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The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 8, February 20, 2000, Article 6


In response to the call for comments on Walter Breen's Encyclopedia, Researcher and author D. Wayne Johnson writes:

"Most of my comments are about the illustrations:

(1) Placing illustrations beneath the descriptions was a terrible mistake. Visually the stronger element should be above with the descriptions below; as "art and caption."

(2) The illustrations are not lined up, they bounce all over the column; I would have preferred obverse and reverse brought together in the exact center of the column almost, but not quite touching.

(3) Breen gathered his photographs from many sources. While he had to use what he got, the density of the photos are more annoying than their haphazard placement in the column width. Perhaps it was not possible to make the photos more uniform density at the time of publication. Now it is possible to do this via computer.

(4) The enlargements of the Patterns of 1792 (pages 156-157) was a great idea but could have been more artistically treated. The if-it-won't-fit-in-a-column- put-the-reverse-below-and-to-the-right-of-the-obverse school of layout makes a very unattractive unbalanced page.

(5) "The Bibliography, Abbreviations, Typographic Conventions" in the appendix was a real catchall. I would have preferred separate charts. The use of the equal sign in this section is somewhat disconcerting.

Good Points:


I greatly admire Walter's numbering system: serial numbers from 1 up [7,343 items in numbers up to 8035, with just enough open numbers for future issues]. It was sheer genius to organize everything in one system that is simple but very effective. Future additions are possible without disturbing the existing numbers.

(7) I liked the Metrology section and the Inscription Index, both in the front, and the Glossary and the two separate indexes in the back. But the worst problem of all:

(8) My pages have separated from the binding. The sections I have used most -- almost every page in the back -- are loose and sticking out from the pages still fastened to the spine. I have an autographed and inscribed copy that I highly cherish (which now I realize I should have set aside and used a second copy for everyday use)."

A couple other subscribers had comments which we'll save for next week.

Wayne Homren, Editor

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