Introduction


This workshop is an introduction to the use of the Internet, the World Wide Web, and HTML authoring tools. It has three major objectives: first, to provide students, if not a marketable skill, then at least professional development and enhancement; second, to help develop the American resources of Alderman Library's Special Collections by converting them to hypertext; third, to create an archive of electronic texts for students and teachers of American culture(s).

The workshop begins with a series of self-paced training exercises and tasks designed to familiarize the student with the internet, setting up a home page, digitizing texts, and the acquisition and manipulation of images. As we're moving through these exercises, you should also be doing the preliminary research necessary for selecting the text you will work with through the balance of the term. By the conclusion of the third week, you should be ready to begin hypertextualizing it; the goal is to have your text developed as fully as time, energy, and imagination permit by August 15. After the third week in the term, we will gather once a week to review work-in-progress and to share problems and solutions.

When selecting your text, please keep in mind the following considerations. First -- and perhaps the most serious constraint -- placed on you by copyright law and by the relatively amorphous idea of fair use. Although texts presently under copyright -- in general those published after 1920 -- may be hypertextualized, in most instances it will not be possible to make them visible to anyone outside the University community. Second, the text you choose should be, in some reasonably plausible sense, worth doing. There are a variety of kinds of arguments one might make here. E.g., the text is not available in print but should be? It is a text which, like Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson or Frank Baum's Oz books, becomes a different kind of text when the illustrations are included? It is a book which, like Herman Melville's The Confidence Man, is so filled with literary and historical allusionsthat that it demands a fully annotated version or, as in the same instance, is it so dense in its system of internal references and allusions that have a text which is machine-searchable would be an advantage. And third, is this a project which will have accrue additional value over time? By this I mean, is it likely to attract others to contribute to the project or is it likely to contribute to electronic projects which are already out there?


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