Category Archives: Create eBooks

Resources for creating eBooks

What is Project Gutenberg TEI?

PGTEI is first and foremost a markup language. Just like HTML puts tags around words to give them some sort of meaning, PGTEI puts tags around words, too. Where a HTML document would italicize a word with <em>emphasis tags</em>, PGTEI would italicize a word with <emph>emphasis tags</emph>, too. Same basic principle, different vocubulary.

So, why not just stick with HTML? A lot more people know HTML and a lot more tools exist to help people use it. And everyone has a web browser that is custom made to read the resultant file, right?

Well, PGTEI solves some problems that may not be immediately obvious to someone coming at it from an end-user/consumer role. Where PGTEI helps the most is during creation and distribution.

The Pain That Is Content Creation For Project Gutenberg

When Michael Hart first started Project Gutenberg, there was one file type: plain ascii text. (In fact, the original files were all upper case plain ascii text, which were converted years later to the normal upper/lower case documents we’re probably all familiar with.) It wasn’t all that long before someone realized that while plain ascii text is great for English language documents, it doesn’t handle letters outside the ASCII character set. So, we started seeing documents in different ISO character sets. In more recent times, UTF-8 has gotten popular as a character encoding since, theoretically, it’ll handle every character you could ever want to throw at it.

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Creating Accessible Digital Media – WGBH Guidelines

Following is an excerpt from the Introduction of the Accessible Digital Media guidelines produced by WGBH. These guidelines, providing step-by-step solutions for making a variety of electronic media accessible to users with sensory disabilities and are available free of charge.

Accessible Digital Media

Design Guidelines for Electronic Publications, Multimedia and the Web

Properly designed e-books, software, Web sites and learning management systems can and must be accessible to all users with disabilities. Technology is prevalent everywhere, and learners of all ages and in all fields require equal access to content to keep pace with their colleagues and classmates.
Whether they are high school students, IT professionals or research chemists, inaccessible materials prevent people with disabilities from using the same materials at the same time as their peers, and can limit their educational and career opportunities.

Visit the WGBH website to access the complete guidelines.

Unwrapping Paragraphs in a PG eBook – A HOW TO

If you’re interested in converting the Project Gutenberg Plain-Vanilla ASCII texts into PDF, HTML or other format that will allow you to create a versatile display format, then you may find it useful to remove the mid-paragraph hard linebreaks that exist in these files.

A ‘How To’ was recently posted on the Project Gutenberg gutvol-d mailing list, which is a great guide on how to do this procedure.

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