University of Canberra/RCC2011/Printing books out of wikis
The Printing books session was attended by Leigh Blackall, John Vandenberg, Jani Patokallio, Jutta and .. ?
..Leigh talked about the use of Wiki books at University of Canberra..
John mentioned that the mediawiki extensions which automatically produce books hasnt been used widely on Wikisource, as their community tends to want to have more control over the layout than is currently possible. One example of the issues with using the mediawiki tools on Wikisource is the inability to control headers, footers, and page breaks so that the new edition is similar to the original edition, which can be important where the original page number should be retained in reprints in order to be useful.
The discussion turned to looking at ways that the existing rendering software (mw:Extension:Collection) can be improved to improved, and also how to increase the options available for printing.
One of the key issues raised was the lack of a manual editing phase in the mediawiki software. Currently the book sent to the printer (PediaPress) is only the wiki pages, which is a limitation for a number of reasons. Several examples of why a manual editing phrase is desirable included
- fine tuning the layout to give a more professional feel
- additional content which is only useful for the audience of one printed edition and not desired in the online edition which is also used by other audiences.
With this in mind, the participants discussed LaTeX and OpenDocument formats as options for this editing stage. As the Collection extension allows a wiki book to be exported as an OpenDocument file, this format is a natural choice. However OpenDocument files can not be uploaded to Commons, and can not be sent to a Printery electronically as easily as a collection of wiki pages can be sent to PediaPress. Once the OpenDocument leaves the wiki, it can't come back except as a finished PDF, which reduces collaboration opportunities.
Also discussed was whether it would be useful to have an open system that allows documents stored on a wiki to be electronically sent from mediawiki to any printery. An example of where it might be useful is if the Australian university printeries allowed electronic submissions, university staff and students could print books at their university printery, which may be cheaper and could reduce the turn around time.