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2005-06, 346, Brian Taylor, Editorial


AS THE technology for publishing has changed and to a great extent improved thanks to the desktop computer and its appurtenances, we producers of Biblionews have gradually changed its production and presentation too. In the early stages of its existence the text was typed onto wax stencils with a manual typewriter and the copies run off, or roneoed, using a duplicating machine. Later the typing was evidently done with an electric typewriter, as the improved typeface seems to indicate. During John Fletcher’s tenure as Editor it began to be prepared on computer at the University of Sydney for him by Mrs Wilma Sharp and then printed by the University’s Printing Service, which has continued to produce the copies ever since, for many years from a printout (hard copy), nowadays, however, from a CD-ROM that we supply.

As far as I can ascertain from my pretty defective collection of issues: apart from advertisements of booksellers advertising in our journal, the earliest issue to contain an illustration was the 244th of June 1979, where on p.44 W[alter] S[tone] has slipped in a reproduction of “BOOKPLATE by P M LITCHFIELD for S S BLAKE”. After that illustrations appear spasmodically and are mostly of bookplates, until Eric Russell’s two-part article of 1993, which was quite copiously illustrated with black and white images. Up to that time illustrations were reproduced by pasting photocopies of the originals into the typescript (though in the 267th issue of September 1985 John Fletcher on p.82 uniquely tipped into every copy a photocopy of a Fred C James bookplate as the first in a series of items to be called “unfamiliar bookplates”). Later, when Jeff Bidgood took over computer preparation in 1994, he was able to use his equipment to scan the illustrations in, and this led to much better reproductions that remained an integral part of the issue stored with the text in the computer. However, the illustrations, whether the originals were coloured or not, still appeared largely as b/w reproductions, and I recall on at least one occasion expressing regret in my editorial that it had not been possible, financially at least, to publish the illustrations for one particular article in colour.

But times and technology have continued to move on, and I have obtained the Committee’s permission to publish illustrations in this issue for the first time in colour on a trial basis. The article in question is the revised and expanded version of a paper I gave to the Society’s Annual General Meeting in September 2004, and as will be obvious the two series discussed there relied particularly on colour for their effect. My thanks go to John Newland for the trouble he has taken to optimise the result.

In my last editorial I said I was unable to provide an obituary for the late Eric Russell as I did not yet have enough information on him. When nothing in the way of new information came I sat down at my computer a couple of days ago to put together something myself, but then I noticed the postman put a large envelope into my letterbox; when I went out to check it, there was a copy of the Newsletter of the Lane Cove Historical Society, of whose existence I was unaware, with a wonderful eulogy on him by its editor, Judy Washington. An accompanying letter advised me that the mediator for this kind action had been long-time BCSA member Suzanne Mourot, whom I had dropped a line to about my problem, and that I could use it for my own purposes. I therefore reproduce it here with minimal editing, along with what I myself had to say about Eric. My thanks for this assistance to both Suzanne and Judy, who has told me that, as she could find almost nothing written about Eric, she had compiled her eulogy by painstakingly working through the papers and documents which he left and which she is administering.

As in virtually every issue these days, Colin Steele is to be thanked for his book review.

Brian Taylor



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