Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Was your relative a criminal?
I've mentioned before some of the interesting work the Humanities Research Institute is doing, and recently they launched an expansion of the Old Bailey Proceedings online. This is a great resource where you can look up details of crimes and criminals from 1674 to 1913 - there are are details of over 197,000 criminal trials held at the Old Bailey. This launch got lots of press coverage - on the BBC web site and on the radio. Of course, one of the problems with this sort of coverage is huge demand of people wanting to access the site and the load it puts on the servers. This peak often lasts only a couple of days, but if the site is unavailable, good publicity can soon turn bad! Despite having predicted a lot of interest, and having tweaked (a technical term I'm told), everything as much as we can - we were no exception - the server being stuffed (another technical term) and failing to deliver the site from very early on Monday morning.
However, our brilliant team quickly worked out that it was the database causing the problem and very fortunately, our old portal server was lying around waiting to be scrapped or sold, so the database was very quickly transfered to a new server and hey presto - access to everyone again. Thanks to everyone (especially Chris) for the speedy resolution.