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Sunday, June 15, 2014

working without TJS

By now, anyone reading this knows that The Jerry Site (TJS) is no more.There's lots to say about that, and more to do, but not right now.

How do we replace TJS in engaging Garcia on The Side?

Short answer, we don't. It had some functionality that is not replaceable by any current resource.

http://jerrygarcia.com/ (JGC) is the current best source. It has the setlists and lots of other info from TJS, and can be a major improvement insofar as it allows commenting. That was a crucial lacuna at TJS, and it will allow "us" to put attendee recollections and such to the relevant shows much more efficiently than TJS could. I hope it becomes a focal point for first person accounts, comments, and lots of other things about Garcia shows.

But JGC doesn't allow the same kind of easy textual and chronological navigation, "just the data, ma'am," that TJS did. The artifice of moving pictures and moving product is obscuring the data underneath. I understand why that's the case, and as a consumer it's great - as a scholar, though, I have to lament it.

Here are the following functions I'd like to see at JGC.
  1. Much cleaner, table/text based display by year, fewer pictures and more data per page
  2. Automatically sorts chron, which for some mysterious reason JGC's current display doesn't seem to do?
  3. Clickable to any date.
  4. Clickable venue, so that a click returns the list of all shows played at the venue. (TJS had this for a time, but it went away some years ago.)
  5. Clickable city, as just above.
  6. Clickable state, as just above.
  7. Provide a toggle filter for GD, non-GD, both
  8. Searchable for song, returning results at TJS did - summary statistic (e.g., 189 times played), with tabulation of all shows.
  9. Better personnel metadata, searchable by performer; this all includes guests. The band data at http://jerrygarcia.com/band/jerry-garcia-band/ are cool, and the timeline is exceptionally useful. I need to explore it more. But the personnel data are essential to preserve for future social network analysts.
Anyway, I hope they continue to refine the site. It looks great, and it can be mindblowing if further improved.

In the meantime, here's a tiny hack to make our lives easier: if you use their date format, you can enter dates at the end of URL and get where you want to go. In other words, easier search-by-date operation than the clunky clicks you have to undertake at the current site. The basic format is https://jerrygarcia.com/show/yyyy-mm-dd

For example:https://jerrygarcia.com/show/1983-05-31

This resolves to https://jerrygarcia.com/show/1983-05-31-roseland-ballroom-new-york-ny/
. So I can find individual dates reasonably easily, which was not possible at TJS.

Anyway, let's keep the conversation going about what needs to be done to ensure that we limit backward movement in accessibility upon TJS's demise.





1 comment:

  1. The inherent design problem with JerryGarcia.Com is that it is not scaled properly. Most artists, even venerable ones, have a few dozen albums and some events on their timeline. The design of JerryGarcia.Com would work for, say, Warren Zevon. However, when GD and JG dates are combined, there are 4000 dates to sort through, and asking for a "date range" can be overwhelming. People like thee and me know our Garcia dates pretty well, but most people--even big JGB fans--don't have encyclopedic command. So picking a wrong date range forces them to wade through a huge sequence of pages that they can't navigate.

    The design assumption of JerryGarcia.Com is an essentially social one, namely that people will want to navigate to a popular page. That would be logical for Warren Zevon, in that the discography page would effectively default to Excitable Boy. However, the GD/Garcia history is so vast that time is the only plausible sorting criteria that can narrow the results down to a usable number.

    My principal wish is a list of recent comments, sortable by year of show. If someone has an interesting comment about a 1972 show how would I know? Alternately, if I pose a question, how will anyone who knows the answer ever see it? Beyond luck, of course.

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