Re: start simple, use documents you already have, then figure out away to getwhat you need Re: [greenstone-users] How to write a source document?

From Stefan Boddie
DateMon, 27 Oct 2003 09:53:22 +1300
Subject Re: start simple, use documents you already have, then figure out away to getwhat you need Re: [greenstone-users] How to write a source document?
In-Reply-To (LAW9-F110PAylAQc9v30000872d-hotmail-com)
Hi J H,

> >Start simple, use documents you already have, then figure out a way to
> >what you need out of them.
> I have no existing documents. Trying to create a new library from scratch.

You must have some content in mind for your library. If not, find some old
word, PDF, or HTML files to use to get you started on building a demo
library, just to get a feel for how things work.

> Specifically, I need to be able to file documents under a hierarchy
> (categories). Much like how the Greenstone demo does it. Question is, how
> I tell the Collector which category I want which document to fall under?
> Also, I need documents to belong to more than 1 category. A many
> to many (categories) relationship.
> In short, I'm trying to find documentation on "how to write source
> _in_a_format_ that would allow full control over how Greenstone displays
> organizes them.

You don't need to do anything special to your source documents to get them
to display in a hierarchical browse structure. The only time you may need to
edit the source is if you wish to display your documents with their own
table of contents. I'd suggest you not do that until you get everything else

I'd also suggest that you don't use the collector to build your collection.
There is a new tool called the Greenstone Librarian Interface (GLI) that is
much better for designing and building a collection. If you have gsdl-2.40a
or newer then the GLI is included. For more details on how to use it go to and search for

> >Suggestion: create a collection without retouching the documents and see
> >what greenstone already pulls out and where it pulls it from. That may
> >start you off. Then the documentation may make more sense.
> I tried writing some text documents. Greenstone shows them as is,
> No pulling, no formatting. The documentation may make sense somewhere.
> Problem is, the documentation is incoherent at best (to a user). Relevant
> info dispersed over a structure that might have been conceived by a
> developer (tech person) rather than a user.
> >(I am just a user of greenstone, so my opinion is not that of the
> >deisgners of the system or of other users.)
> Precisely. :-) So am I. It seems the designers of the system wrote the
> manuals for themselves, really.
> >I do some Greenstone stuff with
> >
> >But I started off using html collections, pdf and MS Word collections and
> >kind of figured out what was going on by trial and error.
> That would probably flush down the drain thousands of dollars in re-R&D
> (re-invention of wheel). I have to answer for the costs.

Unfortunately greenstone is not quite to the stage where you can download it
and have it doing exactly what you want within minutes, then again, neither
are a great many commercial software packages. There's a learning curve
involved as with most software but most people find they can build a simple
greenstone collection within an hour or two. I'll also grant you that the
documentation isn't perfect, that's something we're working on. It _is_ free
software however and we don't force anyone to use it.

There are a lot of useful resources available on the web, including the
FAQ's and documentation on and the demonstration collections
on You may just have to spend some time.