David Seaman

L-70: Electronic Texts and Images

8-12 June 2009


1) How useful were the pre-course readings?


1: It may have been more useful to have supplied us with the materials we received on the "stick" [USB drive] in advance, or some of them. Due to the nature of the course, the pre-course readings make more sense now than they did before the course. 2: Not particularly helpful, two of the three. More like reading instructions written for running a nuclear reactor. 3: Pre-course readings were helpful, but not essential if you have some XML or digitization background. 4: They were not delightful readings, but they were useful and appropriate for the course. 5: They are great resources for future use as well as for the class. 6: A good introduction and much needed in order to follow the course. Perhaps assigning a reading or two from the manuscripts/primary documents sections of the TEI guide would be helpful to fill out tag/element vocabulary. 7: Extremely useful to prepare for the class. The readings are fairly dense (to me), but made much better sense after the class. 8: Pre-course readings are useful. Students who did not know topics. Have basic knowledge before the class. 9: The pre-course reading was helpful so that I didn't feel lost at the beginning; but they could have been briefer. 10: TEI Guidelines and XML introduction were quite useful. The other documents—U.S. Government digital archiving guidelines—did not seem to be referenced during class, so I regret the money spent printing them out.


2) Were the course syllabus and other materials distributed in class appropriate and useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?


1: Very novel and useful idea to supply the course materials, exercises, copies of source materials we were transcribing, and any possible notes we wanted onto those external memory stick drives. Need to figure out for the future that we're allowed to keep these or warn us to bring our own, &., before the final day of the course. 2: Yes, very much so. 3: The USB drive prepared by the instructor was wonderful and invaluable. Bring your own USB drive onto which you copy this info. It will be useful in the future. 4: Yes—both during the class and in the future. 5: Yes very useful. For class and for future use. 6: Yes. 7: Yes, the resource list will be absolutely necessary for me to keep. 8: I hope a flash drive can be taken after the class. 9: Materials ideally will be very helpful if we are able to find the time and money to fulfill our ambition of making portions of our collections available online. I have a much better sense than before the course of the work and time involved so can make better planning decisions. 10: Useful, yes. Would have been more useful to have had a more detailed syllabus, and to have it before signing up for class.


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: It was an interesting and informative overview of different aspects related to electronic texts and images (as advertised). Course relied very heavily on TEI which is fine, but after taking the course I realize I need further instruction in stylesheet formation and especially for my work with EAD applications. But the exercise of marking up the letters did show useful advantages of this particular form of XML application. 2: The actual hands-on encoding was the best thing about the course. 3: TEI encoding, Stylesheets, how these work together to support/produce different deliverables. How XML works behind the scenes. 4: Doing the TEI markup was most useful. I had used XML before, so the introductory information was not relevant. However, the course overall covered a wide range of helpful information. 5: This class brought my knowledge of the subject together as a whole. It filled in all the blanks. 6: The hands-on work with the documents was the most relevant/useful. During the "doing" portions of the course I felt I learned the most. 7: Hands-on XML encoding; eBooks; EAD; yes, great as a true introduction, with prior experience being helpful but not required. 9: For my purposes, the course was at the right level and very relevant for our future plans. Of most relevance were learning the principles of TEI markup and how that markup allows one to deliver content in a variety of very powerful ways. 10: Most relevant to me: historical background to TEI initiative, and anecdotes from real projects—these make the abstract technology and guidelines real to me. Intellectual level of the course overall was not really appropriate to me, because I would want a deeper theoretical and historical background, and a survey of advanced projects/current research areas.


4) If your course left its classroom to visit Special Collections (SC) or to make other field trips away from your classroom, was the time devoted to this purpose well spent?


1: Very interesting, thanks for the opportunity to see what looked like a very organized, well managed and impressive operation! 2: Yes—since we are/were unable to conduct any scanning, the trip to the digital lab was particularly helpful. 3: It was very helpful to see the technical equipment in action and see the digitization process we had discussed in class. 4: Yes—very interesting to see the equipment and workflow in the digital production lab. 5: Yes. Our trip was very useful to see what we were studying in action. 6: Yes, very much so. Touring digital services was a treat. 7: Absolutely. We toured the Digitization Lab in Special Collections. Their processes directly illustrate class concepts. 8: After class or during lunch time. 9: Yes, it was useful to see how a digitization lab functions and better understand the equipment and workflow involved. 10: Yes, the trip to Special Collections was interesting.


5) What did you like best about the course?


1: The instructor's enthusiasm for the course content. And actually working on a project that furthered a project that is in the works. I liked that what we were transcribing and marking up were letters that were going to be part of a future Dartmouth digital collection. 2: The instructor's delivery of the subject. Knowledge is one thing, but being able to pass it along in an effective manner is quite another. 3: The instructor was very responsive to questions, very knowledgeable about the subject, and well-prepared. The syllabus and resources provided on the USB drive are very helpful! 4: The combination of hands-on markup and contextual overview of digitization projects was very helpful. 5: DS was very clear and cohesive in his teaching style. He also talked about the development of what we were learning about and talked about brand new developments in the field. Very thorough. 6: 1. Working with the documents and marking them up in TEI. 2. DS 7: Great overview of concepts and potential applications of XML; that our work will directly contribute to a real project to be posted online; wonderful instructor! 8: I like an instructor who is knowledgeable and friendly. Tea break and breakfast are wonderful. Supplies basket (i.e. shampoo, lotion) is a big help. 9: Applying what we were learning directly to documents—the hands-on learning. Also, DS is a very accessible teacher and able to make technical material understandable to the uninitiated. 10: The instructor, DS. Knowledgeable, pleasant, and courteous.


6) How could the course have been improved?


1: I would have liked a bit more time to correct and re-tag errors in transcription. Maybe work in teams for transcription to sort out difficulties from the beginning instead of after having run into difficulties in transcription on my own. I'd like to have ended up with a better result that could be used than just the exercise. 2: Perhaps by getting to do some scanning? I dunno, I can see the problems of fitting it all in there. 3: Let students keep the USB drive. Some people were not prepared to copy and return it. 4: The course was very good. I would perhaps suggest starting the hands-on work even earlier in the course so that students can learn by doing from the start. 5: If we could have kept our memory sticks. 6: I personally was more interested in mark-up and expanding my (limited) TEI vocabulary as I intend to use it in the future for creative scholarly editions. Thus, I would have preferred more of an emphasis on the encoding process. 7: Well structured and at appropriate level—no improvements necessary. 8: Get more discount on hotel and motel and some coupons from restaurants. 9: I probably could have absorbed the material better if spread out over a longer period, but that, of course, isn't practical. Otherwise, I don't have much to suggest—a very worthwhile course. 10: Detailed syllabus available before sign-up. Full subject bibliography provided: important papers, books, projects, organizations in the field. Opportunity to choose different in-class projects, more appropriate to one's interests.


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?


1: I'm amazed that UVa libraries are so welcoming to visitors with their coffee mugs and snacks (going in and out of the building). Using digital surrogates for our course was both fitting and took away any anxiety for having to handle delicate materials. In other courses, I've found RBS students have been very careful with UVa Special Collections material. It may be better had we put our bags in lockers before our tour, but our group was well behaved otherwise and we didn't touch anything. 2-10: N/A.


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


1: Very nice. Always a nice feature of RBS. 3: Sunday night—repetitive to a degree (from previous years). Monday night—fine. Movie night—good. 4: Both the Sunday and Monday lectures were informative, entertaining, and worthwhile. 5: I could take it or leave it. 6: 1. Loved the sesame noodles. 2. Monday night lecture [by Stephen Enniss] provided a good opportunity to learn more about the Folger. Well done. 7: Sunday opening lecture was a nice opportunity to hear TB speak, get oriented to the surroundings and meet everyone. 9: Generally, yes. 10: Attended Sunday lecture, it was moderately interesting.


9) Did you get your money's worth? Any final or summary thoughts, or advice for other persons considering taking this course in a future year?


1: I think so. Hope I will be able to put what I've learned into practice soon and be able to retain it. 2: Yes, well worth the money. 3: This course is well-suited for people without digitization experience, but basic familiarity with some kind of markup language is beneficial to have prior to attending. 4: Yes—I definitely got my money's worth. This is a great way to learn TEI. Even if you have already worked on digital projects, DS provides an interesting overview, and it is a worthwhile way to consider digitization from a Special Collections viewpoint. 5: Bring your own memory stick. 6: A gentle introduction to the world of XML and TEI. 7: Very helpful course. I believe that with the help of online listservs and the class readings, I will be able to successfully transcribe a small manuscript collection into XML. 8: Yes. It's worth it, and I plan to attend another course in the near future. 9: Yes. Probably best taken by those who will be able to implement some of the material soon after taking the course, otherwise I fear much won't be retained long term. But the introduction is valuable even earlier—I will now at least know the right questions to ask, the steps and processes involved. 10: For me, my money's worth has to do with the credit I expect to earn towards my graduate study, and the follow-up project I plan to do with DS after the course. The course itself, maybe not my money's worth.


Number of respondents: 10





Institution gave me leave: 80%

I took vacation time: 10%

N/A: self-employed, retired, or had summers off: 10%



Institution paid tuition: 30%

I paid tuition myself: 10%

N/A: self-employed, retired, or scholarship: 60%



Instution paid housing: 70%

I paid for my own housing: 20%

N/A: stayed with friends or lived at home: 10%



Institution paid travel: 60%

I paid my own travel: 20%

N/A: lived nearby: 20%


There were 2 rare book librarians (20%), 2 archivist/manuscript librarians (20%), 1 general librarian with some rare book duties (10%), 1 general librarian with no rare book duties (10%), 1 full-time student (10%), 1 museum employee (10%), 1 director of publications (10%), and 1 library services vendor (10%).