EdTech, My Masters, WordPress

Publishing my thesis with WordPress and Digress.it – Part 2

I’m working on publishing my thesis on this site using WordPress and the Digress.it plugin. This is part 2. You can read about how I configured WordPress to run a second blog on a sub-domain and set up Digress.it in part 1.

From Word to WordPress

This is a big challenge. If I want to take advantage of all the features of Digress.it (like the auto-created table of contents), and create a nicely formatted site, then I need to publish the 130+ page thesis into post size chunks.

The brute force way is to begin cutting and pasting, but I want to see if I can be a bit more elegant than that.

I remember experimenting a few years back with publishing from Word to WordPress using  XML-RPC, so thought I would test this option out. A few setting adjustments in both WordPress and Word to enable XML-RPC publishing and a successful test post has me thinking I am on the right track.

Splitting a 130 page Word document

Still, while this looks promising, I can’t just hit the publish button in Word and magically expect my 130+ page thesis to automagically be sliced up and posted into separate posts. In fact, publishing the thesis this way will end up creating a single blog post of 40,000 words. Not ideal. So, I need to figure out how to split my single long Word document into smaller documents, and then try to publish each of those smaller documents as individual posts.

Surely, there must be a way in Word to split a long document into smaller ones. And sure enough, there is via a Word feature known as sub-documents, which allows a user to split a large document into smaller pieces.

Using the headings and sub-headings of my thesis as the logical starting point for dividing up the content, I split the original Word document into 56 documents based on chapters, headings and sub-headings.

I did have a few formatted tables and images in my thesis and was worried about how they would publish to the site directly from Word. There was some formatting that I need to do to clean up the formatting, but, for the most part, they came over clean and intact, complete captions and legends.

I was also a bit worried about how the participant quotes would translate. Being that this was qualitative research, the analysis draws heavily on participant quotes to support the findings and these quotes needed to be correctly formatted using the correct blockquote tags.

In fact, the only real issue I had (and it was quite minor) was that the posts had extra paragraphs tags at the beginning and the end of the posts, so that needed a bit of editing.

Next steps

So, now that the content is in, I could just stop and call it a self-published thesis. But I want to be able to do a bit more with it. My next tasks will include:

  • See if there is a way I can structure the TOC a bit better to have headings and subheadings formatted different from chapter headings. Rught now it’s a pretty long list with no visual hierarchy.
  • Setting up a way for people to download the entire thesis as an ebook, probably using the Anthologize plugin.
  • Add in a plugin or two to generate metadata, specifically for adding content to a citation manager like Zotero or Mendeley. Perhaps the COinS plugin
  • Look at ways to generate hyperlinks within the document to my references and citations. Something like the KCite or Zotpress plugin.

I’d also like to take a crack at some of the CSS and clean up some of the CSS around how tables and data are displayed. But these are all projects for another day.

CC BY 4.0 Publishing my thesis with WordPress and Digress.it – Part 2 by Clint Lalonde is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Wrangler of learning technologies by day, Dad, cyclist, soccer fan and, lately, home roaster of coffee by night. INFJ. I am the Manager of Educational Technologies at BCcampus, working primarily on open education projects. This blog is a personal blog and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BCcampus.

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