New HTML Format for my FAQ -- Comments?


Bill Goffe (
Thu, 7 Aug 1997 10:22:35 -0500 (CDT)

I maintain "Resources for Economists on the Internet" (the FAQ
for sci.econ and sci.econ.research). I've been thinking about
changing (i) the process I use to generate it (I currently use
LaTeX2HTML) and (ii) how it is presented to users.

See <> for the
current version; a sample of what I have in mind is located at
<> (only
the "U.S. Macro" section has material in it). To see specifically
how the current version might change, compare
<> from the current one
with <>
from the sample one.

For users, the proposed new version format adds: (i) A short description
of resources when they are listed together. It really helps point out
key features very quickly, such as the St. Louis Fed being a good site
for macro time series. (ii) A quicker way to reach the resource itself
(with the current version, you must go to the long description). In
general, to users, it is basically a superset of the current one.

For me, it should (I hope) be easier to generate the guide (currently,
I have to fixup the html a LOT). In addition, it would now be possible
to list a resource without a long descrption. While some resources need
it, others (such as conferences), really don't and take time to write.
For such resources, simply a list with a short descrption seems best.

For those working with me, it should be easier to link to as
the names to files will (i) be constant, and (ii) of obvious format.

At this stage I have two questions: (i) Is the new format better?
(ii) Is there an exising tool for this? It seems that everyone has
their own tool, and it would be silly to reinvent the wheeel. Yet,
I've looked pretty hard, and can't find one that seems to suit what
I have in mind. OTOH, needs do vary. Any and all thoughts are MOST

See <> for
additional details on the issues here (I've just touched on some
of them above). Plus, you can see a bit of Perl I wrote (please be
kind here ;)


  .---.   Bill Goffe                            
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