Cites & Insights: Little steps and opinion request

While I’m sticking with my plan to do no actual writing for Cites & Insights until after ALA, I did do a little thinking and work–and could use feedback on the work.

At one point, I was considering making C&I “web first”–writing articles with live links and designing the HTML version first, then flowing the articles into the PDF version (with possible changes) later, possibly making the two different.

Given the overwhelming enthusiasm for that change–other than the “it’s just a blog, who cares?” comments, which I’m choosing to ignore–I’ve moved to a different potential strategy:

  • Do add hyperlinks to sources named, in Word itself, which would mean the PDFs will have blue underlined text areas–but also that the HTML versions will have live links. (Unless I’m mistaken, the links in the PDF should also be live.) (Note: If I add hyperlinks to the source titles, I will omit the plain-text URLs that now appear from time to time, which should simplify layout to some extent. Does that reduce findability for the source material?)
  • Don’t go “web first” or have the text differ between the two. As long as C&I continues, the PDF will be the authoritative version, and it would simply be confusing to have different text in different sources.
  • Do clean up the “web” template to be more consistent–and make sure it’s used properly when converting an issue to web chunks.


I’ve done some work on that final bullet.

This special version of “Perspective: Reading about Writing” uses the revised web.dotx template. You can compare it to the Perspective as it appeared in the April 2011 issue.

Is it better? Worse? About the same? Does the regular body type need to be larger yet?

I think the new version looks much better in print-preview mode. I’m not sure what I think about the on-screen look, although it is more consistent, at least.

Comments welcome. I might or might not tweak the template again before the next issue (whenever that may be). I won’t respond to comments left between Thursday evening and next Monday evening, not until I return from ALA Annual.


8 Responses to “Cites & Insights: Little steps and opinion request”

  1. laura says:

    The revised web template looks great!

    I’d be in favor of anything that included hyperlinks, because I’m a lazy reader: I never go back to the source material mentioned in C&I, because it’s just too much of a pain to go find the blog and then go navigate to the correct post. I tend to read web content on the web, and it’s always seemed a little odd to me that a journal that (at least in the time I’ve been reading it) is almost all about web sources doesn’t include links.

    So. I have no real opinion on exactly how you should do this, but live links of some sort would definitely save the time of this reader.

  2. walt says:

    Thanks, Laura. It probably has been a little odd, and has to do with how C&I grew. It’s probably long past time to fix that! (More comments welcome. At this point, barring negative reactions, the next C&I will use the new template and will have hyperlinks.)

  3. GeekChic says:

    This is me agreeing with Laura. Looks very nice and I’m eagerly anticipating live links. Thanks for your efforts.

  4. Another vote for live links. If you’re worried about “difference”, just stick a version number somewhere. It’s no big deal to me if a web article says “version 1.01” and a PDF article says “version 1.04” or some such. Physical books often have changes between hardback and paperback, or different printing. So there’s plenty of precedent if you think of it that way.

  5. walt says:

    Seth: The path I’m planning now doesn’t involve textual differences, because the HTML versions will still be generated after the PDF is complete (and the same day it’s uploaded). But yes, you’re right, there’s precedent for different editions/forms having textual differences…

  6. will manley says:

    Walt, I agree with the consensus: this looks great! Well written and nicely presented.

  7. OK…so I finally took out an older Cites and Insights and compared it with the one I printed today. Here is what the change is, I think: the typeface is smaller. By something like 0.5 points. That is a guess.

    For some reason, our paper source has changed (again), and the stock this one printed on (compared to the April 2011 edition) is both heavier and less white. For as subtle a change as that, it is really hard to tell.

  8. walt says:

    Michael: Interesting guess, but that’s not it. The type in C&I has been 11 points for some years now. I changed the actual typeface, from Berkeley to Constantia, but that was also quite a while back.

    The new tweak is…well, I wonder whether anybody will figure it out. I think a professional typographer would spot it immediately, but I could be wrong.