Create: Research, Write, illustrate, Edit
At the start of this phase you have sorted out personnel, budget, a working check-list of species, area of coverage, Glossary and list of information types.
The current phase is mostly a question of putting into place all items discussed in the plan, although inevitably this will evolve.
A large part of the accumulation of data will involve collection of field data, indentifying plants and collating data into a database. This may well include collection of digital photography. Otherwise an artist may be independently working on artwork, liaising closely with the authors to show them which details to show.
Most field guides involve developing textual data, much of which can be arranged and formatted in a database, with a set of images, which can be organised in a separate database. It is worth aiming to get as much data typed and corrected in a database (see Brahms), and printed out for drafts using the database report facilities. The database can be programmed to format sections such as local and scientific name indexes separately.
As the time for publication reaches
There are various approaches to creating page layouts which can be field tested and published:
- A simple image gallery type of guide, with pictures and minimal text, can be assembled directly from image databases such as Thumbs Plus or ACDsee. It is easiest to lay pictures out in a regular matrix, and then it is generally best to allocate a square area for each picture. To make the most use of the space, it is therefore useful to 'squarify', or crop as many images to square shapes as possible (tree boles are awkward in this respect), unless all your images are the same shape and oritentation.
- It is useful to scan drawn artwork (at a safe resolution) and store in an image database.
- These picture mosaics can be arranged on pages opposite text pages created in a word processor such as Microsoft Word. Text and images can obviously also be arranged in more complex arrangements word-processors; it is better to divide the document in small sections to avoid excessive document sizes. To keep a standard format, a document template can be designed and filled with text and images.
- For more complex field guides, use a desk-top publishing package (or better still, work with a publisher who will do this for you); again you may well end up using one or a few a standard design templates. Text should still be written and checked in a database and/or word processor, and finalised before merging in a DTP package.
- In order to faciliate cross-referencing in simpler guides, it can be useful to give each species a sequential code, or section.subsection number stored in the database. This can render a page index unnecessary and created straight from the database, even if it is finally formatted in a word-processor or DTP.
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