MathBook XML (MBX)
MBX is a collection of xml-related files that can be used when writing an OER textbook. Rob Beezer is the creator of this project, and his informational page is at http://mathbook.pugetsound.edu/.
I'd (Alex Jordan) like to convince anyone with an OER project to consider using MBX. Let's look at a current example, where I will be converting the PCC calculus lab manual to this format.
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The old, original (well, 2010 revision) of the PCC Calculus I lab manual, written in MS Word and shared as a PDF.
This document has served us well. However the limitations on its format are causing some trouble:
Using MBX, the pdf will look something like this now.
Additional attention to formatting issues (like enumeration of the problems and spacing) can be settled on at the end of the project.
A lot of things that could be tediously written into the Word-based pdf are trivially executed using MBX:
Using MBX, we will simultaneously achieve a high-quality HTML output.
This is what .xml source looks like for the emerging MBX version of the document.
There is almost no attention paid to what the final output will look like. In xml, all of the document's content is just written with logical opening and closing tags. For instance, where and how is the title of the definition declared?
This approach to writing content can feel very alien if you are used to writing in a What You See Is What You Get editor like Word. But it's exaclty this focus on logical structure that allows simultaneous creation of high-quality pdf and html output.
In fact, this same source document will later be used to create more output formats. Along with html and pdf, epub and brf (Braille) output formats are in the works. It must be stressed: once a new output format style sheet is created, it will instantly apply to any project which was written in MBX without any need to modify the document's source.