Elegy - a painting by Frederic, Lord Leighton, about 1889

Welcome to the microscopic part of the internet devoted to me. If you were looking for any of my pages in January–February 2012, apologies that they were offline for a few weeks owing to an unexpected need to move servers. I’m not a great one for blowing my own trumpet, so please don’t expect to find my life history or a blog here. (That’s not me on the right there, either! However, you can contact me if you wish.) I suppose I’m one of the old school of private people; or else I’m just getting lazy! Instead of blowing my own trumpet on the web, I spend time and intellectual effort here in blowing other peoples’, chiefly the following three :

a website devoted to the work of the singer Eddi Reader
the Ladder : a Henry James website
a fairly large collection of e-texts and indexes of the famous American writer who lived mostly in Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries
a small Denis Mackail website
some pages about this charming English novelist who wrote in the 1920s, 30s and 40s

I've also put together a page about one of my favourite obscure bands, The Indian Givers. As you’ll have spotted, my main interests lie in the musical and literary, but, after an upbringing in a south-east London suburb, my degree at the University of Birmingham was in maths and music (BA [combined honours], II-ii in case you wondered). From the late 1970s I worked for that institution as a library assistant, librarian and, subsequently, technical analyst in library IT, until mid-2005, when I felt they were messing me around too much and left. Since then I have been freelancing my IT skills and working on my research interests, although, more recently, with work in short supply, I have returned to UoB working on their project to add all their pre-1972 acquisitions to the computer catalogue. The websites listed above were hosted at the University of Birmingham until its policy was changed in 2004 so as to support only official university sites. With the kind assistance of a friend, they were moved to a commercial server and I have continued to develop them as time has permitted. My artistic interests are not, however, confined to the above trio and also include: renaissance music, with a particular research project on structure and number in the works of Thomas Tallis, the Tudor composer; all things Victorian, especially paintings (as illustrated above right), transport and sexuality and social development; and, for recreation, radio and television comedy in Britain.

preserved LSWR N15 class 777 Sir Lamiel (photo on flickr.com)

Outside of the humanities, I retain some of my youthful enthusiasm for transport generally, particularly railways, buses and canals, although now with the emphasis on their technical and social effects. In particular their use of publicity as early examples of nationally active companies appeals to me. I have a decided partiality for the London & South Western Railway and its successors, including the Southern Electric third-rail system.

On the IT side, my interests grow naturally out of my former life in the world of academic libraries. Because of this I can see both sides of the information conundrum: the place of history in the future. On the digital library side I am particularly involved in digitisation of literary texts – see the many on my Henry James website the Ladder. I also delve into metadata handling, non-text materials, the future of DRM and copyright, and user research. On what I like to call the analog library side – that is, the continuing validity of (historic) print materials and the ways IT can best serve this – I have many years’ experience in extracting and interpreting management information from library management systems. I aim to further these interests, and contribute to the answers, through my Adverita consultancy service (link coming soon).

As an anti-monopolist, I am a supporter of open standards and open source software, so I won’t have Micros**t products in the house if I can avoid it! This site is maintained from a computer running Linux and through network services provided by the UK Free Software Network. (Now I really must see about finding a non-Windows server for the websites which had to find a new home suddenly in 2004.)

While I have your attention (assuming you’ve read this far!), may I commend to you the excellent web metasearch engine IxQuick. This Dutch service aggregates search results from various major web search engines, without logging your user details – now it doesn’t even record your IP number.

When my sites were hosted at the University of Birmingham, I had some pages analysing the word games on the Countdown television show. They analysed the word games in almost all shows from 1997 to 2000 inclusive, so were getting rather out of date and I didn’t migrate them in 2004. However the format of each round hasn’t changed at all, so I hope to mount them on the web again at some stage.

May I also encourage you to get titbits of UK news though the satirical magazine Private eye, of which I am a long-time subscriber. On a similar theme, I may get around to writing up my ‘grumpy old man’ page for public consumption in the future.

Finally, I’d like to thank David for his help in getting these sites up again after their enforced closure in 2004 and in migrating them to a new server in 2012. He still doesn’t have a homepage as such, but if you want to make him happy, go out and buy a Pat Metheny Group album!… he’s an even bigger fan of them than I am.

Don’t forget, you can email me using a special contact page if you wish

Adrian Dover – February 2012