A mish-mash of news

Caleigh Minshall

My more dedicated readers may have noticed that last week – gasp – I missed a blog. That’s because I was visiting friends in Lyon, France, and Freiburg, Germany, and I was too busy with other projects to find the time (or brain power) to come up with a new blog topic! I tried to make up for it by my double-the-average-word-length post from two weeks ago, but I know that isn’t a very good excuse, so I apologize. I’ll make up for it with a bonus blog sometime in the future.

Today’s blog will be a little scattered; there are small things going on that deserve to be mentioned, but I’m having trouble uniting them into some cohesive theme. So instead, I present you with A Big Mish-Mash!

First of all, Nigel Beale of The Biblio File recently interviewed Frank Newfeld, prominent Canadian book designer and author of Drawing on Type (a memoir, published in 2008). The interview is very in-depth so make sure you have thirty minutes to spare before sitting down to listen and enjoy.

Other happy news is that Tim is fast on his way towards solving our onix problems with GlobalBooksinPrint. The problem was that our apostrophes (in book descriptions, review quotations, etc.) were being displayed as question marks or blank spaces in GlobalBooksinPrint’s database. This is a serious problem because many, many librarians use GlobalBooksinPrint for title information, and so our books came across sloppy and unprofessional to anyone who read about them on GlobalBooks.

It turns out that Pexod, our database, escapes the xml entities we had been using for quotation marks. We had thought that the xml entities made our code better – actually, I spent many hours in August changing all of our keystroke apostrophes to xml entities … – but Pexod can’t read those xml entities properly. Fortunately, our tech guy at Quack Communications was able to replace our xml entities with keystrokes without spending too much time on it. This hopefully means that GlobalBooksinPrint will now accurately display our apostrophes. The next project is to replace all of our xml entities for the n-dash (—) with two hyphens together (–).

Another project I have on the go is to rework the home page. Right now, you’ll notice that the home page is one long chunk of text about the history of the Quill. Although it’s interesting, any repeat visitor to the site really has no need to re-read the press’s history – and the best part of the home page, the upcoming books section, is all the way at the bottom of the home page! You need to scroll a lot before you even see the new books. My idea is to create a new page called “About Us” and place the press’s history into this new page (along with the Acknowledgements section, so that the left hand menu doesn’t get too crowded). Then I hope to really highlight our new books on the home page, so that as soon as you visit our site the books are right in your face. This website structure makes more sense to me, but if you have any other suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment!

Lastly, and most selfishly, my copy of the Canadian Bookbinders & Book Artists’ Guild magazine (Book Arts arts du livre Canada) finally arrived in the mail! I was tickled pink (rosir de plaisir en France) to see my article about George Walker finally in print, especially since this is only my second time published (in something other than a university magazine). If I had known CBBAG also publishes in French, I might have tried translating! (Just kidding.)

My next ambitious blog topic will be book publishing in France. Stay tuned …

About Caleigh

Intern at the Porcupine's Quill.
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The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.