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Importing and Exporting

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Our editors allow you to work with your content online, anywhere, anytime, without needing to keep track of files on your local hard drive. While this works in most cases, there are also times when authors or developers would prefer working in an offline environment. Similarly, many authors with existing Word, OpenOffice, or LaTeX documents do not want to have to start over with a new document. The following sections describe the import and export options available to you through our platform, along with links to resources to help get you started.

Contents

Importing a Module

There are several options to help authors quickly upload and convert existing word processor documents into CNXML modules. These importers were designed to accommodate as many common cases as possible, but do require a certain degree of preparation to ensure that the documents are imported as accurately and completely as possible. If you are looking to import content, please be sure to read all of the documentation and template information provided before beginning the import process.

Importers

The following importers are provided for working with existing or external content:

Screenshot showing a the module import menu expanded

Microsoft Word Importer

You can use the Microsoft Word importer to import .doc or .docx files and convert them to CNXML modules. The following links provide resources to help get you started:

Remember that importing a Word document into a module will overwrite any existing content, so only use this method when working with a new module or when you are sure you don't mind starting over.

OpenOffice Writer Importer

You can use the OpenOffice Writer importer to import OpenOffice files and convert them to CNXML modules. The following links provide resources to help get you started:

Remember that importing an OpenOffice document into a module will overwrite any existing content, so only use this method when working with a new module or when you are sure you don't mind starting over.

LaTeX Importer

You can use the LaTeX importer to import .tex files (packed as a .zip file along with embedded media files) and convert them to CNXML modules. The following links provide resources to help get you started:

Remember that importing a LaTeX document into a module will overwrite any existing content, so only use this method when working with a new module or when you are sure you don't mind starting over.

IMPORTANT: Please be sure to read all of the instructions in the help file and template very carefully, particularly the list of supported LaTeX packages. The vast majority of LaTeX importer errors are the result of using an unsupported package.

Plain CNXML Importer

For authors wishing to develop CNXML files in an external editor, you can upload your files using the Plain CNXML Importer. This importer will overwrite the current CNXML module with the contents of the file provided, so only use this method when working with a new module or when you are sure you don't mind starting over.

Several authors have asked if we provide support for offline CNXML editing. While we do not currently provide such support, we are interested in developing this at some point in the future provided there is sufficient interest for our authors. If you would be interested in contributing to this development, please email changeme@example.org and let us know!

ZIP Importer

The ZIP Importer is unique in that it is the only importer that does not necessarily overwrite the contents of the module. The contents of the .zip file are uploaded to the Files tab of the module, replacing/updating any contents of the same name that already exist.

  • If the ZIP file contains a file called index.cnxml, then the module contents are overwritten just as they are with the Plain XML importer.
  • If the ZIP file contains files with the same name as previously attached files, then those files are replaced with the new version. This feature makes the ZIP importer a convenient way to update several images, downloads, or other supporting resources at once.
  • If the ZIP file contains files which are not already attached to the module, then those files are added just as if they had been added manually through the Files tab. This feature makes the ZIP importer a convenient way to "batch upload" several new supporting resources at once.
You can mix and match from any of the above scenarios; for example, you can upload new files while simultaneously updating existing images, replace the index.cnxml file without affecting other existing resources, etc. This importer can be used as a batch uploader, as an extension of the Plain CNXML importer, or in conjunction with with the ZIP exporter.

Note: The module file structure does not support folders or subdirectories. Any folders or subdirectories in the zip file that you import into a module will be ignored.

Preparing your document for import

Before you begin importing your document, you will need to first to create a module to hold your content. To do so, follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Open the MyRhaptos tab to access the authoring area, and select either your Personal Workspace or a Shared Workgroup to get started editing.
  2. Create a new module by selecting Module from the drop-down menu and clicking the Create New Item button.
  3. Read and agree to the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license.
  4. Complete the module metadata section, including the module title, language, subject, keywords, and summary sections.

(For additional information on creating modules, please see the New Author Guide and the Create a Module guide.)

Once you've created the module, you will need to prepare your document for the import process. The exact steps will vary depending on the type of document you are working with - see the corresponding importer help pages linked in the previous section - but there are a few general guidelines that apply to all cases:

  • Simple documents are easier to import. Documents with simple formatting, such as text-rich documents with embedded images, are the best option when using the templates provided as it becomes much easier to apply the correct styling information. Documents with complex structures, such as multiple columns or tables within other tables, may not import correctly and will often result in errors.
  • Use common image formats. Always use common image formats, such as JPG, PNG, or GIF, when embedding images in your source documents. Avoid images created from within the word processor, such as Microsoft Word's drawing tools or word art, as these will not import correctly.
  • Use headers to create sections. You can use standard header styles (Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.) to create sections and subsections in your module. Always start with Heading 1 for your first section, use Heading 2 for a subsection, Heading 1 for your next top-level section, etc.
  • Don't worry about formatting. Most formatting will be lost on import, replaced with the standard formatting for the resulting CNXML elements. Do not try to use whitespace (returns, tabs, spaces, etc.), alignment, or font size/typeface to control the presentation of your document, as this will not be preserved after import.
  • Use only the styles/packages identified in the templates. Most importer errors are the result of users trying to apply their own formatting in Word documents (e.g. using the bold button) rather than the CNXML styles provided, or by using unsupported packages in their LaTeX documents. Be sure to only use the styles and packages that are identified in the templates and documentation.
  • No really, don't worry about formatting. When using the importer templates, do not be concerned with the size, color, or fonts selected for the CNXML styles - these are only used to help you see where styles start and stop and do not reflect the final product (e.g. text in the CNXML Emphasis style will not actually be blue in your module, even though it appears blue in the Word importer template).



Importing a Collection

Importing collections is currently not supported; however, we have recently begun laying the groundwork to make this feature available at some point in the future. If you are a developer and would like more information regarding the current support of exported or third-party CollXML documents, please contact changeme@example.org for assistance.



Exporting a Module

You can export a module for offline editing, to create a backup of your content, or to use with an external platform that supports the use of CNXML documents. You can export a module from your workgroup by checking it out and using the "Export" menu in the module editor:



Screenshot showing a the expanded module export menu from the module editor

There are two options available for exporting modules:

  • Plain CNXML allows you to download the CNXML file for the module, which contains all of the module text and CNXML markup. The exported file is titled "<moduleid>-plain.cnxml", where <moduleid> is the module's ID number.
  • Zip File allows you to download the module's CNXML file (titled "index.cnxml") along with all attached resource files (such as embedded images, downloadable handouts, etc.).
You can also access the CNXML source code for any published module by appending "source" to the module's URL (e.g. http://cnx.org/content/m10884/latest/source).



Exporting a Collection

You can use the collection export feature to download a copy of a collection for external use. There are two versions of the collection available:

  • The complete version, which includes information about the collection structure as well as the complete contents of all component modules.
  • The CollXML-only version, which includes only the structural information for the collection and does not include component modules.
When viewing the published version of a collection online, you can export both versions of the collection from the metadata page - simply scroll to the bottom of the collection home page and click on the 'Metadata' link, and locate the appropriate link at the bottom of the 'Metadata' section.



Screenshot showing a the collection export option from the collection metadata page

Collection authors can also download both versions of the collection export file from their workgroup after publishing a collection, and can download the CollXML-only version from any checked-out collection.

IMPORTANT: There is currently no support for importing collections, including those exported through this feature. At present, the collection export feature is provided primarily for developers interested in taking advantage of existing content for use with external platforms supporting CollXML/CNXML documents.

The Collection Export File (complete version)

The complete exported collection is packaged as a ZIP file titled "<collectionid>_<version>_complete.zip", where <collectionid> and <version> are the collection's ID and version number, respectively. Once expanded, this version of the exported collection contains the following:

  • A CollXML document (titled "<collectionid>_<version>_collection.xml") describing the collection's structure.
  • For each component module, a folder titled "<moduleid>" (the module's ID). Each of these folders contains:
    • The CNXML document for the module (titled "index.cnxml").
    • Any resource files, such as embedded images or downloadable handouts, that are attached to the module.

The Collection Export File (CollXML-only version)

The structure-only version of the exported collection is available as a downloadable CollXML document titled "<id>_<version>_collection.xml", where <id> and <version> are the collection's ID and version number, respectively. The CollXML file contains information about the collection including references to component modules, the order in which they are presented in the collection, and chapter/section information, along with a copy of the collection metadata.

For more information regarding the contents of the collection export file, please see the CollXML help page.



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