Creating The Pauling Catalogue: Typography and Proofreading

A sample of the Pauling Catalogue page layout. Vol 1, pg. 47

A sample of the Pauling Catalogue page layout. Vol 1, pg. 47

[Part 6 of 9]

As work on The Pauling Catalogue moved further in the direction of what would become the finished product, one surprisingly difficult set of decisions requiring action concerned the typography of the set’s 1,700+ pages.

After much research, two typefaces – Palatino Lynotype and Myriad Pro – and ten fonts were purchased for use in the publication. The purchase of these multiple font options was prompted by the need for a vast library of “special characters” (e.g. certain scientific symbols and non-Roman alphabetic characters) for use throughout the project. As mentioned earlier in this series, coping with the challenges presented by special characters was in part enabled by the use of XML.

XSL was likewise enlisted in the battle against rogue special characters.  Part of what is depicted in the illustration below is the report that was generated by a custom XSL transform written to search for unsupported characters in the hundreds of thousands of lines of XML code that comprise the The Pauling Catalogue dataset.  Characters for which no supportive font library could be found were displayed by the report as the symbols which have been highlighted in pink.  This XSL-based approach worked effectively in identifying problematic areas of text within draft versions of the six-volume set.

An example of the XSL reports used to locate "missing" special characters.  Inset are two examples of special characters created by hand.

An example of the XSL reports used to locate missing special characters.

It is worth noting too that, even with two typfaces and ten fonts working on his behalf, the project team’s graphic designer was still, in a few instances, forced to create certain symbol glyphs by hand.  Two such examples are spotlighted above — the Georgian letter “vin” and the scientific “double-arrow” symbol representing a system in equilibrium.

A great deal of proofreading was already built into the catalogue files as a result of nearly two decades worth of editing and spellchecking in WordPerfect.  Six local drafts of The Pauling Catalogue prototype were printed out on the OSU campus over the eighteen months that the editorial staff spent developing and refining the project. Each of these drafts was line-edited by the indispensable Special Collections student staff, with special attention paid to anomalies caused by special characters. An example of the reams of notes that the students compiled is included here.

Our students did an outstanding job of proofing the six local version drafts.

Our students did an outstanding job of proofing the six local-version drafts.

Image captions, page headers and prefatory materials were closely reviewed by the editorial staff.  That said, a few big mistakes nearly made their way into the finished project.  Can you spot the error below?  We didn’t until our review of the project bluelines – the last possible point at which changes could realistically be made!

The Pauling Catalogue

The Pauling Catalogue







The Pauling Catalogue is available for purchase at http://paulingcatalogue.org/

One Response

  1. […] Go to the author’s original blog: Creating the Pauling Catalogue: Typography and Proofreading […]

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