January 2004, V3#1: Design Monday, Jan 26 2009 

Book Manufacturing Concepts

Most printer/publishers have the capabilities to print by many methods, we offer quality offset printing from camera ready copy, as it is the most cost-effective approach to a permanent ink printed book. Due to set-up costs, we must limit our smallest run to 100 books. With our 33 years experience, it is just recently that we have found what we feel is a viable alternative.  Always make sure companies you approach to publish define their method of reproduction if you are interested in your work standing the test of time.  It is amazing to us how many copy machines and their out-put are being sold as “printed”.

December 2003, V2#12: Define Thursday, Jan 22 2009 

Impression Area: Printable area of a page minus margin area.
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 For other printing, publishing, marketing lingo, check our glossary at http://www.gregathcompany.com/gloss.html

August 2003, V2#8: Production Sunday, Jan 11 2009 

Offset printing versus digital printing

When delving into the world of digital reproduction/printing, (family) historians should be sure exactly what they are paying for.  A large percentage of “digital print” that is being published is simply being produced on a digital based copy machine.  While today’s digital machines (of any type) are much better than the copy machines even 15 years ago, this format hasn’t been tested by time.  Much like any E-book format you can get today – it cannot be considered archival quality because of this.  There are some true digital printing presses – accepted and tested printing processes that receive their printable image directly from a computer rather than plate, film, or other media.  These are as archival as their printing process that has been tested over time.

December 2005, V4#12: Genealogy Tuesday, Jan 6 2009 

Retrieving Data on Thermal Paper
By Alice Syman in Saint Augustine, Florida, USA

I have some old files containing faxes on that old fax [thermal] paper that eventually fades. I heard that there was some type of light that would restore them, but couldn’t find out the name and probably couldn’t have afforded it anyway. I wondered, what is it that restores them — light or heat or a combination of both and possibly with something else.

I turned on a burner on my gas stove and began running the paper, print side down, back and forth over the flame. When I saw a strip of paper turning dark I looked and eureka! I could read almost every word of the print, typed and handwritten. A miracle. I was able to send an adopted person information about his adoption that he had lost long ago.

This has to be done slowly and carefully and the flame shouldn’t be too high because one can get a nasty burn. I placed the restored copies in clear sheets. How long they will be legible, I don’t know. But they’ll last at least until one can transcribe the information from them.

I sent this bit of info to many other researchers. To date none have said they knew about it already. I would be interested to know from your readers if I was just way behind the times on this valuable (to me) secret.

Previously published in RootsWeb Review: 12 October 2005, Vol. 8, No. 41

February 2005, V4#2: Computer Thursday, Dec 25 2008 

Color photos in black and white

Wonder what a color photograph would look like as a black and white print?  No need to wonder!  Digitize your photograph with the method of your choice (scan or take a digital photo of it).  Open the graphics program of your choice (MS Paintbrush, Photoshop, PrintArtist, etc.) and look around in the different menus.  Open your color photograph file.  Most, if not all, graphics programs will have an area that shows your color photograph as color (or RGB, CYMK, etc.).  In or near this notation there will be a way to change it to grayscale.  For computer beginners a quick way to define Grayscale (computer speak) for “black and white photograph”, while black and white options will drop out all gray tones and convert color to either black or white.  Choose grayscale and read and answer any computer dialog boxes that come up carefully (such as “do you want to discard color data”).  Remember as long as you don’t save your changes over the original file, you can try almost anything without loosing your original file.  Once the photo is “black and white” (grayscale) you’ll know if it will look good, bad, or OK in b/w print.  You can save this file over the original color or “save as” a different name, etc.

September 2004, V3#9: Computer Thursday, Dec 25 2008 

Print Screen

Lots of computer conversations contain something like “You know when it does/looks like this/that?” Many times the answer is a no because there wasn’t enough (or sometimes too much) description involved.  Use the print screen to show people what you mean – it is a several step process:

  • Locate/Produce on the screen the elements/situation you wish to print out, then tap (on the keyboard) your print screen button.  It is usually somewhere to the right of your normal typing keys and may be abbreviated such as “Prt Scrn”.

  • Next, you need to open a blank file in a program that is graphics capable (not notepad or WordPad) such as Word, FrontPage, etc.  Print screen can also be added to a file that contains other things.

  • Make sure you have a blinking cursor in the file area and left click the paste button (usually looks like a clip board).

  • Save and/or print the file to use in conversation.

January 2003, V2#1: Computer Thursday, Dec 25 2008 

How to print just that certain section only.
Software: Microsoft Internet Explorer/Outlook Express

Ever want to print out a small (or even large) section of a page or e-mail that was somewhere in the middle without printing our the entire page/message?  Here’s what to do:

Highlight what you want to print (while holding your left mouse button down, slide your mouse over the text and then let up the button) and then on your keyboard hold down the control (ctrl) button while hitting the “p” key.  This will bring up a box to do with printing.  Toward the middle of the box on the left side is a “print range” area.  Click the circle next to “selection” and then the OK button at the bottom.  Yes, it’s that simple. NOTE: if the page contains columns (with or without a table) this may get unexpected results – pay attention to what the mouse will let you highlight.

September 2002, V1#1: Book Production Wednesday, Dec 24 2008 

While the world in general accepts that there are several main ways to reproduce books (i.e. print or copy), very few methods to produce printed books are alike.  Each print shop can employ not only a variety of presses and methods, but there are so many steps that are possible that the term “printed” doesn’t really describe much once you start thinking about it. Due to the fact that a copied book production is so automated, once you determine the type of copier and quality of binding, you have a much better idea of what your book will look like.  In future issues, we will discuss our production methods.  We hope by doing this, you may have some idea of what actually goes into the production of a book.  Once you have grasped some of what is involved, you can go to any printer/publisher that wants to work with clients on a personal basis and ask for a tour or explanation of their processes in reference to your book project.

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