1st Term 2015-2016
The course consists of a one-hour weekly plenary lecture for all students, followed by a two-hour weekly seminar. Students will be divided in two seminar groups during the first lecture.
Lecture: Tuesdays 12.15-13.00h.
Seminar: 13.15-15.00h  in Lipsius-126A


Dr. Peter Verhaar, lecturer

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This course is part of the core curriculum of the MA Book and Digital Media Studies.

In the world of publishing, scholarship, academic libraries and the cultural heritage sector the Internet offers more than an alternative for printed communication. The digital medium has brought a wealth of entirely new opportunities and technological possibilities for dealing with text. This course gives a very practical introduction to some of the most widely used technologies for creating, enriching, storing and disseminating textual information digitally. Topics that will be addressed include the medium-independent markup of text through XML, the organisation of digital content in relational databases and in content management systems, and methods of web presentation and publication. The course will provide hands-on experience with several programming languages and metadata vocabularies.

Course objectives


  • Acquire an insight into the lifecycle of digital objects;
  • Learn to analyse the use of the digital medium in the world of publishing, scholarship, academic libraries and the cultural heritage sector;
  • Are familiarised with the way in which (XML) markup can enhance the access to publications, both physically and intellectually;
  • Learn how digital content can be presented on-line, using XSL and HTML;
  • Gain insight in designing, implementing and searching a(n SQL) database;
  • Are familiarised with a number of international metadata formats.

Attendance rules

Participation in all lecturers and seminars of this course is compulsory. Upon prior consultation, the lecturer and/or tutor can permit absence at a session for compelling reasons. Students who are absent twice in this semester course (13 weeks) will be given an complementary assignment. Absence on three sessions in this course will generally lead to exclusion from it.


All the texts that need to be read for this course can be accessed online. The reading is not necessarily evenly distributed over the weeks. It is the students’ own responsibility to plan the compulsory reading, but it is strongly recommended that reading is done as closely as possible to the week it has been set for. Leaving it all to the end is decidedly not a good idea, both in view of the drop in success rate which usually attends such procrastinatory behaviour and, more importantly, because it impedes full participation in class discussions. Please come to classes properly prepared. The Further Reading section is intended for the curious of mind. Please regard Adriaan van der Weel, Changing Our Textual Minds: Towards a Digital Order of Knowledge (Manchester University Press, September 2011) as part of your further reading (it is also the chief compulsory text for the New Media and Society course).


Each week, homework is assigned. The homework exercises should be handed in by uploading in your personal folder on the BookandByte-server, before Monday 18:00 in the week that it is due. The exercises will then be discussed in the following seminar. Although homework will not be graded, you can earn a 0.5-point bonus towards your final mark for the course for diligently uploading all homework exercises. This bonus will only apply when the average grade of the Assignments is higher than 5.5.


Three assignments need to be made during the course. The average mark of these assignments make up 75% of the final grade. The remaining 25% will be determined by the written examination. A 0.5 bonus can be earned through the homework exercises, but only if the average mark for the assignments surpasses 5.5.