What is a "shell"

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A shell is the basis of a shell book or other reading materials that is prepared for use in more than one dialect or language. It is usually prepared and stored electronically.


It has certain elements which are not language-specific already determined and in place:


Appropriate text in any language can then be inserted in the blank text spaces.

  Here are some kinds of shells:
  • Electronic shells which are stored as computer files. Text is added directly to a computer copy of the shell before the completed pages are printed.
  • Shells which are stored as printing plates for use with the offset press or digital duplicator.
  • Preprinted shells which are uncut, unbound paper copies of pages to which the text must be added by hand or mechanically, such as with a


For more technical information,


The developer's guide to shell books


Here is a diagram of a shell and an example of a shell book:


Context for this page:

Page content last modified: 25 October 1999

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