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local articles

Is there any mileage in the idea of having local articles?

These would be things that do not stand on their own but could be used as the glue in a tutorial or as answer to a question.

I was thinking that one could write a number of ”chapters” or ”lessons” and add them to a collection. Each lesson would guide the reader through material, providing the links to definitions, explanations, worked examples and exercises.

To give a concrete example, the details of arithmetic functions, convolutions, inversesPlanetmathPlanetmathPlanetmath etc are already available on the site. But we need some motivation, some path through the maths in order to understand their significance (unless you happen to be an expert in analytic number theory).

I suppose that if one was very careful it would be possible to find a title for a chapter or lesson that would make sense in the list of articles, but it might be difficult if the lesson contained diverse ideas, or all the concepts already had articles named after them.

Another possibility would be to make a new class for topics. I mean make them separate from articles. Put them in a separate list.

Then it might be possible to remember which topic a user was actually looking at - keep a link to it in the header area of the page - so that the user can easily get back to the topic.

Ok, so it would mean messy stuff behind the scenes, cookies or passing the URL with every page request, or using frames. But it would enable the user to get back to the topic after looking at other articles.

Then topics could be used as the glue to hold together a series of articles, definitions, examples, exercises etc.

By the way, it would also mean that it would be easier to find the topics. I had been wandering around the site for a week before I discovered topics.

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