Chicago "Rapid Color Guides"
Chicago field museum have adopted a very interesting, rapid approach to guide production with their laminated sheets of phots and names, or rapid color guides. No doubt many people in a position to make a simple guide for a particular park or for school excursion could profitably follow their "visual catalogue of biodiversity" example.
The RCG page units are laminated sheets with colour photographs and names, each composed of 20 images of examples (often 20 species) of a particular type e.g. Menispermaceae genera, or seeds, with usually one view of each species, often flowering or fruiting.
The Rapid Color Guides represent a type of modular approach, in that pages are released a few at a time and are updated independently, but are not quite Modular guides in the sense used here, which would imply a consistent taxonomic content, one unit per page (e.g. one species or genus per page) in a way that facilitates the collation of customised sets.
Robin Foster kindly shared his experience of the process of disseminating these guides:
Source R. Foster, C. Vriesendorp. Chicago Field Museum
So far, even though I've hawked them door-to-door at bookstores in Quito, and tourist outlets for the Machu Picchu guides in Cusco, there hasn't been any response, even though at the latter they said they could sell them for $10 each and I was willing to sell them to them for $3 each. I might have to have an agent in each place. I am looking into having them printed in country, but getting the printer cartridges for these inkjets is a problem. If one had real commercial potential maybe we could afford to do runs of a thousand or more on higher-end commercial machines. There are some 130+ guides with 700+ pages available, and I would guess maybe 8-10,000 species pictured. If I have the pictures ready with the appropriate dimensions and size, and I know the flora pretty well or have a list given to me, I can certainly do a one-page guide in a couple of hours, a 40 page guide in maybe a week. And we can print and laminate a few hundred pages in a day. But there are all these other variables, especially with outside authors in getting the images ready and identified: getting the images to Chicago, scanning slides, negatives, or prints, or adjusting pre-scanned or digital camera images, databasing the images, etc. Photoshop improvements are usually less than a minute per image. Checking names can slow things down (e.g. Cubans are often using many plant names that haven't been updated since the 50's). I am getting a backlog of guides to be produced. If I dedicated my time to it, I guess I could do a hundred or more different guides in a year, which averages something like 2 per week.”