David Seaman

L-70: Electronic Texts and Images

6-10 March 2006


1)   How useful were the pre-course readings?

1: Very helpful. 3: Extremely. 4: VERY useful. You can understand really much more if you read before the course. 5: The pre-course readings were very useful in general. The TEI guidelines were a bit dense, but skimming relevant sections sufficed. 6: Extremely useful.7: They were not entirely necessary in order to follow the course, but they were quite useful in themselves, before, during, and after the course. I actually would have preferred there to have been a slightly greater presumption during the course that we had done the pre-course reading.


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: Definitely. 3-5: Yes. 6: Syllabus and materials were appropriate and useful during the course. They certainly will be in the future as well. 7: Yes. I’m looking forward to working with the take-home CD.


3)   What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes? Was the intellectual level of the course appropriate?

1: The aspects and potential uses of TEI were very interesting, and have already given me several ideas for my projects. 2: TEI tagging was of greatest relevance. The historical materials we were working with were of the greatest interest. I think the intellectual level at [the] beginning was a little too basic (but useful) -- could have sped up a little in the beginning and spent more time where material is more complex. 3: DS introduced us to some valuable tools for creating TEI/HTML. 4: Learning XML. Of course it was, also more than mine! 5: The hands-on development of TEI marked-up documents was a good way to learn the information. Also the day on imaging (with hardware demos) was very useful. 6: The hands-on transcription and coding were of the greatest relevance, but the general overview of the digital environment was also quite useful and placed one in a coherent context. 7: I’m interested in all of it, and it is all relevant. Much of it was a refresher of things I have already learned, and I would have preferred it to be a bit more challenging -- perhaps the successor course would have been better. Nevertheless, I learned useful things, and appreciated the field trips and discussions of project management and planning. The hands-on mark-up is an excellent way to structure the course.


4)   If your course had field trips, were they effective?

1: It was very interesting to see the Etext Center and the Special Collections digitization lab. 2: I think so, for most students. My own interest in class was principally the XML/ TEI tagging and I would have preferred more instruction hours in that -- though the rare materials are interesting. 3: Yes. We visited the Etext Center and the Digital Processing Unit and I found both trips to be useful. 4: I don’t think so. 5: Yes. We went to the Digital shop adjacent to Special Collections (wow!) and the Etext Center. It was helpful to see the tools they had but were not in our smart class. 6: Yes. 7: Yes, the field trips were excellent and very informative.


5)   What did you like best about the course?

2: Working with actual historical letters / documents. 3: DS’s organization and enthusiasm. 4: When I saw my XML page on the browser! 5: The fact that it was “hands on” helped to make very technical language accessible. 6: Transcription and coding, followed by validation of the documents. Errors pointed out were used quite gracefully and kindly as tools for teaching; no-one should have felt any embarrassment. 7: DS is an enthusiastic instructor, and the hands-on work with Civil War manuscript letters is pedagogically brilliant.


6)   How could the course have been improved?

1: More on style sheets and how to use them would be helpful. 2: As I said in note four -- more hours devoted to tagging (so more practice and review of theory at beginning.) 3: I really have no complaints or suggestions for improvements. It went very well. 4: Maybe more practice? But it’s very useful anyway. 5: There was quite a range of skills in the class. Limiting the class to those with more acumen in technologies would be more helpful. 6: I would have liked longer periods of time for transcription and coding. 7: It might be possible to move a bit more quickly through the early materials, and start some hands-on XML work on day one. More work with DTD/Schema and perhaps a look ahead at TEI-P5 would be useful.


7)   We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching collections and of materials owned by UVa’s Special Collections. If relevant, what suggestions do you have for the improved classroom handling of such materials used in your course this week?

3: We used letters from the Nettleton Civil War Collection. They would have been handled less if each of the letters was in individual folders for our purposes. It would have meant seven temporary folders. 4: If they are letters, you could put them in plastic (transparent) sleeves. 5: None. 6: Manuscripts were handled with care. I see no problems. 7: The materials brought to our classroom weren’t picked up in the afternoon as expected, but they were safely locked up and well handled.


8)   If you attended the Sunday and/or Monday night lectures, were they worth attending?

3: Sunday and the dinner were worthwhile. Monday was so-so. 4: I didn’t attend. 5: Yes. Terry Belanger is always worth listening to. 6: Yes, both were interesting and entertaining. 7: Yes.

9) If you attended a Museum Night, was the time profitably spent?

2: Paper Museum is fantastic ! 3: I attended the Monday Museum Night and found it interesting. I heard that the Video Night was a bit of a dud. 4: I didn’t attend. 5: Museum Nights are always some of the best moments spent at RBS. 6: I attended both Museum Nights and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed them. I did not attend Video Night. 7: The Museum Nights were both wonderful -- I appreciate them especially because I am not here and probably will not return here for rare book knowledge for professional use, but I’m glad to have the opportunity to pick up some of that by looking over my colleagues’ shoulders.


10) Did you get your money’s worth? Any final thoughts?

1: Yes, a long but satisfying week. 2: Yes, it’s well worth it. I would recommend (as useful as it is to visit various departments &c.) that there be more continuous hours doing tagging so that I could improve skills before changing focus. 3: Yes. Well worth the dollars. Make sure you are very comfortable with HTML, however. 4: Yes. My advice is to read the reading list before. 5: Yes. 6: Take RBS at its word: it’s an exhausting week, but well worth all the intellectual and physical energy required! I’m very happy I arrived on the Saturday before and am leaving on the Saturday following the closing. 7: Yes. This was a good course, and RBS is a wonderful experience all around.

Number of respondents: 7 


Leave                       Tuition                    Housing                   Travel

Institution                 Institution                 Institution                 Institution

gave me leave            paid tuition               paid housing              paid travel

86%                            29%                            86%                            86%

I took vaca-                I paid tui-                  I paid for my              I paid my own

tion time                    tion myself                 own housing              travel

0%                              14%                            14%                            14%

N/A: self-                   N/A: Self-                   N/A: stayed                N/A: lived

employed, re-             employed,                  with friends               nearby

tired, or had              retired, or                  or lived at

summers off              scholarship                home

14%                            57%                            0%                              0%

There was one rare book librarian (14%); one museum employee not in a museum library (14%); one retired person (14%); and four students with “other” occupations (57%): “digital librarian with some rare book duties”; “research associate directing a special project for my library”; “historian of Modern Age (XVII century)”; “work in research/education division of a library on digital publication projects.”