-le-grand No 27 à Paris (1827); Rue du Faub No.6, Montmatre, Paris (after 1829); Paris & Mulhausen (1826); 66 St Martin’s Lane, Strand, London (1826-7); 92 Dean Street, Soho, London (1827-9); and 14 Newman Street, London (1829-30).” Stunning examples of early chromolithography.

A new Web site lets people search for pets available at animal shelters, rescue groups, and breeders (PRESS RELEASE). “’s database of available pets – the most comprehensive anywhere – allows pet lovers to find a pet their way. For example, when searching for a pet, they can choose to search just for breeders, shelters or rescues, or a combination thereof for maximum results. Petcha’s unique functionality also allows pet lovers to filter results by gender, breed, size, coat color, eye color, tail type, coat length, age, sex, or energy level. Additionally, they can search by pet or organization.”

Library and Archives Canada have put up a small-but-lovely album of travel photography from the 19th and early 20th century.

Now available: a memorial for projects abandoned by Google. It’s in French but the gist, it is easy to get.

Historic Scotland has launched an online database of 400 artefacts.

The Blake Archive has added a new section for back issues of the Blake Quarterly journal. Currently issues from 2000-2009 are available. As far as I can tell the issues are free.


This weekend, access to FindMyPast records is free!

From Edudemic: 5 Ways Google Tools Can Make Education More Exciting. Nice ideas here.


If you’re an old-school user of TweetDeck, like me, be told: it is switching to Twitter logins on 31 March.


Small Business Trends takes an in-depth look at Big Picture, a data visualization tool for Excel 2007 and up (unfortunately it’s Windows-only.) It looks delicious. I would love to find something like that for Gnumeric.

OpenDNS is prepping a new tool to find malicious domains before they’re put to extensive use.

From the Washington Post: Google’s quest to make art available to everyone was foiled by copyright concerns. Good morning, Internet…

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The People of Medieval Scotland Catalogs Over 20,000 People

Hat tip to for the article about The People of Medieval Scotland, a new site that catalogs people — the Web site describes them as “all known people of Scotland” — in documents dated from 1093 to 1314. It’s available at

People of Medieval Scotland

You can search the database by factoids, sources, places, or people. You can also adjust the date range for your search. I did a search for Campbell and got
15 results, from Arthur Campbell, knight (father of Arthur) to Thomas Campbell, knight. The names are clickable; doing so takes you to a small preview window. Clicking that takes you to a list of “factoids” where that person is mentioned, divided into tabs.

For example, you might look at Patrick the Archer and review his mention in three associated factoids, including what looks like the transfer of his lands to someone else: “King Edward [I] establishes to Robert [de Keldsik], abbot of Holm Cultram, land worth 300 marks yearly, namely in Grieston, the lands of the late Robert de Ros of Wark, a rebel; in Scotland, the lands of Richard of Glen, Patrick the Archer…”

I said “what looks like,” because this is a very academically-oriented database and I’m not up on my Scotland history. An “Information” tab on the site has an excellent FAQ, with pointers to a glossary, a timeline of this period in Scotland, royal family trees, and some educational resources. There’s an “interactive labs” section for schools which unfortunately I could not access despite using Chrome (one of the supported browsers.)

Open the glossary in one tab and have a browse. And I hope you have more luck with the labs than I did.

National Library of Scotland Post Office Directories Collection

Doing some research in/about/for Scotland? The National Library of Scotland has the Scottish Post Office Directories site at This site has over 700 digitized directories spanning 1773 to 1911.

The directories are browsable so you can, if you wish, page through them, but searching is available as well. I found the online browser mechanism slow, but the NLS also offers the ability to download the directories. And that is why I have a copy of “Pigot & Co.’s new commercial directory of Scotland for 1825-6” sitting on my desktop, but man, that 169MB was a slow download. (You can also download high-quality individual pages as well, if you don’t have hours to hang around.)

Search allows you to search the first several letters of a last name, a place, and a year. (There is an advanced search as well but I thought the basic search enough, as long as you can narrow down by year or place.) A search for Cal, covering 1871-1889, found 821 results. Results are presented in a gallery with a thumbnail of the relevant directory, and a link to take you to the page where the partial name is found. Click on that link for a larger version.

What you’ll get depends on the directory. Looking at the Inverness County Directory from 1887 I found names, addresses, and yearly rent or values, while looking at the County Directory of Scotland from 1872, I found names, addresses, and in many cases occupations. For the most part the scans were excellent and easily readable, but I did have a problem with the “Royal national commercial directory and topography of Scotland” from 1872, as it was pretty faded. Downloading a high-resolution single page fixed that, however.

If you just want to get a sense of what’s available in the collectoin, the NLS has put together a few goodies for you. There’s a pointer to several pages of advertising in a Glasgow directory, a page from the 1809 Dundee directory, and a directory title page. An about the directory section gives you a good overview of what you might find (and why it might be wrong.)

A fascinating collection. Worth a browse but I recommend downloading anything you want to do a lot of research on.

Records of Children’s Hospital Treatment, 1883-1903

There’s a new a Web site of records that chronicle the treatment of children at the Glasgow Hospital for Sick Children from 1883 to 1903. The site is part of the Historic Hospital Admission Records Project and is available at

The site now has about 120,000 records, of which the recently-added Glasgow Hospital records are one-tenth. At the front page you can do a first and last name search as well as a year of birth (exact or a range). I did a search for John Smith, no birth date. I got 60 results, of which 20 were available (all are available if I register/log in. Registration is free.) Search results include admission date, age, name, health issue, registration district, and the institution (the key for registration abbreviation is available at the top of the search results.) Some search results had case notes associated with them but you have to be logged in to view those.

I took a look at an 8-year-old John Smith who was admitted with rheumatism. The details page included personal details, details about the admission and length of stay, information about the health issue, admission date, and the outcome (in this case cured.) If you’re logged in and can view the case notes, they’re viewable page-by-page on the site or which can be downloaded as a single PDF file.

For more background on the records behind this site, check the About page, but also take a look at the Academic Resources page, which will give you pointers to some historical context, and the extensive and fairly well-annotated Links List.

New Online Database for Gaelic Place Names

Thanks to for the pointer to a new guide on Gaelic place names.

The National Gazetteer of Gaelic Place Names is located at and is available in English and Gaelic. Currently it contains information on about 1000 Gaelic place names throughout Scotland. You can do a simple search by keyword, and advanced search (across several fields) or view all place names from A-Z.

I did a search for Glasgow. I got an information page showing the Gaelic name (Glaschu) and meaning, along with information about the location including location and local authority, elements (“G/P glas, ‘green, grey’ + *cu, ‘hollow'”), and pointers to external resources and more information.

In addition to the Gaelic names database the site also has some Gaelic maps, guidelines to Gaelic place names and orthography, a link list, and a blog (with one entry so far.)