Draft of FAQ for NINES Submissions

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FAQ: Submitting Projects to NINES

If you are at the very beginning, wondering where to start . . . .

You may have a scholarly edition or some edited texts for which you have not been able to find a publisher, or perhaps you would like to make available some manuscripts or reviews concerning an author. Here are the steps you should take:

1. Find out exactly what kind of technical support you will have available at your institution, either through an academic research computing unit or your library or library school. In general, computer science departments do not offer support for faculty. Some Computer Science schools have faculty working in the Semantic Web who are interested in large data sets: if you are planning to create a database, you may wish to contact your Computer Science department. Also, find out what kind of student help you will have and what level of expertise your helper might have. Often students (even undergraduates, even English and French majors) know more than one might think about coding and programming.

2. Before meeting with your support group to discuss your project, storyboard your site: if any scholar in the world heard the title of your site, what would they expect to be able to come to it to do? What research questions would they be asking, and what features would you site need to be able to answer those questions? By storyboard, we really mean, draw pictures of what it will look like, ideally. What would you click on where, and what page would that bring you to? What would you be able to do on any of those subsidiary pages?

3. If textual files are to be a component of your site, representations or editions of printed texts or manuscripts, you will need to decide how to code them. You should visit http://www.tei-c.org and http://www.mla.org/cse_guidelines (scroll down to V. Electronic Editions in the table). Here you will see arguments for using the xml application that has been developed by the Text Encoding Initiative Consortium (TEI for short). TEI has the advantage of being used by many scholarly sites. Widespread use promises longevity for your edition or resource.

4. Using an XML application of some sort for your text documents will enable you first of all to code descriptively. That is, you will describe the elements of your text so that, no matter what new technology appears on the horizon, the presentation of the text is tied to its content. That is, instead of an HTML page which has indented lines in it marked off by indent codes, you could have a coded poem that tells exactly where stanzas begin and end, where line-breaks appear setting off lines of poetry, and how much or little those lines are indented; you could even add metrical analysis to each line. Furthermore, XML allows you to create many texts out of those coded files. Using XSLT scripts, you can transform those files into:

  • i. Comma-delimited files for database entry
  • ii. Metadata documents for many uses (MARC, NINES rdf, Dublin Core for OAISter)
  • iii. HTML pages for web presentation
  • iv. Other kinds of xml files depending upon your needs (RSS, e.g.)
  • v. Even pdf files for easy printing

5. If you do decide to use TEI, you might consider taking a TEI Workshop or a NINES summer workshop to learn more about how to code texts and how to manipulate them after they are coded. Inform your support personnel of what you wish to do: they may send questions to: Laura Mandell, Associate Director of NINES; mandellc@muohio.edu. They may also consult the NINES Wiki: http://www.patacriticism.org/wiki

If you have HTML pages and a site that is up and running . . . .

If you have a digitally-born resource that you would like to submit . . .