Case Study: Oceanographic Web Book

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macte-screenshotThe challenge

As the field of ocean optics continues to expand, researchers and professionals from the field had a bold idea: Resurrect an out-of-print textbook and publish it to the web, creating a continually-updated resource that is open for additions and comments by other members in the field. The ultimate goal: To create the world’s most updated, accessible, and comprehensive resource for students, practitioners, and businesses alike.

The solution

Solid technology foundation: With the authors’ goals of an open, continually-updated resource established, RainStorm knew that a critical technology goal would be to ensure the site was as easy to maintain and add to as possible. Using the existing SiteTurbine content management system as a platform, RainStorm built a custom module for managing the book, giving authors a secure web-based software package to create chapters, sections, and pages. Central to the module is fully-integrated support for LaTex, a widely-used open source programming language familiar to scientists which allows for complex figures and equations to be written and displayed on the web.

Feedback from the field

With a simple, powerful system in place for adding and editing the book, RainStorm added a commenting system to the public book, allowing members of the field — allowing students, professors, and industry professionals to contribute to the text with their own findings and feedback.

Widely available

In keeping with the goal of making the web book as widely accessible as possible, RainStorm designed and implemented a simple graphic design which places the content front-and-center. The site is cross-platform and standards-compliant, ensuring that it displays nicely on a wide variety of browsers and devices for as wide an audience as possible.

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