A New TEI Lite Project: The Pauling Student Learning Curriculum

This past Friday we launched a new project about which we’re pretty excited.  As described in this press release, the Pauling Student Learning Curriculum is geared toward advanced high school- and college-age students, and is applicable to the teaching of both history and science.  As the press release also notes, the large amount of illustrative and hyperlinked content included in the website makes this a resource that should be useful to teachers and students anywhere in the world.

The history of this project is a long and interesting one.  The curriculum itself was originally designed nearly ten years ago for use by visiting fellows of the Linus Pauling Institute.  Over time, the content that was developed for the fellows program was repurposed for use by a University Honors College chemistry class that conducts research on the Pauling legacy every Winter term.  For several years we’ve been planning to post the text of the curriculum online, thinking that doing so would assist those chemistry students whose busy schedules preclude their spending an optimum amount of time in the Special Collections reading room.  It eventually dawned on us that the curriculum could actually be expanded into a powerful resource for use by teachers well-beyond the Oregon State University campus, and we’ve been developing the project with that goal in mind ever since.

The bulk of the curriculum is devoted to an abbreviated survey of Pauling’s life and work, presented in chronological order, and grouped under the following headings:

Throughout these sections, we’ve linked to any applicable objects that have already been digitized in support of our various Documentary History and Primary Source websites.

The curriculum also includes a series of instructions on “rules for research” in an archive.  We feel that this is especially important given the youth of our target audience, and hope that it will likewise provide for a positive introduction to the in’s and out’s of conducting scholarship with primary sources — an oftentimes intimidating process for researchers at any level.

The website itself is built with TEI Lite, which we’re using more and more in support of small but clean webpages that can be created and released comparatively quickly.   Though we’ve used the TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) Lite standard for numerous transcripts projects in the past, the first of our sites to be built entirely in TEI Lite was the biographical essay “Bernard Malamud: An Instinctive Friendship,” written by Chester Garrison and posted on our Bernard Malamud Papers page last month.  Plans for several additional TEI Lite-based “microsites” are currently in the works.

TEI Lite is a terrific tool in part because it is very simple to use.  In the example of the curriculum, all of the text, images, administrative metadata and much of the formatting that appears on the finished site are encoded in easily-learned and interpreted tags.  (We used XSL to generate the table of contents and to standardize the page formatting — e.g., where the images sit on a page and how the captions render.)  As a result, most of the mark-up required for these projects is at least roughed out by our student staff, which makes for a pretty efficient workflow within the department.

An example of the TEI Lite code for Page 2 of the Pauling Student Learning Curriculum is included after the jump.  We’ll be happy to answer any reader questions in the Comments to this post.

Continue reading


And the Blogroll Grows

We’ve recently added Gustav Holmberg’s blog, Imaginary Magnitude, to our blogroll.  This sleek, no nonsense weblog is focused on the history of science.  Holmberg himself is a historian of science at the Research Policy Institute in Sweden.  He’s been in the blogging game since 2003 and the Imaginary Magnitude archives are filled with interesting little gems including a number of discussions on his papers and projects.  Take some time to check out Imaginary Magnitude and we’re sure you’ll find more than a few items to attract your attention.

Blogroll Updates

Have a look to the right.

Have a look to the right.

If you’ll please turn your attentions to the right side of this page, you’ll note the long-awaited addition of three new links to our blogroll. Each represents a fantastic resource that, we’re quite sure, will make for some interesting reading.

The Culture of Chemistry is run by Michelle Francl, a chemistry professor at Bryn Mawr College. Naturally curious about the world around her, she uses everyday experiences to explore the chemistry behind modern living. Francl also maintains a Weird Words of Science series that discusses the history and uses of scientific words. Her main focus is chemistry learning, both in and out of the classroom. Whether you’re interested in chemistry education, or simply want a nifty science fact to impress your friends, we highly recommend a trip to this blog.

Entropy Bound, is operated by Peter Steinberg, a nuclear physicist in New York. He uses his blog to discuss a variety of physics-related topics including, but not limited to, aspects of his own work. While certain components of this site may be a little on the technical side for some readers, anyone with an interest in physics is sure to find plenty of engaging tidbits. If you’re interested in his work, make sure to check out the lecture slide PDFs that Peter has made available.

Lynne Thomas, Head Curator of Special Collections at Northern Illinois University, has developed Confessions of a Curator, a window into the archival milieu. Thomas regularly posts on the various collections housed at NIU and the ways in which her team is handling its records. She also reports on events, talks, and news relating to the profession. Her site is a terrific asset for anybody interested the exciting world (really!) of archives and special collections.

Because our posts cover a variety of fields, we have now implemented a new blogroll breakdown, dividing our links sections into Chemistry, Physics, Archives & Special Collections, and History of Science. Links to plenty more great sites will be added in the weeks to come.

As always, we’d love to hear from our readers. If there’s a Pauling-related topic about which you would like to learn more, please do let us know. Likewise, if you feel that your project fits in well with the theme of The Pauling Blog and would like to be included on our blogroll, shoot us an email with a link to your site. We can be reached at special[dot]collections[at]oregonstate[dot]edu.

Finally, a special note of thanks to our OSU Libraries colleague Margaret over at infodoodads for her kind review of our work. Margaret, your next bottle of vitamin C is on us!