Remixing Resources

Hi @gladja0, @me.monicabrown, and @apurva, I have a question and I’m hoping you can help.

Let’s say there are resources I want to use to remix, etc. for my textbook. For example, I found a cognitive psych OER that isn’t terrible, but it doesn’t cover things exactly the way I would, not as culturally-inclusive as I’d like, etc. It has CC BY licensing, and is available as a PDF. How can I include some of that content in my textbook? I really do like some of the chapters, but I’d want to make modifications. I’m primarily writing in MS Word, but I know that I’ll need to switch it to Pressbooks. This is a PDF. I’m so confused on if/how I can use this content. Here is a link to one of the one of the sources I’d like to include: Cognitive Book

Hi Katrina. It sounds like there are two layers to your question.

  • First, you’re asking about how to get text from the pdf into a format you can manipulate. Is that right? Some instructors use Adobe Acrobat Pro, but if you don’t have a license you can use Google Docs. When I open the pdf with Google Docs, I get this version of the textbook that I can manipulate in Google Docs. From here you’d need to clean up spacing, the headers, things like that, but most of the information is intact.
  • Second, when adapting and remixing material from another OER textbook (which is very common!), you’ll need to keep track of exactly what parts are from the other textbooks and what you’re contributing. Even small introductory paragraphs to a chapter should be noted somewhere. In my group’s textbook, for example, we added shaded textbooks at the bottom of each remixed chapter to note a) where the original content was from and b) any additions from us. This chapter on Drafting: Introductions has a shaded textbook at the very bottom that shows what I mean.

Does that start to answer your question?

Hi Joel,

Yes! This is exactly what I was looking for. I do have Adobe Acrobat Pro, so does that mean that I would first open the text in there, then copy/paste into Pressbooks?

Sorry, I feel like I’m overthinking this.

In terms of workflow, I personally used Adobe or Google docs to download the information in a form I could manipulate (as we discussed above), then continue using Google to clean things up and add content. THEN I would transfer the more revised chapter into Pressbooks.

Google docs or Word will be better at the draft stage. Pressbooks is best when the majority of the content is ready to go except for design choices, embedding h5p etc.

That’s just one workflow option though. If you get comfortable enough with Pressbooks you could start drafting in there. I do that sometimes. But in very early stages I tend to rely on the workflow above.

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I’ll second what Joel said — it’s much easier to transfer from Word/Google Doc into Pressbooks than to go from PDF to Pressbooks directly. So if you have a PDF file and have Adobe Acrobat Pro, just convert the file (or export) into a Word file (.docx) format. You can then use the Import tool in Pressbooks to easily transfer content instead of needing to copy and paste.