During the planning phase you will think through the objectives or purpose of the guide in great detail, and discuss and refine them with prospective users and collaborators. As a result, you will have:
- Either decided to postpone field guide production e.g. so you can complete some vital preparatory research
- Or, hopefully, you will have refined plans through interactions with users, and developed the initial ideas into a working plan (for very basic and short field guides, where much less preparation and infrastructure is needed, these might be very simple).
Main ingredients of a project plan
- Knowledge of the sources of information available for your area. If there is no recent Flora or similar publication that covers your area, your work will be considerably harder than if there is.
- Knowledge where other information about species can be found. Links established with herbaria.
- Authors and involvement of other people defined with the roles they will play, and time allocation; draft contracts and their work-plan might be discussed.
- Summary of agreements and meetings held to discuss and arrange all of the above.
- Availability of equipment, transport and other resources established.
- With any luck you will have sorted out your publisher as well, and included them in planning sessions.
- Decision on how the guide will be distributed, cost to users, subsidy etc.
- A budget, incuding printing costs, extra staff time, transport etc.
- Where necessary, to top up the budget, a grant application completed and succesful. This may well delay the completion of the planning phase by a year or more.
- Outline or plan of the proposed field Guide itself
- Don't forget to try to make the most of the project work in terms of Multiple outputs
Proposed inputs and activities
Although the details of your plans should be tailored to your particular situation, there are some general rules of thumb, or Do's and don'ts of Field Guide Production.