Website Update (Autumn 2019)


(Based on an item published in DA News, Autumn 2019)

It’s been a year since my last report and I’d like to start with a few figures…

Statistics

Our new website has been online for two years. It now has about 650 pages and we plan to continue to grow the content to provide a service to our members and also to help make more people aware of the DA.

In the last year we have had almost 20,000 visits (by humans!) to the website and our visitors have stayed on the site for an average of four and a half minutes. About three quarters of the visits come from people searching for Devon-related content via one of the internet search engines (mainly Google).

The most popular section of the website is Events, closely followed by the Devon section. In the latter, we have republished 70 papers from Transactions (out of a total of 2,500 – so there’s some way to go!). The most popular papers are “The Secret of the Fosse Way” by T. J. Joce (1915) and “The Old Devon Farm-House. Part 1” by Charles H. Laycock (1920), both of which have been looked at more than 500 times. Plans are afoot to publish the remaining two parts of Laycock’s Farm-House papers. [Update: see here and here]

Copyright

We can republish Laycock’s papers because he died over 70 years ago (in 1943) so his work is now in the public domain. As reported last year, copyright is one factor that has so far prevented us republishing most of the papers in Transactions onto the website, though time and resources are important factors too! The copyright of a paper in Transactions belongs to the author if they are still alive, or if they died after 1948, it belongs to their heir(s).

Can I repeat last year’s request that if you have had any papers published in DA’s Transactions, or you are the heir of someone who did, and you are willing for the work to have a new life on our website for educational purposes, we would be very grateful if you would let Bridget, our Registrar, know. Many thanks to those who have given permission in the last year – the results are already online: see the list of contemporary content, here.

Transactions Index

You may not know that there is a general index to all the contents of our Transactions up to 1968 (that’s 106 years’ worth). It was compiled by A. A. Fursdon and was published in four parts between 1957 and 1969. We have now made all 588 pages freely available online – it is a 38MB pdf file and you can download it here.

If you’re wondering why we can publish this but not scholarly papers, it’s because the DA owns the copyright of all its material except for authors’ papers (per DA Rules 46 and 47).

Book Reviews

We have just started a book reviews section. There are several reviews in the pipeline; some are published elsewhere in this issue of DA News. We will also be publishing selected older reviews over the coming months as we think they are potentially useful to researchers. The reviews are listed here.

The mystery photo – solved!

Mystery photo solved

Last autumn we asked for help in identifying a group photo. It was finally determined that the photo had been taken at Sidbury Manor during the 1935 Conference held at Sidmouth. The tall arched yew hedge at the top of the wall is what finally gave the location away: the hedge still survives today. Thanks to those who contributed to solving the mystery.

WebCollect

Our new membership system is now fully operational; new members can join online and existing members can renew membership via the website. Many people took advantage of the new facility to book online for the 2019 Symposium and we’re already working to make the more complex process for booking for our 2020 Conference as simple as possible. We plan to offer online booking for other events as well, though we have no intention of making this compulsory.

John Maltby
DA website administrator