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Journal of Online Mathematics and its Applications
Expository Mathematics in the Digital Age
Many of the words that have been used for decades to describe expository publications in mathematics no longer make sense in the digital age:
Writing expository, web-based mathematics is difficult. As already noted, an author not only needs to have a deep understanding of the underlying mathematical topic and good general writing skills, but also programming skills, technical expertise, design skills, and an appreciation for the new possibilities that web technologies afford.
In the pages that follow, we will discuss "best practices" for expository mathematics in the digital age. Our hope is that this discussion will be helpful, not only for potential JOMA authors, but for ordinary teachers and students as well. Again, whether we publish in journals or not, many of us are authors and users of web-based materials.
For general web document, some basic "best practices" are now widely accepted by experts, although still largely unknown by average authors. Naturally, these general practices apply to mathematical exposition as well. By and large, they are based on two core principles: access and reuse.
Accessibility refers to the extent to which a web document can be processed by a variety of devices (hardware and software), depending on the user and the purpose, and with particular attention to persons with disabilities. To elaborate on our previous list, such devices include
Reuseability refers to the ease of breaking a web document into separate parts that have value on their own, and can be reused by the author and by others. For mathematical articles, such components might include
For mathematical exposition, "best practices" are still evolving. JOMA hopes to encourage the discussion and to play a significant role in the formulation of these practices.