Using AppleScript for research and teaching

Author: David Hood
Contents Page
Date: 25th August 2003

If I have to do a job once, that's fine. If I have to do a job twice, why isn't the computer doing it for me?

The Caversham Project is the largest project in social history or historical sociology in Australia or New Zealand, and one of the largest in the world. It is primarily Macintosh based. Using AppleScript has allowed the mundane minutiae of daily work to be automated, allowing more time to be spent on original research and teaching. AppleScript also enables data to be shared between applications that could not otherwise talk to each other, allowing new questions to be addressed.

A brief description of AppleScript.
For those not familiar with it, a very brief description of where it is and what it does.

Some examples of the ways in which AppleScript has been used at the project are:

Interactive transcripts.
Combining AppleScript and QuickTime can create transcripts of sound and video recordings where you can jump directly into the original recording.

Working with co-ordinates.
When recording large numbers of co-ordinates of an image AppleScript, combined with other applications, can simplify the process. The reverse can also be used to draw co-ordinates, easily making maps and charts using defined points.

Preparing text for web viewing.
Text to be web displayed may need special symbols replaced with character entities. This script does the work for me.

Distributing files for students.
The most reliable way of distributing research data to advanced students is to make it available via the web. AppleScript can be used to automatically create a linking web page for a folder of files.

Automatic trimming of scanned images.
When dealing with scans of historical records, often unwanted sections of the page are scanned. These can automatically be removed.