Bob Van Arsdell submitted these thoughts on the treatment of coin images in numismatic books. Thanks!
Back in the summer, there was a flurry of posts about the best way to place coin images in books.
People fell into three camps: 1) images should be integrated into the catalog, 2) images should be collected in plates at the back, or 3) images should appear in both places (double-plating).
At the time, I had a fourth option up my sleeve, but no way to demonstrate how it worked. This problem is now solved and I can show people the fourth way.
I decided to do the second edition of "Celtic Coinage of Britain" as an interactive web site. The web site uses "meta content" to get around the problem of image positioning. Meta content roughly means "content about content" or, as we traditional types like to put it, "background information".
The e-version will have about 60 plates, similar to those at the back of the original book. However, there will be no running catalog at all. If you want to see a catalog listing, you put the cursor on the coin image and the catalog description shows up in a box with a 3x image of the coin. When you move the cursor away, the box disappears. On a tablet or smart phone, the site works almost the same - but touch screens do not support the disappearing box feature, so you have to close the box manually.
The site compresses 500 pages of the original book into just 60 plates, with no shuffling back and forth. It also solves another problem raised by readers last summer - that of cost. E-version access to the entire content will be given absolutely free to the general public.
In any event, a TEST SITE is up and running on the Internet, and I invite everyone to look at it:
It will be many months before the site shows up on a Google, Yahoo! or Bing search, so people will have to enter the full URL into the "go to" window on their device, not the Google, Yahoo! or Bing search window.
It will be several months before the full content of the site is coded, and it is not too late to make some changes to the way the site works. If readers would like to make suggestions, they can reach me at
Readers are invited to check out the site and poke around. I like the concept of dense plates of images as well as the ability to link to meta content about each pictured coin. What I didn't link about this version was that once I moved my mouse outside of the popup window, it disappeared. I was thus unable to grab an image of sample popup to show readers, and would not have been able to print the entry, either. If the popups would remain as separate windows on the screen, I could keep multiple versions up to compare side-by-side. Of course, this mode of operation would be practical only on a desktop or laptop with a larger screen area. The described format would be more appropriate for the intended mobile devices.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
READER THOUGHTS ON PLATES IN NUMISMATIC LITERATURE
Wayne Homren, Editor
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