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October 2010, Week 5


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Jeremy Butler <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 28 Oct 2010 20:26:22 -0500
To: SCMSTV <[log in to unmask]>
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This morning I was playing around with a relatively recent Wikipedia feature
that allows you to assemble up to 500 pages of articles into a "book". You
can then download that book as a PDF or you can pay to have it printed and
shipped to you.

This got me to thinking: Would this be a useful ancillary product for a
(TV-studies) textbook?

Fr'instance, I'm currently revising *Television: Critical Method and
Applications* (Routledge, 2011). Here's how I might put the Wikipedia book
feature to use:

1. I could search for all the terms in the *TVCM&A* glossary. Then I could
collate them into a single PDF file and post it on the companion Website.
Users could access it through a browser and/or download it to their own
computers and/or electronic readers.

This would be a *searchable* PDF, thus allowing students/teachers to buzz
through the PDF and find additional info on the glossary terms.

2. A similar PDF file could be compiled with all the proper-name (people,
companies, TV shows, etc.) articles.

'Course, users could just search Wikipedia directly for this information and
find more up-to-date articles and Wikipedia is not 100% accurate; but it
seems to me that it still might be handy to have all that info collated into
one PDF.

Another feature that the Wikipedia book function offers is the ability to
pay to have the collection itself printed. I don't know if a printed
collection of articles would be a useful supplement to a textbook or not,
but it's a pretty cool concept.

I'd be curious to hear the thoughts of TV/film studies teachers. Would you
and/or your students use this material if it were made available at no cost?

P.S. It's perfectly legal to make such quasi-commercial use of Wikipedia's
articles. They're all published under a Creative Commons "share and share
alike" license. That is, you can use them pretty much as you wish, as long
as you don't try to copyright them as your own work and restrict others' use
of them.

Jeremy Butler

Professor - TCF Dept. - U Alabama

Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite