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The Internet, World Wide Web, and Mosaic inspire new and innovative approaches to organizing textual materials for educational purposes and for providing access to these materials. We have taken a textbook underconstruction and converted it into electronic form for use with other class materials in an upper level undergraduate observational astronomy course at the University of Virginia.
There are many advantages to this approach for a text. These include relative ease and speed of preparation compared with formal publication, much superior results compared with photocopying, and low cost to the student. Color photographs may easily be integrated with text. The text is easy to revise and keep current, and it would be a straightforward matter to include user contributions and interaction.
Of special value is the structure that can be built in the documents with hypertext anchors. We established links between the class syllabus and the main text, to the illustrated operating manuals for the instrumentation used in the course, to more detailed or difficult material, and to other World Wide Web servers.
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