Wednesday, August 01, 2007

History Project Update

I have been inactive on this blog for a few months now, but it is certainly not because I have been idle on the history of Acacia project. Since finishing writing the book, I have spent much time revising and editing the manuscript for publication. The first step for me was to revise the draft a second and third time. After doing this and incorporating helpful suggestions from alumni reviewers, I then contacted a friend of mine outside the fraternity who is a retired lawyer and a very good copy editor. He graciously volunteered to read the book (twice), and with his help, I was able to come to a final copy of the text.

On the photographs and illustrations, I decided to include as many as possible. With over 250 photographs and illustrations, the book is almost as much visual as it is written. Having already scanned many of the images, I went about the task of doing additional clean up and preparation for printing. In some cases, photographs needed to be replaced with higher resolution versions.

Once I had decided on which images to use and what text to use, I then proceeded to the layout. Using Adobe InDesign CS 2.0, I was able to complete the entire layout myself. I designed a template I was comfortable with and placed all the images and text into the file. I added captions, appendices, and other introductory materials. The final step for the interior pages was to write an index. After first preparing a topical index, I then used InDesign to track all the occurences of various words and phrases. This was the last step on the text.

For the covers, I used Adobe Photoshop CS 2.0 to design a cover design for the casebound and softcover version. Using the specifications provided by the printer based on the number of pages, I determined the margins and other specs to make the covers work. Then I obtained quotes for the back, wrote up a short summary of the book, and obtained an ISBN number. With the covers out of the way, I was almost ready to print.

Printer Thomson-Shore, Inc., sent me a proof, and several corrections were necessary to both photos and text. After making these changes, I submitted a revised version. This version was then reset and sent to me as an electronic proof. I approved this electronic proof last week. Printing commenced today, and the scheduled ship date is August 7. The total number of books ordered is casebound 300 and softcover 350. I plan to sell the books to interested parties, including members of the historical community in Ithaca and Tompkins County, Cornell alumni, and other followers of my writing (read: friends and family). The price for the softcover is going to be very reasonable at $14.95. The hardcover version will be used primarily for brothers and archival purposes, though I would sell a hardcover copy to interested parties for $29.95. Plans are underway to make the softcover book available at the Cornell Store, the History Center of Tompkins County, and Borders of Ithaca. There will also be a dedicated webpage where a person can print an order form or order the book over the web.

In the future, I plan to post all historical materials I have researched on the Cornell University's Library DSpace for future preservation. I have already donated all of the chapter's historical materials to the Rare and Manuscript Collections at the Cornell University Library so that the chapter's history will be preserved for another one hundred years and beyond.

With the history project nearing an end, I would like to thank everyone who helped me in these final stages. I would also like to express my mixed feeling of relief and joy at finishing. It has been a long journey covering one hundred years of Acacia's history, but I am glad to have done it. I hope you will join me on Friday evening at Duffield Hall during the Centennial weekend for the book's official debut. I will sign copies for anyone who would like that. I will make a historical presentation using the photographs I have scanned and employing the research I have made. This presentation will be taped and made available online for those who are interested but cannot attend.

I will continue to update this blog with items relating to the Centennial weekend, so keep checking back during the month of August. But, as to the history project, I consider this my last entry. I thank you all for joining me along the way.

Best regards,

Hoover #1063