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Hi Deena,

The chief liability of modifying the HTML generated by your XSLT
stylesheets is that you will have to re-apply these changes each time
you generate new HTML of finding aids, that is each time you update
the EAD of an existing finding aid and each time you publish a new
finding aid (more ongoing maintenance, greater susceptibility to
inconsistency in the display of the finding ads).  The benefit of
altering the XSLT is that you make changes to the rendering in one
place (the stylesheets) and they will be applied consistently to all
the finding aids when you regenerate their HTML versions.

Now, if you have CSS knowledge in-house, and if the HTML you generate
via XSLT has enough cues for the application of CSS to achieve the
desired styling, then you can make your styling changes in one place
(your CSS stylesheets) and have them apply automatically to all the
HTML pages that use those stylesheets.  However, CSS has limited
powers to do certain things, like changing the order in which elements
are displayed.

If you have a large number of stylesheets with a consistent set of
changes, then (all other things being equal) modifying the XSLT or CSS
is the way to go.  If you have just a few finding aids that are seldom
revised, or if many of the changes are finding-aid specific and not
generalizable to your whole collection of stylesheets, then post-XSLT
changes to the HTML is probably the way to go.  You can also take a
hybrid approach, with a few generalized changes to the XSLT or CSS
plus editing of the HTML after transformation.

You have to compare the resources required (staff time or funds for
consultants: the "all other things" that may not be equal) for the
alternatives:  the cost of training staff in XSLT or of hiring a
consultant vs the cost in staff time of making and maintaining manual
modifications in the post-XSLT HTML.

If you do make manual edits to the HTML, I recommend documenting these
changes carefully so that they can be applied consistently to new HTML
files.

Chuck Bearden

On 10/29/07, Deena Schwimmer <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
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> For those of us currently posting our finding aids to the web as flat html files, is there a difference if some of the style aspects (color, font, spacing, etc.) were to be handled by modifying the html file directly post-transformation, versus having all the style come from the xsl transformation?  Our resources are much stronger in html than xsl, and we'll be able to post our finding aids looking just like we want them much more quickly this way.  Are there issues I'm missing with doing this (only in the short run until we get up to speed…).?
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> Thanks,
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> Deena Schwimmer
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> ________________
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> Deena M. Schwimmer, Associate Archivist
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> Yeshiva University Archives / 500 W. 185th St. / 6th Floor / New York, NY 10033
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> email: [log in to unmask] / phone: (212) 960-5451 / fax: (212) 960-0066
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