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Robert West Project


Philip L. Crossley

Associate Professor of Geography

Project Description

The purpose of this project is to allow users to type in keywords and search through thousands of Robert West's pictures in order to match the keywords with the written description of the pictures. The project is mainly finished and needs the following completed or changed:

Currently Working On

  • ...


  • Fix the pagination Links
  • Find out why and remove the blank option in the country drop down list
  • Replace the banner image
  • No pictures are available at this time. If no picture is available for uploading then a default picture will be uploaded stating: "actual image not yet available, click for full info"
  • Replace the directions page located inside the ruby project with a page easily accessible by Prof. Crossley
    • I changed the link, if you need to see the old driections page you can go here
  • Add some directions to the search page
  • Allow user to search text & country, only country, and only text
  • Fix the approximations
  • Add a drop down list that is generated from the different countries located in the database. The user has the option of choosing a country to narrow their search results.
  • Fix the search method. If more than one word is entered into the search field the results include everything including word ONE and everything including word TWO instead of everything including word ONE and TWO.
  • Some of the words that users will be searching for include diacritics and the search form will not allow a user to type diacritics. One reasonable option is:
    • Add a separate column to the database that includes the words without the diacritics. When the search is conducted we will also search this additional column. This will produce a more accurate search including all the diacritic words. When the results are generated the original words with the diacritics are posted. This will allow users to search words with diacritics without typing the diacritics.

User Story

A user can access thousands of Robert West's pictures by entering keywords into the search field. If the user is having trouble using the site he/she has the option of clicking a link that will bring them directly to a directions page, which will explain everything they need to know to use the site. Once the search is performed a results page will be generated listing several pictures and characteristics of the pictures including location, description, and more. There will be a thumbnail of the picture located to the left of the characteristics that is also a link. The user can click on the thumbnail, which will take them to a full description of the picture and there will also be a larger version of the picture available for viewing.


  • How about putting in a 'sample' image that will show up for all results, either one of mine, or one of Dr. West's (I'll ask for one), instead of a generic "Image not available" graphic? And could the text read, "actual image not yet available, click for full info."-Philip Crossley
    • I can do that. Once you get me the image I will create a thumbnail and write "Actual image not yet available, click for full info" over the image. The naming convention for the images will need to be agreed upon before I start writing the code.
  • I like your proposed solution to the diacritic problem.. But, how will the extra field in the database be created? Do I need to do that beforehand, and if so, can you suggest a process that will allow me to search for words with diacritics, and then put those words into the extra field (and can it contain multiple words for each record (similar to the Keywords field?) without having to type them all in myself? The words with diacritics still have to be associated with the record in which those particular words are found, right? Or can your software do this search and build the extra field with the results? -Philip Crossley
    • I believe you said that the search can't find words with diacritics in it, so being able to search for the words in order to make the new column will not work. Yes, the extra column can contain as many words as you want in it. Also, if you would like to add other keywords to this column you can also do that. Each picture already has a location, description, and other fields associated with it. All I will be doing is adding an additional field to each picture that stores the words without the diacritics. When the search is performed it will look inside all the fields including the new field to match the keywords.
    • I will try to figure out the easiest way to do this. I am not sure what it is off the top of my head.
    • I will write code that will create a new column for each picture. I will then search the current document and find all the words with diacritics. As I find a word I will remove the diacritic and replace it with the correct character. When a user enters a word or phrase I will first search for diacritics and replace them if necessary and then perform the search on all of the columns in the database. This will solve all of our problems.