Created: 980815

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Text Box Mini-Glossary Maker for Teachers

Format Rules, Sample Data, Limitations

Goal: This form allows you to submit a text file and have my Perl program turn it into a functional mini-glossary like the following examples:

101 Terms Used in European Christian Art
Characters in the Iliad

Instructions: Prepare your glossary material in the correct format (!!!) and type or paste it into the box below. Then hit "submit," and (God willing) it will be turned into a glossary HTML page. You should then save the page onto your own hard disk and put it into your own web site. My program does not keep a copy of your input or of the output it creates, so if you do not save it, it is gone.

Be sure to proof your finished glossary and to try all features of it. You may wish to modify it yourself before placing it on your web site.

Form to Submit Data:


Absolutely Compulsory Format Rules:

  1. Glossary items must be separated by two percent signs. A carriage return doesn't cut it.
  2. The first item will be used as the onscreen title of the glossary and as the content for the title bar.
  3. The second item will be used as the text that appears when the "credits" button is clicked.
  4. Additional lines must have the format: Term-for-Definition | definition. (The divider is a "pipe" symbol; the "pipe" is located above the backslash \ symbol on most computer keyboards.) Spaces beside the %% or | dividers are ignored.
  5. All multiple spaces and all carriage returns are converted to single spaces.

Sample Data

The following (blue) text passages are both correctly formatted. (Remember that the distribution of carriage returns is irrelevant.)

As an experiment, I suggest that you "cut and paste" one of these examples into the text box and have a look at the result; try saving the result on your own computer and viewing it independently of my web site. You might even try uploading it to your own web site to see how it works on your server. If all works well, feel free to use this page to generate mini-glossaries any time you need one.

Sample Data Set #1 (neatly formatted)
Words Beginning With 'Virg' (Mostly)
This list of words is arbitrary and capricious and not from any reputable source.
Vergil | See Virgil.
Vergilomastix | 'Scourge of Virgil,' a name given to anyone who would dare to criticize Virgil.
virga | Thin 'stripes' of rain that evaporate before reaching the ground.
virgate | English measure of land area, usually (!) equivalent to about 30 acres or so.
Virgil | Roman writer, a.k.a. Publius Vergilius Maro (17-19 B.C.). The spelling Virgil is a Medieval revisionist attempt to link the word to 'virga,' or 'branch,' for reasons which one needs to be Medieval to appreciate properly. Today occasionally spelled Vergil, which is of course closer to the way he himself spelled his name.
virgin | Person who has never had sexual intercourse.
virginal | Musical instrument, similar to a very small harpsichord.
Virginia | An American state; a woman's name.
Virgo | A constellation near Leo and Libra. Also a sign of the zodiac; people of my sign are warned to beware of such people.

Sample Data Set #2 (with allowable messiness in formatting)

Demo Glossary of Friends' Names (With Accent Marks)
Any relation to persons living and/or dead is purely coincidental. Well, maybe not purely…
Carlos | an old guy who likes chess more than is good for a person.%% Gloria|Carlos' longsuffering girl friend, who crochets while he plays chess and claims to have made the largest afghan in human history.%%

Eldad Q. Finkelstein|a friend who markets "Finkelstein's Kosher Cigars" on the Internet and hopes to be a fish in his next incarnation.%%
Hieranymus | a guy who likes to cook, especially with garlic.%% Geoffrey (or maybe Jeffrey) | Hieronymus' buddy, who likes to
eat what Hi cooks and usually smells of garlic.
Simeón César Martín Úrtos     |a guy whose parents were into accent marks. He never really recovered from that and often complains of seeing spots before his eyes.%% Har8ry | a guy with a silent 8 in his name. %% 76|one of the younger kids of the old woman who lived in a shoe.%% 'No See-um' Rose|    (= 'Who Me' Rose) a whiney woman who's also always late; she probably actually WILL be a fish in her next incarnation.%%


  1. Terms may include accent marks, but since the JavaScript rules for variable names are limiting, two terms which vary ONLY by an accent marked letter (cát vs cét, for example, or tà vs tá) will produce the same variable names, which will need to be corrected by hand in the finished HTML page.
  2. Use single quotation marks (British-style); a double quotation mark will be converted to two single ones. (Sorry about that.)
  3. Note that if accent marks or other special symbols ARE included, they may not be interpreted correctly on all browsers. Moreover the usual HTML special character codes for these letters cannot be used either, since, at least in Netscape and at least at this time, they are not interpreted within the form display box, but merely displayed as they occur in the source text.
  4. The revision date at the top of the generated page will not display correctly when the page is returned to you from the Perl script. However it will be right if you save the page to your own computer or server and then view it again. The reason for this seems to have something to do with gremlins.
  5. The output uses white letters on a dark green ground, so it will not be legible if a user's browser is set to overrule the host color choices. (No rational person would set a browser that way, so I do not apologize for this.) This can be changed by hand in the HTML code if you wish.
  6. I take no responsiblity if this program screws up your life in some unforeseen way. I was just trying to be helpful.

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