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Rare Book School at the University of Virginia

L-70. Electronic Texts and Images

David Seaman

A practical exploration of the research, preservation, editing, and pedagogical uses of electronic texts and images in the humanities. The course will center around the creation of a set of archival-quality etexts and digital images, for which we shall also create an Encoded Archival Description guide. Topics include: SGML tagging and conversion; using the Text Encoding Initiative Guidelines; the form and implications of XML; publishing on the World Wide Web; and the management and use of online texts. Details about previous versions of this course are available online. Some experience with HTML is a prerequisite for admission to the course.

This course will provide a wide-ranging and practical exploration of electronic texts and related technologies. It is aimed primarily (although not exclusively) at librarians and scholars keen to develop, use, publish, and control electronic texts for library, research, or teaching purposes. Drawing on the experience and resources available at the University of Virginia's Electronic Text Center, the course will cover the following areas: how to create archival-quality etexts, including digital image facsimiles; the necessity of Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) for etext development and use; the implications of XML; text analysis software; and the management and use of Web-based SGML text databases. As a focus for our study of etexts, the class will create an electronic version of an archival document, mark its structure with SGML ("TEI") tagging, create digital images of sample pages and illustrations, produce a hypertext version, and make the results available on the Internet.

Applicants need to have some experience with the tagging of HTML documents. In their personal statement, they should assess the extent of their present knowledge of the electronic environment, and outline a project of their own to which they hope to apply the skills learned in this course.

Course Resources

  • Preliminary Reading List
  • Evaluations for this course:

Course History


David Seaman has taught this course at RBS many times since 1994.