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.

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