Creating The Pauling Catalogue: Page Design

Example text and image from The Pauling Catalogue scrapbooks series

Example text and image from The Pauling Catalogue scrapbooks series

[Part 7 of 9]

Once the publication’s text had been encoded and its illustrations selected, the next major challenge in creating The Pauling Catalogue was the actual design of the publication, page-by-page and volume-by-volume.  This process was carried out chiefly through the skillful implementation of Adobe’s InDesign software.

Having marked-up the raw text of the publication in XML, the catalogue’s textual content was ready to import into InDesign.  The result of this import, however, was a large mass of largely-unformatted text.  As much as possible, various characteristics were assigned to groups of text based upon a given group’s location along the xml heirarchy.  In this, specific sets of data were styled automatically through a pre-determined set of formatting rules specifying font, color and spacing rules.

The illustration below is an example of the output generated by this process.  The top level of the hierarchy for this series is the series itself, “Biographical.”  The second level of the heirarchy is the subseries, in this case “Personal and Family.”  The third level is a box title, and the fourth level is a folder title.  The illustration depicts the styling characteristics that were assigned to levels three and four of the hierarchy in the Biographical series — all box titles were formatted in red, all folder titles were formatted in black, and each had its own spacing rules.

Personal and Family

An example of the styling output in Biographical: Personal and Family

Formatting the publication’s illustrations was a significantly more complex proposition.  During its initial design phase, a placeholder image template was inserted on each page of The Pauling Catalogue. These templates consisted of three “boxes” meant to hold printing material — one box for the illustration, one box for the illustration’s catalogue identification number and one box for it’s caption — as well as two additional “boxes” in which non-printing design notes (an instructional note for the designer indicating where the image should be located on a given page, and an abbreviated description of the image used to generate illustration indices published at the back of each volume) were inserted. Identifier and caption information for each illustration was imported directly into these image templates from a series of master Excel spreadsheets. For pages not containing an illustration, the placeholder templates were later removed.

A representation of the multiple "boxes" that comprised the image template used for each of the 1,200+ illustrations in The Pauling Catalogue

A representation of the multiple "boxes" comprising the image template used to format each of the 1,200+ illustrations incorporated into The Pauling Catalogue.

A great deal of image correction was likewise conducted to remove flaws — dust speckles, for instance — from the selected illustrations.

A particularly extreme example of the image correction often required in the formatting of the illustrations used in The Pauling Catalogue.

A particularly extreme example of the image correction often required in the formatting of the illustrations used in The Pauling Catalogue.

A few original graphics were also created for this project, most notably the Pauling Catalogue badge designed for presentation on the cover of each volume.

The Pauling Catalogue badge and the Pauling Papers logo -- both are used as design elements throughout The Pauling Catalogue.

The Pauling Catalogue badge and the Pauling Papers logo -- both are used as design elements throughout The Pauling Catalogue.

Manual corrections were made to minimize “widows” and “orphans,” and a few additional manual changes were made directly in InDesign to correct small problems that would not be efficient to address in XML or XSL.

The Pauling Catalogue

The Pauling Catalogue

All design decisions were made with the overarching, two-pronged goal of this project kept in mind: 1) to disseminate scholarly information in a clean and useable manner and 2) to create a product that is aesthetically pleasing, browseable and of interest to a broad audience. While the primary market for The Pauling Catalogue is presumed to be academic libraries and history departments, we feel that the finished product is likewise at home on the coffee table or living room book shelf.

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

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