7 thoughts on “Content Transclusion: One Step Closer”

  1. Thanks for this, Tony.

    One step closer, indeed. I’ve been interested in the idea of transclusion since I read Nelson’s ‘Literary Machines’ in the early 80s. I recall that, for Nelson, an important aspect of transclusion would be the ability to credit the author of the piece being transcluded for copyright or royalty purposes.

    It would be interesting to consider whether this is doable, or even desirable.

    1. Wouldn’t credit be implicit in the link back to the source document?

      Our first effort at transclusion for JISCPress includes a visible full link back to the source (it also provides us with a trackback), but personally, I’d like this to be hidden, viewable only by a mouse over or click to expand under the embedded content. We’ve also added the comment count on the page and paragraph.

      The credit/links/extra metadata is useful but gets in the way of reading if not hidden from view. Footnotes are the usual way to get around this, but until there’s a universal footnoting standard that places the references at the bottom of the document in the correct style and inserted in the right order, metadata hidden from normal view, seems like a reasonable compromise to me.

  2. Joss is gonna be pissed about the short codes, soon enough you’ll have a system. Lucky he’s out right now campaigning against Anarchy Media player, or this post would have been vandalized long ago :)

  3. I’ve been using MediaWiki templates for a while (I did not know that they had such a fancy shmancy name) for creating common navigation, sidebars, and layered content pages in our Horizon project Wikis. You can pair that with almost anything that can pull dynamic content into a MW site via RSS or any other code (http://cogdogblog.com/2008/09/10/anything-in-your-mediawiki-pages/)– its a simple mattter of writing your own Extension code, pop that into a MW file, and reuse it anywhere via {{MyFunkyIncludeThing}}

    This feature is also available in WikiSpaces, though you cant get custom PHP in there, it is a useful tool.

    It’s a powerful feature that I found my accident, as are most things in MediaWiki, I might use about 8% of its capabilities.

    The internal wiki “transclusion” is easy; I am not so convinced you can do it between MW instances, as it is done via access to its own database table.

    The push out to WordPress though is where it looks exciting, keep banging the pipes in the lab, Dr Hirst!

  4. Another piece of work that has supported transclusion for some time and in which you might be interested, is DITA. Originally from IBM it became an OASIS standard in 2005 – if I remember correctly.

    Info about DITA and transclusion – http://xml.coverpages.org/ni2003-04-25-a.html

    Info about DITA – http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=dita

    It’s approach to specialisation has also lead to one for Learning and Training and there has been some interesting work in that group with OER content and transformation.

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