Updates on Formatting - Sight Reading for Guitar

Hi @apurva hope all is well with you.
Okay, I am letting you know that Farida is done with her formatting, which means as agreed, now you could take over to help with the outstanding formatting issues. Thank you so much for offering to do that by the way, I am sure this would help us out tremendously.

A couple of points for reference as you embark on this:

  • @cgreen and I had created the Formatting Guide that would be helpful in making sure there is consistency. This was Farida’s job though (e.g. making sure all headings/images of the same level/style are consistent across the book…etc.) but she did report much of the same technical problems I had faced before (images not centering, spaces too large/too little…etc.) so these would be the things to look out for.
  • This brings me to my next point, I know we did not provide a list of where the technical inconsistencies are occuring, but they are fairly easy to spot I believe. Meaning if most graphics are centered on the page and there are one or two that look out of place by aligning left and it makes more sense for the overall layout for it to be centered, then that would be the kind of thing to change. Or if there is a large space between two headings that isn’t there in other units/looks awkward, you know. In general for graphics, the singular notations are usually in a table aligned left with a description on the right side, and the larger or unique ones (not part of a list) are usually centered with their title above them and their description below them. These things are also in the formatting guide, so it would be helpful I think if you can also refer to that.

Thank you so much and please don’t hesitate to get in touch if there is anything that you’d like to discuss in relation to this.

All the very best dear,

@n.aboulmagd Hi Nadine, hope you are well too! :slight_smile: Thanks for the update on your end and for pointing out areas where Farida or you had noticed inconsistencies. I’ll definitely be paying closer attention to these as I go through the book too.

I appreciate the updates made to the formatting guide – this will certainly be helpful to spot any errors that need to be addressed.

As we discussed earlier, I’ll be keeping a close eye for these kinds of errors in additions to the ones you mentioned above:

  • If there is any bad/unnecessary code that might be affecting formatting (such as span tags)
  • Obvious errors in alignment
  • Excess spacing between paragraphs
  • Line breaks or excess spacing in tables
  • Consistency of image heights in tables
  • Whether content in tables is floating appropriately

I’ll be going through the book this week to make these changes, and will keep you posted along the way. Thanks so much to you and Farida on the work done so far – we’re almost there!

@n-aboulmagd I’ve been going through the book, unit by unit, initially comparing with the formatting guide and with an eye to the problems you and Farida had highlighted.

I’ve made sure that all images, tables, and headings are properly aligned in the book (so far up to unit 10), and that there is not errant code that might be interfering with the formatting in the webbook. I’ll continue to do so for the remaining units 11-20 over the next few days.

I am yet to look into the spacing issues in tables (related to the text or images), because I wanted to clarify:

  • in the Formatting Guide, it’s mentioned that singular notations are in a table, with the image aligned left and the description aligned right. I notice that the guide lists the title of the description as a heading 4, but notes that it should be “paragraph and bold.” The units seem to follow the latter, with titles in paragraph and bold – could you confirm if this is what is desired?

Once you clarify this, I can go through the book with that in mind, making changes as appropriate. And hopefully, with this, the major formatting work will be complete! :slight_smile:

@n-aboulmagd @cgreen I’m writing to inform you that I’ve gone through all the units in the book, and corrected any issues related to image and table alignment, heading styles, spacing in paragraphs, or errant code.

Once I hear from Nadine regarding the preferred style for the singular notations at the start of each unit, I will go through the book to examine spacing issues in the tables.

Following up to my previous question, if the ideal format for the titles of the singular notation tables is “paragraph and bold,” there are two choices that seem to impact the spacing within paragraphs (a result of the oddities of working with HTML tables):

Option 1: Paragraph and bold, with a line break between the title and rest of the text

Option 2: Paragraph and bold, with no line break between the title and rest of the text

Please let me know which of the two options you prefer. (Note: If we’re going with heading 4 for the title, there’s no need to worry about this!)

Lastly, I just wanted to inform you both that I will be out of office Dec. 17-Jan. 1, but will be ready to continue the formatting work, if remaining, upon my return. If you require any urgent assistance next week, please tag @zoe and she might be able to help.

Hope you both have a good break, and wishing you happy holidays & a happy new year!

Hi @apurva thank you so much for your response and for your work on the book.
To answer your questions and to keep it brief, @cgreen and I agree that:
1- The notations should be paragraph and bold.
2- we prefer the second option (with no line break between the title and rest of the text)

Another thing you could take a look at as you format the book is the images in the NOTATIONS section. @cgreen would like them all to be more or less the same size. This means she wants the

and not like this screenshot from unit 14

Please let us know once you’re done with everything and we will take a final look in case there are still any outstanding formatting issues/problems, in which case we can report them back to you in a Google spreadsheet or something. Then we can celebrate and consider the formatting all done for the book! Yay in advance :slight_smile:

Thanks again and looking forward to hearing back from you dear.

By the way, neither @cgreen or I are in a rush to complete this before December 17th, so it’s perfectly okay for us to return to this in the new year. Happy holidays dear and enjoy your break :slight_smile:

Hi Nadine! Just chiming in to say thanks for getting back to us - Apurva is off until January now, so I will try to take a look at things this week if I get a chance, but if you don’t hear from me you will hear from her come January.

Hope all is well on your end! :slight_smile:

@n.aboulmagd @cgreen Hi Nadine, Chelsea, and happy new year! I hope you both had a good break.

Thanks for responding to my questions above. I’ll go through the units and correct the formatting in tables and the Notations section accordingly, and will inform you when this is complete. My suggestion once this is done and you are happy with the web (+ other formats) to apply a theme lock to ensure that no further changes are made to the appearance or layout.

Regarding your request about the uniform size of the treble clef – this is dependent on the size of the images uploaded, so making all the images a uniform size would not give you the desired look. This would require adding custom dimensions to each image, for web, to make sure the clefs are the same size. Unfortunately, this is not something we would be able to do. I have in cases where the sizes of the images or the clefs are very different done my best to make them consistent, but have been wary of making too many changes that might disrupt other formatting in the table or unit.

I’ll let you know when I’m done making the changes, and would be happy to see your final report in a Google spreadsheet. Feel free to drop a link to it in this thread. :slight_smile:

Hope this all sounds good to you. I’ll be in touch soon with (hopefully) a final update!

@n-aboulmagd @cgreen I’ve finally completed going through the book making the final changes to the content in tables. This means that the formatting work we set out to do is (hopefully) complete.

Please go ahead and take a final look through the book, flagging any major issues (you can do so in a spreadsheet or list them out here). Once you’re happy with the formatting in web and exports, we can apply the theme, as an additional safeguard to preserve the formatting & layout.

How does this sound to you both?

@n-aboulmagd @cgreen I wanted to check-in and see how we were doing! Have either of you had a chance to do a final review on the formatting? No worries if not, I just wanted to make sure I hadn’t missed any communication from you both. :slight_smile:

Hi Apurva,

Hope all is well! It’s been a while!! We’ve missed you :slight_smile:

@cgreen and I were looking at the layout edits that you’ve made, and we think you did a GREAT JOB! Thank you so much. There are just a few more edits that we spotted and were hoping we could finalize those. Chelsea was very specific as she was going through them and wrote down specific notes here, which we were hoping you’d take a look at or maybe give those to a developer on your end that could possibly fix them.

We are asking you to do these because we tried to and it’s just not happening for us. Also, we’ve noticed that sometimes changing one thing can cause other unrelated parts of the page to change as well so it gets a bit confusing.

I also wanted to let you know that I will be out of town for a couple of weeks with limited internet access but if there is anything I see as being urgent to reply to I definitely will.

Thanks and we look forward to hearing back from you

@n.aboulmagd Hi Nadine,

All well here, just busy! It’s been too long! Zoe and I have missed you too. :slight_smile: I hope you have been well.

Thank you and @cgreen both for your thorough review of the book! I appreciate you compiling a list so it’s easier for me to refer to this as I go through the book one more time.

Having gone through the list and looked at the book very quickly, I have some notes for you both:

  • Graphics: We’ve gone through every possible combination of things leading up to the current version of the book to get the images/graphics as consistent as they can be. The rules 1-4 in the list cannot be improved upon further, as unfortunate as this might be. The primary reasons for this is the fact the the images do not have a uniform treble clef size to begin with, and secondly due to the fact that they are contained in HTML tables, which are very tricky to work but, but this was necessary to achieve the side-by-side layout of text and images. There are some small adjustments to images that can be done - such as alignment - so I will keep an eye out for any of these errors in your list. As you both noted, changing one thing can cause other parts of the unit or even parts of other units to change as well — this is what we mean when we say the book is brittle, and strongly recommend against making any further significant changes to the book’s layout. I’ll note that with the images and tables, it’s not a question of bugs or unexpected behaviour, and as such is not something that a developer can fix. There is nothing Pressbooks can do about this either, as it has to do with the images themselves, and with the nature/challenges of working with HTML tables.
  • Text alignment & spacing: I’m happy to go through the book and make any corrections to these as outlined.
  • Coloured headings: I’ll take a look to make sure that the red colour on headings is consistent across the book, and correct any areas where you or Chelsea have noted a difference in the colour.
  • Size of CC-BY-NC note: This should be a quick fix!

I had one question about “Rule 6: The graphics start sometimes under the heading and sometimes at the heading. Can this be consistent throughout?” Could you possibly point me to an example here? I’ve noticed on some units that images/graphics have some white space in the image itself, while others do not – when both images follow a heading, one appears to be spaced a bit further below than the other image, likely for this reason. Once you clarify this, I can get going!

As always, I’ll try to get through these changes as quickly as possible and will let you know when I am done. I can leave comments on the document you have shared, to confirm whether a change was made to resolve a particular issue.

Hoping you catch my question about Rule 6, but otherwise wishing you safe travels!

Dear @apurva,

Thanks for the response and willingness to help. @n.aboulmagd is traveling and might not be checking email for a few weeks. I’ll do my best to reply to your question. But if you want to wait to consult with Nadine, please go ahead.

By the way, Hassan and I are done with filming. He aims to be done editing the first seven units by the end of this week. At this rate, the videos should be done and posted on YouTube in a few weeks from now.

Regarding Rule 6, we were referencing the centered graphics that appear in almost every unit, and how they relate to their titles. Sometimes, the title is far above the graphic (so that it looks sort of double spaced) and sometimes it is just below (single spaced). I would prefer the latter. Since I know nothing of layout, when I generated the graphics in Sibelius I sometimes left empty space above the graphic. But, I have since edited every graphic so that there is no empty space above. This has made the situation better, but there are still some cases in which the spacing doesn’t look right and I can’t figure out how to solve it.

I have a question for you regarding this statement you made in the previous post:
As you both noted, changing one thing can cause other parts of the unit or even parts of other units to change as well — this is what we mean when we say the book is brittle, and strongly recommend against making any further significant changes to the book’s layout.

Might it be better if we scrap the current version of the book and start another? You can see from the history that I have been editing each unit a lot. Perhaps all this editing has complicated things. If you like this idea, please let me know before we act on it, as I haven’t yet created a copy of the newly edited information that currently appears on the Pressbooks platform. And, it is possible that the original graphics do all have the same staff size, size I generated them from the same default setting in Sibelius, which includes a default staff size.

I’m sorry this is so complicated. However, please understand that the different staff-sized graphics simply look completely slapdash and amateur to musicians. Every professional music book I’ve encountered has uniform staff sizes. I’m afraid that teachers and musical professionals will take one look at the inconsistent staff sizes and bizarre spacings and consider this resource amateur, which of course it is not. In this visual culture of today, when people see shoddy looking graphics and layout they will likely assume the content is also of low quality and conception. I hate to admit it, but I too would likely make that assumption. In light of this fact/concern, I will spend the dozens of hours needed to redo the book’s layout from scratch to fix this problem, if needs be. Please help!

Hi Chelsea, thanks so much for getting back to me while Nadine is away.

I’m very pleased to hear that you and Hassan are done filming! Hoping that the upload to YouTube will be a smooth process. Linking to the videos in Pressbooks should be as simple as copy/pasting the video URL.

Thanks for confirming here. Once I am going through, I can have a look to ensure that the text and images are single-spaced. There may still be some whitespace in a few images, so I can crop these out if so.

Thanks for explaining a bit more about why it is so important to have the staff sizes be uniform! Now that we know this is a hard requirement for you, @zoe and I will be discussing how best to move forward. We’re not sure if starting afresh will be the right path or if there are other ways to tackle this issue. I’ll be in touch soon once we’ve had a chance to think on this a bit more.

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Hi Chelsea,

Hope you and @n.aboulmagd are doing well! Zoe and I have spent some time this week exploring the best routes forward. We have some ideas in mind, but first wanted to get some clarification on the following:

  1. How are you sizing the images in Sibelius? Do you screenshot them from Sibelius or are they exported from the software? What settings do you have control over, if exporting? You’ve mentioned previously that you have been able to control the staff size here, but do you also have control over the image size itself?
  2. Could you point us to one image in the web book that is the right size (and not too big or too small), as a guide or reference that we could use? A URL to the chapter and specifying which image will suffice.
  3. How much do you want other versions (PDF print and digital, EPUB, MOBI, ODT) of the book versus the web version?
  4. How much flexibility are you wanting to retain for adapters, adopters, others who might want to make changes to the text or remix it based on their own needs?

As I noted, we have some options in mind, and the last few questions above are mostly for us to better understand your priorities when it comes to the book.

I’ll mention that while some of the options we have might make the image sizes more consistent, however, they might drastically limit the feasibility of having multiple formats, leaving us slightly concerned about the responsiveness of the web version. Depending on your priorities as well, there may be some balancing that needs to happen, but we will work to make sure you have all the information you need to make this decision!

Once you get back to us about the questions above, Zoe and I will whittle down our list and let you know which options remain.

Hi @apurva and @cgreen
Thank you for carrying on the conversation as I was away. I just wanted to let you both know that I’ve read the thread and am up to date. I agree that we don’t have to completely start a new book from scratch because if we do that on the same platform then the same issues will come up. I would suggest however that @cgreen back up all the current and new information on the book, because that’s a good idea regardless.

I will leave you @cgreen to answer these questions, but I am here to discuss as well if you need to.

@apurva can you and @zoe maybe let us know some of the alternative options that you’re thinking about so we can begin discussing what are possible ways forward?



Hi Nadine, glad that you’re back and caught up on this issue.

That’s good to note, especially as you and Chelsea are thinking through priorities on the book.

Great suggestion! Pressbooks is very vigilant about storing most recent exported files, so while these are always there as a back-up, having another one stored elsewhere is doubly safe!

We’ll wait to hear more from @cgreen about the questions. We’ll let you know if there’s anything more we need from you, but think for now we’re just waiting to hear what Chelsea has to say!

Sure, @zoe and I can put together our top options and share them with you soon. If we hear from Chelsea before then, we can try to factor in her responses. :slight_smile:

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@n.aboulmagd @cgreen: Zoe and I have tried a few options, and we think that it might be easiest to share our recommend option with you both over a call. Would you be available anytime between 8am-12pm EST (2pm-6pm EET) the week of April 21-27?

@zoe @apurva @n.aboulmagd Thank you all for your sincere efforts to address my concern. I am deeply grateful. I understand that you need some questions answered by me before we all move forward in the decision making process. I plan to email @n.aboulmagd today to set up a meeting. I would like to have her help in answering these questions you posed (below).

  1. How are you sizing the images in Sibelius? Do you screenshot them from Sibelius or are they exported from the software? What settings do you have control over, if exporting? You’ve mentioned previously that you have been able to control the staff size here, but do you also have control over the image size itself?
  2. Could you point us to one image in the web book that is the right size (and not too big or too small), as a guide or reference that we could use? A URL to the chapter and specifying which image will suffice.
  3. How much do you want other versions (PDF print and digital, EPUB, MOBI, ODT) of the book versus the web version?
  4. How much flexibility are you wanting to retain for adapters, adopters, others who might want to make changes to the text or remix it based on their own needs?

@apurva @zoe Pease expect us to be in touch ASAP. Finally, I did recently backup the book by downloading a PDF (for print), PDF (for digital) and HTML version. Do you recommend that I download any other versions? Quite frankly, I don’t know the differences between them. Thank you again!

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Hi Chelsea, thanks so much for coordinating with Nadine to get the answers to the questions we have posed! We’ll keep our eyes peeled for a response on your end, and can hopefully set up a time to meet next week. Could you let us know of your availabilities on the week of April 21, between 8am-12pm EST (2pm-6pm EET)?

I’d also recommend downloading the EPUB file, as this might be another popular format for students accessing the book. The Pressbooks user guide explains the differences in the formats as follows:

  • Print PDF: Export a print PDF file if you plan to publish your book in print format. This file meets the requirements of printers and print-on-demand services.
  • Digital PDF: Export and download the digital PDF instead if you do not plan on printing the file. These can be used online and can contain hyperlinks for easier navigation.
  • EPUB: Export EPUBs to submit to any popular ebook distributor except Amazon KDP. This is the file you’d use to submit your ebook to Kobo, Nook, iBooks, and others (if you are selling your book in ebookstores).
  • MOBI: Export a MOBI file to submit your ebook to Amazon KDP (if you are selling your book in ebookstores).
  • HTML: The HTML format is an easily editable file type.
  • Pressbooks XML and Wordpress XML: These file types enable easy editing and remixing in Pressbooks or Wordpress.

Hopefully this helps explain some of the differences between the different file types you see on the export page.

Looking forward to hearing more from you and @n.aboulmagd once you’ve had a chance to meet. :slight_smile:

Hi @apruva how are you? Hope all is well!

Okay, Chelsea and I met and wrote down the answers you and @zoe had.

Note: The software has a default setting for the staff size so she was using that. This is changeable on the software though. But what @cgreen was just telling me this morning, is that if the note on the staff is in the middle then it will be tightly cropped (no space around the graphic) but if the note is above or below the staff then it will have to include some white space around it.


1- So the way we export the graphic from the software is we select it on the score, crop the extra space around it (changing the height of the graphic a little) then export that to a png image) steps exactly done in this video

2- There’s a group of graphics in Unit 2 at the top under ‘Notations’ that are absolutely perfect in size of staff and height of the graphics.

3- Ideally it would be great if it can be downloaded as an e-book. But the priority would go to the web version (responsive design) in addition to a PDF (which we understand won’t have the videos or the mp3s) so we could all the mp3 files in a zip folder that is downloadable. - Maybe we could talk more about that during our meeting.

4- Chelsea would like the book to be flexible for adaptations, remixing…etc. But if we are weighing which is more important out of adaptability vs. the book looking professional, then the choice would be the latter. Let’s also discuss this point more during our meeting.

Re meeting times. Chelsea and I are on Spring Break from April 19th till May 1st. So how about from 2 till 3 pm our time on Monday May 6th or Tuesday the 7th or Thursday the 9th? Let us know which you and @zoe prefer.

Thank you so much and we look forward to hearing from you

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