[BIO] OpenStax/Pressbooks Conversion - Biology [lead: Zoe Wake Hyde, Rebus Community]

  • administrators

    READ ME: Hi folks! This project post is a little different than the others, as it’s not about creating a new textbook, or even adapting one, but instead bringing an existing OpenStax textbook into the Rebus Community Press (a Pressbooks instance). Once an OpenStax book is in the Press, there are some big advantages, as the Press produces a range of formats that make remixing and repurposing the content easier (look out for an upcoming blog post for more on this).

    For the time being, this will probably involve some manual copying and cleaning of content, but we’re hoping to learn a few things along the way that can be turned into a streamlined process. The goal is to get all the OpenStax books into the Community Press, so they’re all available in the Pressbooks formats!

    (For an example of what can be done as a result of this project, check out Foundations of Biology, which will be combining & adapting two OpenStax texts.)

    Title: OpenStax Biology
    Subject: Biology
    Target audience: Undergraduate science majors
    Rebus project manager(s): Zoe Wake Hyde
    License: CC BY

    Help needed:

    The process will be to:

    • Copy & paste chapters from the OpenStax web version into a book shell in the Rebus Press
    • Tidy up formatting
    • Help address any issues that arise (most likely with formatting, images, formulas etc.)
    • Publish & spread the word!

    If you think you can help with the manual labour of cleaning up the content and getting into the Press, let me know and I will:

    • Give you access to the new book shell
    • Assign you a chapter (or two or three) to handle
    • Give you the instructions for tidying up the formatting
    • Answer any questions you have

    OR, if you have some CSS expertise, we will be creating some CSS snippets to leverage the existing OpenStax markup

    Book description:
    Biology is designed to cover the scope and sequence requirements of a typical two-semester biology course for science majors. The text provides comprehensive coverage of foundational research and core biology concepts through an evolutionary lens. Biology includes rich features that engage students in scientific inquiry, highlight careers in the biological sciences, and offer everyday applications. The book also includes clicker questions to help students understand—and apply—key concepts.

    Timeline (preliminary):
    Aiming to be finished by the end of January.

    How to participate:
    Interested contributors can sign up to the forum and post below.

    Current Project Team:
    @zoe, @fisherdi, @vallurin, @dolant… and you? We’d love some company!

    A spreadsheet of chapter assignments & progress can be found here.

  • administrators

    @zoe can you clarify the process for participating a little more clearly? When someone signs up, what are they signing up for? What do you expect of them? How will they get the source content from OpenStax? How will they get it into Rebus Press / Pressbooks? Who can participate? How will you communicate with them? How many chapters are to be done? Do you want volunteers to do one chapter? 10? How will they be assigned?

    And, can you be more specific about the advantages of having the content in Pressbooks vs OpenStax HTML format, or EPUB, or PDF?

  • @zoe
    Hello! I do have some resources for this. I have student workers who are available to help out. They have times during the day when they are waiting for faculty to approve and send feedback to other projects. I’ll be finalizing their schedules this week (our first week back after Winter break). We are happy to help!


  • administrators

    @fisherdi many levels of awesomeness have just been unlocked, thank you dianna!!

  • administrators

    @fisherdi Thanks so much, Dianna! I’m just putting together a spreadsheet to assign & track chapters, will add it to the post above in a minute.

  • @larson26, do you have any interest in/bandwidth for this? It sounds like a high impact project, and likely to be of use to lots of people in institutions like ours …

  • administrators

    @fisherdi Hi again - I’ve added some more details about the process above, as well as a link to a tracking spreadsheet. I need to get the instructions I’ve referred to written up, but do let me know if you have any questions!

  • @zoe

    Hi there! My name is Neha and I am currently working under Dianna as a student worker. I am pursuing a double major in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Applied Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science. I am familiar with various programming languages, text editors, and HTML. Please do not hesitate to contact me for assistance on this project!

  • Hi Zoe. As you might know, I’m leading a project at BCcampus to add as many OpenStax books as possible to Pressbooks and am very happy to see that “Biology” will be next. I have posted our procedures for doing this work in our Pressbooks Guide under Adding OpenStax Books to Pressbooks. You’ll see what we’ve already done and what we’re working on in the Why, How Long, and What chapter. I can’t help with this current project, but would be happy to answer questions about the process.

  • administrators

    @vallurin Hi Neha! Thanks so much for volunteering! We’re still figuring out a few details and the process written above might change a little, but I should have more info early next week.

  • administrators

    @laesoph Hi Lauri, thanks for that! Great to have those resources to refer to, that’s a big help ( @dolant you might be interest to read what Lauri has linked in her comment above).

    We’re keen to do our bit on what is a pretty big undertaking, so we’re hoping “Biology” will be the first of many. This first one is a bit of an experiment to see if/how we can leverage some of the OpenStax markup and hopefully move towards a more programatic approach to bringing these books into PB, so we’ll keep in touch and I’ll let you know if we run into any questions. Really appreciate the offer!

  • @zoe you mentioned that you are working on chapter 1 or you assigned it to yourself, we do have that one. A faculty member wanted to use some chapters that we pulled out already. – I think 1-4?

  • administrators

    @fisherdi Oh thanks! I have copied those ones over, but haven’t tidied them up at all. Where might we find your copies?

  • administrators

    Hi all - just checking in to say our approach to this has changed a little bit. We’ve figured out that we can use some of the existing markup to do a lot of the formatting by adapting our existing CSS, which cuts down on the need to clean the HTML OpenStax provides. Instead we’re going to be copying the content over directly from the OpenStax website, then making just a handful of manual changes. I’m writing up the instructions now, and will be making another call for helpers once those are ready to go!

  • @zoe I have to admit that I enjoy some mindless data cleanup from time to time. When you have a process nailed down, I’m probably good for a chapter.

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