No. 46: Electronic Texts and Images
2-6 August 1999
1) How useful were the pre-course readings?
1: Not having much background, I was somewhat limited. The recommended book was very good (but I'm still not finished with it). 2: Provided good introduction to the topics, so at the least I was familiar with the terminology and acronyms. The readings were a bit lengthy. 3: Very useful. 4: Didn't have time to read them, but it looked like a useful list. 5: For someone with no background in these computer languages, it was a bit daunting; most helpful was the "Gentle Introduction to SGML." 6: Very useful. 7: They were very good and comprehensive. 8: Very. I didn't fully "get" the material (and this worried me), but a general understanding of it helped immensely on the first two days of class. 9: They make more sense now - at least some of them do. They were useful in introducing the topic. 10: Very useful. 11: Readings were really quite dull, but I'm glad I ploughed through most of them anyway. They were a decent framework for the lectures which followed. 12: As readings, overwhelming. Need to have some guidance on what to actually read (and retain), and what to browse. 13: They were useful, but I did not really have the time to look at them as thoroughly as I would have liked.
2) Were the course syllabus and other materials distributed in class useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?
1: Yes. They will be especially useful when I try to bring my new knowledge to new projects. 2: Yes, very useful, as were references to other resources, much of which is available on the web. 3: They were appropriate, but I believe most were available on the web, and I'd be happy to download them myself (if needed) to save paper. 4: Yes, very useful. 5: They were appropriate, but many of the handouts in class are more useful in their website versions than in hard copy. 6: Yes. 7: Yes, very appropriate and useful. 8: Yes! 9: Yes - in assisting us with both EAD and TEI mark-up. 10: Yes, yes. 11: Yes - examples provided will be something I can refer to many times. 12: Yes, very helpful. 13: Yes.
3) Was the intellectual level of the course content appropriate?
1: Yes. I haven't learned (and I mean understand sufficiently to have a fighting chance at implementation) so much, so well, in such a short period of time as far as I can remember (given that my memory is not what it used to be). 2-3: Yes. 4: Perfect. 5-7: Yes. 8: I think so - the instructor did a good job of establishing a common ground for the class on the first day. 9-10: Yes. 11: Just right for a novice. 12: Yes. Everyone seemed to be able to keep up (even me!). 13: Yes.
4) If your course had field trips, were they effective?
1: Yes, especially to see the production aspects of etext. 2: Yes, very interesting to see different approaches and imaging projects. They complemented the course content. 3-5: Yes. 6: No, time would have been more usefully spent in class, as the course content was overwhelming. 7: Yes, very much. The time spent in the Etext Center and Special Collections Digital Center was very useful and interesting. 8: I wasn't 100% convinced of the value of the Special Collections visit for me, but I think others in the class did find it useful. 9: Yes - I wish we had more time in Special Collections. 10: Yes. 11: Yes - it was great fun to play with Photoshop and we all were inspired by the Center. 12: Field trips were mercifully short. No one really likes standing around in offices watching people work. But hands-on scanning was especially good. 13: Yes.
5) Did the actual course content correspond to its RBS brochure description and Expanded Course Description (ECD)? Did the course in general meet your expectations?
1: I think so. But I thought it was dealing more with images on an equal footing with the text. I've certainly learned a great deal about the theory and practice of etext - the images are mainly supportive material (as far as I can tell). 2-4: Yes. 5: It corresponded more closely to the revised 1999 RBS description than the one I first read months ago (for example, HTML tagging was not a necessary prerequisite for this course). 6: Yes. 7: Yes, this was a good, all-round introduction to electronic texts and images. 8-13: Yes.
6) What did you like best about the course?
1: The instructor and his attitude and approach - very thorough knowledge, not patronizing, glad to share, genuinely enjoys the teaching as well as the doing. 2: The hands-on practice scanning and marking up a document. The instructor's knowledge and enthusiasm for the topic. 3: Lively and humorous delivery of the lectures by our instructor. 4: The instructor was wonderful - organized, explained things well, humorous, and helpful. I liked the balance of lecture and hands-on. 5: The instructor is patient and affable and very accessible; the hands-on transcription was the most useful part of the course. 6: Learning so much about something that is very interesting and useful. 7: It was particularly interesting to hear first hand about the UVa Library's Etext Center, grants, projects - the successes and even the failures. The instructor was extremely knowledgeable and called upon his experience at UVa very effectively to illustrate the course content. 8: The information I gained, both from reading and in class, and the opportunity for hands-on work. 9: DS. Hands-on training and contributing to building up the Etext Center's collection by marking up Edgar Allan Poe's letter - great stuff! 10: DS was very, very generous in sharing both his knowledge and time with us, even outside of class. The content of the course was excellent. The expertise of the instructor was great, as was his ability to communicate with students. 11: Instructor's enthusiasm is invaluable. He made technical material exciting and alive. 12: Instructor was able to explain very technical issues, but keep it amusing. Very personable and articulate. 13: Its hands-on approach. DS's attentive helpfulness. My fellow students.
7) How could the course have been improved?
1: Since we tended to focus on our computers, we did not develop as much camaraderie as I noticed in other classes. But that is the nature of the beast. 2: A little more time to work on transcriptions and mark-up. Otherwise, everything was excellent. 3: Excellent and thorough introduction. 4: Could offer an advanced course the week after this one. 5: More time in smaller groups when we were scanning. Maybe half of us could scan while the other half began transcribing and then switch. I did not feel that it was necessary to spend as much time as we did speaking about grants and fund-raising, although it was interesting. 6: We could have gone slower by omitting some of the peripheral areas we covered. I have in mind eliminating the morning spent on discussing grants, for example. 7: That's hard to say, since individuals' needs are so different. I'm not sure if the personal introductions were necessary, since the course did not seem to be adjusted in any way in response, and there was an essay component with that information in our application. It would have been more useful to me to go a little more in-depth with tagging different kinds of documents, but this was essentially an introductory course and had to fit in a lot of basics. 8: The session taught by the graduate student transcription specialists wasn't helpful - it covered material we already knew, and they tended to talk down to us a bit. 9: Don't know. 10: It would have been good practice to tag additional documents, but I realize time constraints might prevent it. 11: I could have benefitted by an hour's instruction on how intelligently to read the TEILITE manual. 12: It was fine as is. You can tell DS has a teaching background - he is good at documenting processes in ways people can understand. 13: The course was fine. Its rhythm was too broken up, though, by the schedule.
8) Please comment on the quality/enjoyability of the various RBS activities in which you took part outside of class, eg Sunday afternoon tour, Sunday night dinner and videos, evening lectures, Bookseller Night, tour of the Alderman digital/electronic centers, &c.
1: A veggie protein option would have been nice at Sunday night dinner. It was difficult to concentrate on the evening lectures as the subject matter was esoteric and we were tired. Maybe lunch mini-lectures? 2: Bookseller Night offered a good opportunity to see downtown Charlottesville. Evening lectures varied in quality - perhaps choose more general interest topics. Enjoyed receptions, nice opportunity to socialize with faculty and other students. 3: Nice to have these activities available. 4: Fun. Nice to have the option to pursue other, related activities. 5: It's always enjoyable to drink with book people. 6: The campus and surrounding area are enjoyable and one certainly did not have the time to exploit the possibilities. The campus is splendid - Rotunda, Bayly Art Museum. Tuesday evening was fun, the lectures boring. 7: Everything was very enjoyable and well done. 8: Enjoyed the lectures. Skipped Bookseller Night (having already scoured the Mall on Saturday). The receptions were pleasant. 9: Evening lectures were too specific/specialized to be of much interest to me. 10: Evening lectures were less relevant to this course, although somewhat interesting. TB's lecture was very interesting, giving both newcomers and old timers a nice history of the program and future sights. I recommend that evening lectures be split between more specific topics and more general ones. I would recommend adding preservation topics to the evening lectures. 11: Great fun, although this year I was much too tired to attend the evening lectures. 12: Sunday Night Dinner is a good way to meet participants. I skipped the lectures and videos this year. I realize this program is, by definition, aimed at bibliophiles, but it would be nice to have some alternative options for the non-rare-book-lovers amongst us (all two!). 13: Missed the tour. Dinner had no hot food. Didn't see the videos. The lectures were generally good. Bookseller Night was a bust: one has to eat sometime.
9) Any final thoughts? Did you get your money's worth?
1: Dress for the weather, relax, and enjoy the atmosphere and your fellow students. Got my money's worth (and I think my institution will, as well). 2: Absolutely. I learned a tremendous amount in this course. A highly technical topic was explained very concisely and clearly by DS. The hands-on parts allowed for immediate application of what was taught in the course. Very practical. Instructor was extremely generous with his knowledge. 3: Yes [got my money's worth]. Hope to return next summer! 4: Yes, it was money well spent. I learned so much and enjoyed the complete RBS experience. I would take other courses which, like this one, are technical in nature. 5: Got what I came here to get, a more informed idea of the capacities of the different programs and of different resources. 6: I think preparation is very important. I certainly got my money's worth. 7: Yes - it's a great introduction in a wonderful setting and with a knowledgeable and energetic instructor. Definitely worth it. 8: This was great. I learned what I needed to learn, and connected with some other people with similar interests. I'd like to see other people from my institution come to this course. 9: Yes [got my money's worth].10: Excellent course, expect it to be very useful to my work. Yes [got my money's worth]. 11: Absolutely [got my money's worth]. I would love to take a more advanced version, if it is offered. 12: Good introduction to a very difficult subject. The week-long format allows you to absorb information at a rate you can actually retain. I would recommend this approach highly. 13: I certainly got my money's worth and would recommend it very much.
Number of respondents: 13
|Institution gave me leave||Institution paid tuition||Institution paid housing||Institution paid travel|
|I took vacation time||I paid tuition myself||I paid for my own housing||I paid my own travel|
|N/A: self-employed, retired, or had summers off||N/A: self-employed, retired, or exchange||N/A: stayed with friends or lived at home||N/A: lived nearby|
There were three archivist/manuscript librarians (23%), three general librarians with some rare book duties (23%), two conservator/binder/preservation librarians (15%), two teacher/professors (15%), one catalog librarian (8%), one general librarian with no rare book duties (8%), and one volunteer conservator (8%).