News about the DLL Catalog

Although other parts of the Digital Latin Library have been under active development for the past several years, development of this site has been frozen since the last update a few years ago. I haven’t updated this blog because there hasn’t been much to say. That is about to change, so I’m writing this post to let you know what’s been going on behind the scenes. I’ll write another post soon about what’s coming for this site.

Upgrading the DLL’s Server

The challenge of keeping up with the pace of technology is one of the factors contributing to the long pause in this site’s development. Maintaining the server that hosts the DLL’s site is a big part of that challenge.

The DLL’s sites were originally hosted on a virtual server supplied by the University of Oklahoma’s Vice President for Research. Part of the deal was that I would be responsible for maintaining the server. During the funding periods, I had some help with that from Alex Ward, a consultant to the DLL project. After the funding periods concluded, I kept the server going for as long as I could until its operating system (CentOS 6) became so out of date as to unreliable and potentially risky from an information security perspective. I was able to negotiate for a new virtual server in OU’s Research Cloud. The new server runs on the most recent version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux—a significant upgrade from CentOS 6! After I set up the new server, I moved the DLL’s sites there.

Reducing Technical Overhead

Like many websites built in the 2010’s, the DLL’s three sites were running on dynamic content management systems. Two were built with Drupal, a PHP-based CMS, and one was built with Django, which uses Python. Since content management systems depend on several technologies working together, they can require a lot of effort to maintain. I didn’t want to spend all of my research time on system administration and website maintenance, so I decided that it was time to re-evaluate the DLL’s information architecture.

I began with the DLL’s main site ( Since it is mostly a site with information about the DLL, it does not require a dynamic CMS. Therefore, I converted it from Drupal 7 to a static site. I downloaded the content and used Eleventy (11ty), a static site generator, to rebuild the pages. (You can read about the process on my personal blog at I built a new front end for it using a Bootstrap-based template so that it would be responsive to a wide variety of devices.

Hugh Cayless and I also converted the site for the Library of Digital Latin Texts ( from Django to the static site generator Jekyll. We’ll probably move that site to 11ty, too, at some point, since Jekyll is not very convenient to use.

Now that those two sites no longer depend on a hefty technology stack, I have been able to move them off of the server and host them via GitHub Pages.

Those two sites had to be given priority because the main site provides basic information about the project and the LDLT’s site is crucial to our mission of making digital critical editions available in a browser-based interface.

In the next post, I’ll write more about the future of this site.