Saturday, May 06, 2006


Hi Everyone

Vincent spotted that some text went missing on page 83 of Chapter 2 - see his posting

I will try and sort this out shortly, but I think it is best to explain how this chapter was generated. It started off as a 450 page MS Word document that we add hidden code (called XML) using third parties (Connected Learning). I use CSS (cascading style sheets) to control the final look and feel of the site. The advantage of this is it automatically creates your Page and Chapter navigation - otherwise you would have to keep renumbering pages each time you inserted a new page (Weblogs get over this by only reporting in chronological order so there is no problem). In using this approach I have noticed a couple of bugs - the worst being when two hyperlinked words to different sites follow each other they get joined together as a single word losing their space. Please just bear with this while I contact the developer on this part of the project.

There is a second issue when inserting the code we can sometimes forget to close tags for the formatting and this is what Vincent has found - a missing classification or text caused by human error of not closing a tag. When you start your HTML - you will find that it is very easy to do a mistake like this.

There is also potential for a third issue/problem, when the material was prepared I did not have access to Wikipedia and its classification concepts for species classification - and therefore the classifications could vary slightly (similar to the Homo erectus and Homo ergaster problem identified earlier in the year). It is also possibly the Wikipedia can also be wrong or inconsistent. To illustrate this the lobe-finned fish http:// called the Coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae (order Crossopterygii), if you search Wikipedia for "Crossopterygii" it will re-direct you to "Sarcopterygii". Sarcopterygii is actually the Class, and the main Wikipedia has directed you to this site and reports a different classification order "Coelacanthiformes" for the Coelacanth, but in its Wikibooks
1 Chordates
... and vindicates what I have put into the text.
A fourth point issue, I am aware of is the putting of species into italics is inconsistent - the actually scripting is tedious and we used students for the job, and well mistakes were made - but please remember there were 450 pages and more than 102 000 words, so inevitably mistakes will creep in (and we had literally a few weeks to develop the course).
If you find a mistake that is not a font-based italics or joining of two words that have independent hyperlinks (we know these are issue), then identify the page e.g. page_93.htm where there is a problem and attach as a comment to this BUG Page and in due course it will get fixed. Since when putting a change in - we have to re-compile the whole site which can potentiall change a pages url (and is literally an overnight computing task) these will not be done immediately.

Dr Richard Knight
Co-ordinator: National Information Society Learnerships - Ecological Informatics
Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Biology
University of the Western Cape
Private Bag X17
Bellville 7535

Phone 27 + 21 + 959 3940
Fax 27 + 21 + 959 1237


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