Announcing LKL’s new K-Lit Hub

Typical K-lit library

I haven’t been posting much on LKL recently. That’s not because nothing’s been going on. On the contrary, there’s been plenty of exhibitions to review, online film festivals to attend, and some real-world foodie events to enjoy. In fact, I have a longer than ever writing backlog, which I shall do my best to backfill.

So why haven’t I been writing anything other than posting the bare minimum of event notices?

Partly, it’s been incredibly busy at work. But outside of work I’ve been focused on building a new section of this website, and it’s kind of taken over my brainspace.

Announcing the K-Lit Hub, that took over my life for the past six weeks or so.

At night, my brain has been working out how best to add the new information to this website’s SQL database in a way that’s consistent with the existing data structures, and how to write the queries to pull together the reports that I hope you will find useful. By day (sometimes, during those boring moments that arise during Zoom calls) I’ve been writing and testing those queries, researching the best WordPress functions to use, browsing online geek forums for solutions, coding the new pages of the website, and of course populating the database with the new data elements.

Initially, I’ve focused on post-1900 Korean prose literature in translation, published as hard copy books. But the project will inevitably expand to pre-modern literature and maybe poetry, and to non-fiction titles that interest me. It may also try to provide a directory of translated stories that are available for free somewhere on the web. The project is delivering

  • A directory of literature reviews on LKL, KTLit.com and Tony’s Reading List (already built)
  • A database of publications so that you can track down which anthologies include that particular short story you want to read (already built)
  • A list of upcoming publications that we’re looking forward to, both fiction and non-fiction (already built – but feel free to continue to tell us publications we haven’t spotted).
  • Lists of recommended titles in various subject areas (work in progress – check the menu items under K-Lit Hub)

You can navigate to the hub on the home page via Channels => Books or via More => K-Lit Hub. You should also see the K-Lit Hub option in the top-level menu bar when you’re reading most book-related pages such as this one (yes, I built context-sensitive menus during my 2019 redesign).

Like most things on this site, there’s so much detail that you’re best off browsing on a desktop PC. But when I rebuilt this site I made sure that things should display roughly the same whether you’re browsing on smartphone, tablet or PC. The only difference is that with smaller screens the menu becomes a hamburger, which means you need more clicks to get where you need to go.

For the moment, I’m calling the new feature the K-Lit Hub, reflecting its literature focus. But who knows what I might change the name to in due course.

I’ve now completed the intensive build phase, though no doubt I’ll continue to tweak. And of course I’ve kind of committed myself to keeping the database up to date with new publications.

It goes without saying with any project of this nature that a huge debt of gratitude is owed to Brother Anthony and his website, which provided a lot of the impetus and raw material for this project. That site is a treasure-trove.

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