Saturday, May 10, 2014

More reasons to love markdown plus critic markup

Deadlines for senior projects mean that in addition to the interesting challenge of how to submit genuinely replicable digital scholarship to the library's institutional repository, it's time to generate pdfs so that the Graphic Arts Department can bind something for the library shelves.  The projects I'm advising are formatted in markdown extended to support citation by scholarly URN (what I'm calling "citedown").  We wanted to create markdown source that could be used with leanpub, beautiful docs, or pandoc, so the automated workflow has to handle some potentially complex issues resolving URNs, downloading local copies of embedded images and rewriting references to them, etc.

I had been using critic markup for editorial questions and copy editing, but with one eye on the calendar, I wanted to test the pdf workflow before we had a complete draft with all critic markup resolved.

To my surprise, when we used pandoc to lay out the text with a LaTex book structure, it recognized the critic markup and formatted it in the resulting pdf!  Comments default, appropriately, to a screaming magenta that could have been taken from a 1990s GIS palette.  (Anyone who forgets to run their automated process to find and resolve critic markup will have a hard time missing these.)

Pandoc has always been a major reason to love markdown's simplicity.  Now it's one more reason to consider the combination of markdown plus critic markup.