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OZ UnitB Fanfiction Archive Uploading Information Help/FAQ

This is the Help/FAQ file for use of the Posting Interface form, troubleshooting, and proper preparation of your text files for best archiving results on the OZ Unit B Fanfiction Archive. If you have questions about the archive in general, what kinds of stories are suitable for posting, rules, etc. please consult the General Information Help/FAQ page.


Preparing Text (.txt) Files for Upload and Automatic Conversion to HTML:

This document is intended to help authors format their text files so they will be most effectively converted to HTML for inclusion in the archive. Contributed by Merry Lynne; originally written for the due South fanfic archive. Many thanks to Merry for writing this up!

  1. Use the Preview feature
    The archive now allows you to preview your stories before you actually post them. Please use this option! All the special formatting tricks mentioned below to allow italicizing, bolding, underlining, etc, will be correctly previewed. If you see something looking odd in the preview, it's going to look odd in the final version: try tweaking your text file to fix it.

  2. Saving As Text
    A text file is any file with a name that ends with .txt and which contains no special formatting. This file will have no indents, no special centering, no bold text, no italicized text, no underlined text, etc. Almost every word processor has two ways to save a file: Save, and Save As. If you choose Save As, you will more than likely be offered an option such as "Save as what file type?" or "Type of File" or "Save as Type?" Among your choices will be Text, Text Only, ASCII Dos Text, or something of that nature. Any one of those will usually do the trick. If you have a choice between Text Only and Text Only with Line Breaks, choose the Text Only option. Text Only with Line Breaks makes for a very messy archived story.

  3. Paragraph Formatting
    Every line of text will begin flush with the left margin -- if you have tabs or indents at the beginning of paragraphs, these must be removed before you upload the file.

    You should hit return an extra time between paragraphs, so each paragraph will be separated by a blank line.

  4. Content of File
    Do not include anything in the text file that you are entering in the archive upload interface, as typically this will be automatically inserted for you by the software. IE, do not bother putting your title at the top of the story, because the archive software will put the title in a nice bold header at the beginning for you. Same goes for your e-mail address and name. Many archives will also include author notes, disclaimers, summaries, etc.

  5. Formatting To Avoid
    Do not use upper case letters to show emphasis like shouting or screaming. Do not use // to show thought or, really, to show anything at all. These things will cause your archived story to look very odd.

  6. Limited HTML Tags
    The archive software now allows the use of a limited set of HTML tags for formatting. You can use any of these tags (any others will be stripped out):
    • I (italics)
    • U (underline)
    • B (bold)
    • H1 - H6 (headers)
    • CENTER
    • STRIKE (strikethrough)
    • UL, OL, LI (unordered and ordered lists)
    • DL, DT, DD (descriptive lists)
    • P (paragraph) -- paragraph breaks will be put in automatically for blank lines
    • BR (linebreak)
    • HR (horizontal rule)

    NOTE that the old formatting tricks (eg, putting asterisks around text to make it italicized) will NO LONGER WORK.


Use of HTML tags to create italics, bold, etc.

An addendum by your friendly archivist giving examples of just exactly how to use those HTML tags (for those poor souls who are not already HTML-savvy *g*).

To create italics, for example, enclose text within <I></I> tags in your text document. Such as:

Here is my sentence with <I>the part I want to have italicized</I> contained within the correct brackets.

And here is how the archive software will convert that sentence:

Here is my sentence with the part I want to have italicized contained within the correct brackets.

Follow the same basic procedure for any similar tags <B></B> for bold, <U></U> for underscored text, etc. See above for the list of specific HTML tags the Automated Archive software can recognize.

If your story contains more complicated formatting which requires use of tags other than italics or bold (For example: many different sections which need to be broken up with dividers and headlines, or contains sections of quoted material or bulleted lists you want to set off, etc.), you may find an excellent tutorial on use of basic HTML at Webmonkey. Scroll on down to the Text Tags and Formatting sections, as they are the only tags which apply for our purposes here. Don't bother trying to use unsupported HTML tags (ones not on the above list), however, as the archive software will just strip them out. Use the preview option to test that your tags are working properly.


How to code for accented and special characters

If you have parts of your story that need to be reproduced in a language other than English, you may use special codes to create accented characters in the archive. Many word processors and rich text editors will create accented characters for you, but you cannot simply cut and paste this text into the story because the archive software will not recognize it, and will simply strip out the unrecognized characters. So, you must use HTML or ASCII codes in place of the accented character.

Example: To create the French phrase


in your archived story, you would substitute the HTML or ASCII code for the individual accented characters:


&ecirc; is the code for 'e with a circumflex'
&agrave; is the code for 'a with an accent grave'

You just substitute the code (always beginning with an & and closing with a ;) in the place of the accent or special character (with no spaces between the code and the next letter in the word -- the code segment in its entirety just takes the place of the accented character. I know it looks funny, but that's how it works. *g*). The archive software will automatically convert the code into the correct character.

For your reference, here's a chart containing the codes for just about every special character (accented text is about halfway down the page). Both HTML (name) and ASCII (number) codes worked in my tests, but of course, you should always preview the file before uploading to make sure the archive can read the codes you're using. And if you need a more in-depth explanation of codes for accents and special characters, here's a good article from Webmonkey on the subject.


HELP! What do I do???

  • I'm getting an error message when I try to use the Posting Interface form.

    Possible causes of error messages when you use the Posting Interface form include:
    • Missing or incomplete information on the form. Go back and try the form again, making sure you've filled out all required fields. If you're sure you've filled out everything you were supposed to, and the form still won't submit properly, you may be having a browser compatibility issue. Try the form using a different browser, or e-mail the archivist.
    • You forgot to include a file to upload. Go back and try the form again, making sure you use the "browse" button to indicate a file to upload. If you've tried this a couple of times and the archive still won't accept it, you may be experiencing a browser compatibility issue. Try the form using a different browser, or e-mail the archivist.
    • There was a problem with the file you tried to upload -- try checking the file in a different program for errors (opening it in a Web browser or text editor.) If it looks fine to you and the archive software still won't accept it, e-mail the archivist.

  • I've made major revisions/changes to a story since I uploaded it. OR,
  • I tried, I really did! But my story came out funky or messed up on the archive. OR,
  • I tagged my story information wildly incorrectly on the Posting Interface.

    No biggie. E-mail the archivist with the exact title and author name the story was posted under.

    IMPORTANT: DO NOT try to overwrite an already archived file. The archivist must delete the old file, then you can upload the new version.

  • I'm having some other problem or have a question not addressed here or in the General FAQ

    E-mail the archivist!



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