Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts

Description: The Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts is a full-text indexed collection of classic American and English literature as well as Western philosophy in the public domain and written or translated into English.

Implementation description: I have been using TEI to mark up already digital items, specifically a small collection of American and English literature and Western philosophy. To assist with the creation and maintenance of my Catalogue I have been writing a set of object oriented Perl modules (Alex::Document, Alex::Ebook, Alex::Concordance, and Alex::Patron). Through Alex::Document I am able to download remote plain text files and convert them into rudimentary but valid TEI files. I then use my editor (BBEdit and a few BBEdit "glossary" scripts) to fill in some of the blanks of the header and mark up the body. Alex::Ebook is used to transform the TEI/XML into plain text files, XHTML, PDF, Palm DOC, Palm Reader, Rocket eBook, and Newton Paperback files. In the future I plan to create OEB files and hopefully .LIT files. Alex::Concordance provides really rudimentary concordance functions. Alex::Patron enables the system to remember things like a person's search history and interface preferences. Because the whole thing does not rely on a database application, and because the content is made up of well-known authors and titles, I will be able to distribute a CD containing all the items from the Catalogue and provide a simple author/title index to the collection. The index will provide access to all the transformed versions of the text. The CD won't support any searching functionality, nor will it be able to provide the concordance features, but if implemented well it will could function as a sort of Great Books collection available to just about anybody with a CD reader, XHTML browser, and the ability to access rather long file names.


Eric Lease Morgan
209 W. North Shore Drive South Bend, IN 46617 USA
Tel: 574/246-0639

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