Friday, August 29, 2014

Methods of Presenting e-Publications

The Bonefolder ceased publication as an e-journal over a year-and-a-half ago, but is still seeing heavy regular access via a wide variety of websites or online databases. It's great to see the level of use steady. Since 2004, 554,133 page views, 385,738 unique page views for all issues combined.

The past issues are made available as downloadable PDFs from Syracuse University Libraries' digital collections server. Other journals hosted from there are also on that server as well as in our institutional repository (IR), SURFACE. While fully accessible as downloadable PDFs, that format is not interactive, i.e. does not facilitate discussion around topics in the issue via social media, embedding in other websites, nor does it have lots of "pretty" bells and whistles like page-turning...

The use of digital collections, multimedia, interactivity is a big topic in academic library circles and some of us realize that there is a lot more we can do to facilitate use (and reuse) materials of our collections. Here some really interesting articles on the issues and challenges:

There are a lot more of  those kinds of articles in the library/academic literature.

In order to experiment and gather feedback from users, a group of us at Syracuse University are going to be trying out different platforms to see how they work and how we might integrate them into other tools and workflows we are using.

Here our first, ISSUU, all bundled together in a "stack" that hopefully looks better than most of our desks...

And here, embedded, our last and perhaps best issue...

So, what do you think of this mode of publication? What are advantages, disadvantages, ...? How you you like being able to share directly to social media? Use the comment form below and let us know what you think.

As we try other platforms, we'll share and gather your feedback - thank you.

Then again, there's this...

Student Reading Practices in Print and Electronic Media
By  Nancy M. Foasberg
From College & Research Libraries, September 2014

“Despite the ever-increasing popularity of new ways of reading, the study participants read in a fairly traditional way. Most of them preferred to use print for long-form and academic reading, at least partly because they felt more comfortable annotating docu¬ments in a print environment. They read electronically a great deal, but this reading consisted primarily of brief, nonacademic materials.

Their dislike of electronic textbooks was especially striking… The University of Minnesota provides an Open Textbook Catalog, which identifies open textbooks and allows reviews; notably, the designers of the catalog offer inexpensive print on demand options for each work, acknowledging that many students dislike online textbooks.  In the midst of this attention to the digital, it is worth noting that students in the pres¬ent study were less comfortable using textbooks in an electronic format, and some of them said they usually print out the sections they use, thus negating any savings.”

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Playing with Pop-ups: The Art of Dimensional, Moving Paper Designs

Helen Hiebert. Playing with Pop-ups: The Art of Dimensional, Moving Paper Designs.  Beverly, MA: Quarry Books, 2014. ISBN 1592539084. 144 pages. $24.99.

Reviewed by Suzy Morgan

I love pop-up books. I collect pop-up books:  my family still gives them to me as birthday and holiday presents, even though I am a grown adult. I work in a library with a substantial collection of pop-up books, and I am quick to tell anyone who will listen that I have gotten to hold and play with an original Meggendorfer pop-up book. Therefore, I wasn’t surprised when I was asked to review Helen Hiebert’s new book, Playing With Pop-Ups. A passing observer would probably remark that I was “elated” at the prospect of doing such a review.

Teaching the art of the pop-up is difficult, just like any how-to book about bookbinding, because it challenges the author to describe 3-D concepts in a 2-D format. Many pop-up structures function with a front-end and a back-end structure, just like a website: the viewer almost always only sees the front-end result, and the back-end support is not very apparent except to the experienced reader. I’ve looked at many a damaged pop-up book and wondered, “How on EARTH did they make this?” while trying to fit two parts of a broken whole back together unsuccessfully.  Helen Hiebert’s approach to this essential problem with teaching these complicated structures is a combination of providing templates to practice on, and a wealth of concisely illustrated instructions.

The book begins with a very brief history of pop-ups, a commentary on the state of pop-up arts today, an interesting glimpse into the production of a commercially published pop-up book, and overview of the basic pop-up terminology, tools, and tricks of the trade. I particularly enjoyed the description of the production line process of a commercially published pop-up, myself. Each different kind of fold and cut used in the following project instructions was clearly illustrated with a nice photograph and a well-written description. Hiebert also provides a list of recommended tools, as well as alternatives for some tools – like using a paperclip or the back of a knife instead of a bone folder to fold or score paper. This is a nice touch that makes the craft more accessible and promotes the kind of “creative reuse” so endemic to bookbinding.

However, in my opinion, the real genius of Hiebert’s book is the templates she provides for each project. These are pages in the book that are meant to be photocopied onto the paper of your choice, and then you just follow the dotted, dashed, and solid lines with bonefolder, knife, and glue, to create the pop-up. The first three projects are termed “Pop-up Warm-ups,” and are meant to familiarize the budding paper-engineer with the basic tenants of pop-up structure. The projects that follow increase in difficulty, but provide a nicely diverse range of different types of structures and themes.  These include a pop-up city skyline, a Valentine’s card, paper earrings, a tunnel book, and a volvelle with six slots. Our conservation lab intern and I spent a happy afternoon completing one of the projects using the templates. It’s really a no-brainer way of teaching the structure, as it removes the risk of beginner mistakes such as mis-measuring; each part of the template is clearly labeled with different lines for cuts, mountain folds, or valley folds. The other wonderful thing about the templates is that many of them are blank or simple enough that you could easily customize them or slightly modify them to create an original work. In my opinion, the templates get the point across very effectively and leave very little confusion about how they should work.

The final section of the book is devoted to a beautifully photographed gallery of current-day pop-up book artists and their work. Seeing these artist’s amazing work serves as inspiration to think creatively about your own future projects, as well as a visual bibliography of pop-up books to seek out in your local library or bookstore. As a collector of pop-up books, it was reaffirming to see books from my own library represented and to feel that kindred spark of passion for the art. In other words, “We like the same pop-up books!” Hiebert’s book is a solid addition to the library of any beginner or intermediate paper engineer, and is a welcome complement to other pop-up book manuals, such as Carol Barton’s The Pocket Paper Engineer series or David Carter and James Diaz’s The Elements of Pop-Up.

Suzy Morgan is a 2009 graduate of the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin, where she received a certificate in advanced studies in conservation from the Kilgarlin Center for the Preservation of the Historic Record. She has had internships at Northwestern University, Syracuse University, the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Ringling Museum of Art. After working as the web developer at the Newberry Library and working in private practice as a book conservator and preservation consultant, she is now Preservation Specialist for the Arizona State Library.She is also the creator of The Multi-lingual Bookbinding/Conservation Dictionary Project: The goal of this project is to combine, in one place, all the known bookbinding and book conservation terminology, in as many languages as possible.