Friday, July 5, 2013

My first experience with

The other day I decided I wanted to use to publish my society’s newsletters. This year marks the 25th Volume of the newsletters. I am the new editor of the said newsletter. We do these newsletters electronically now; last year was the first full year trying the electronic version. The Society decided to go this route to save money on postage. I too like getting the newsletter electronically because I can save them into a folder for future reference.

This got me thinking about our old newsletters. In my society library, we have to large bank boxes with extra copies of the some of the newsletters. I asked the librarian who is also the society’s president, do we really need to keep all these old copies? She stated that some people want to look at the old copies. The boxes are not every issue, but we also have a file drawer full of past issues. I decided, I would scan these old issues and place them on one of the library’s computers (they can be copied to the other ones later). As I was scanning these old issues, I realized how far we have come electronically.
In the early years, the issues were done via typing, cutting, pasting and photocopying. I noticed many items were taped onto the master page and copies were made from this master. Thus, picture quality wasn’t the greatest. Also, the tape caused discoloration on some of the pages and no longer was holding anything in place. At that point, is when I decided I would scan these issues because in a few more years, it would only be worst. While scanning, I realized we were missing issues. Plus, the issues didn’t always have page numbers on them and thus, I don’t know if I scanned them in the correct order.

Over the next few months, every week on my volunteer day for the library, I would scan 1 to 2 years’ worth of issues.  I had to ask the prior editor for some of the final years newsletters, because I wasn’t receiving them electronically (they must have put my email address in wrong) and I had an almost complete set issues. In the early years it appears we are missing some issues, but since 1998, it appears we have every issue. Some of these issues would include supplement, bonus pages, and I wasn’t always consisted in placing them in the same spot. I would first put them in the middle of the newsletter. Then I would put them at the end. Finally I put them at the end of the year, as a supplemental issue. But I did manage to scan all the issues.
So with the issues on my flash drive, I decided last week to create a booklet with all the issues. I went into Lulu and it allows you to upload PDF’s. However, I ran across my first challenge of because it requires a FTP program to upload multiple files or I could just select each file individually and upload, which takes a lot of time.

I found a free FTP program and was able to select multiple files and upload them. But when I went to selected them for my project I hit a new snag, such as my PDF’s pages were not all the same size. Oops! I guess I wasn’t careful when scanning these newsletters and must have changed the size from page to page when I was cropping the pages.
So now I had to find a PDF program that could read my scans and make the pages all the same. I was able to download a free full functioning program and was able to combine all my PDFs into one big file. But when I saw it was 1011 pages long, (yikes) I decided I needed to divide these into smaller books. Lulu doesn’t really handle a book that big, (keep in mind that double pages would reduce this to 506 pages but still a big book. So once again, I selected some of my PDF’s and created a combined file but with less pages. I then had to figure out how to get the pages in the PDFs all the same size and was able to do that quickly.

I now found out that a file bigger than 300MB must be uploaded via a FTP program, and so back to the FTP program I went. I uploaded my four smaller files and started on my project again. Next snag was that my fonts were not embedded fonts. What? I was starting to get very frustrated at this point. So I went back to my PDF’s and read how to embed my fonts. I did this and also decided, I might want my own page numbers in these PDF’s and added those too!
Back to the FTP program and uploaded the files again! Started my project yet again and success! It read my PDF’s great. But wait, perhaps I need a table of contents. YIKES! So I went into WORD and created four separate; Table of Contents, going through each PDF and making sure I was referencing the correct page number. While doing this I found one of my pages was upside down and I had some duplicate pages. GEEZE!

Well, I read up on some more help and rotated the page and deleted the other pages. But wait! My page numbers are off now. I couldn’t change the footers on my finished PDF, NO WAY!. Anyway, I had to go back a few steps, and rotate the page again, delete the other pages again! I fixed the page sizes, embedded the fonts, added page numbers, uploaded the files both PDFs and WORD files, deleted my previous projects, started new projects and Finally I was done! I created these first four as black and white versions to keep the cost down, I did create four color versions and one complete version as a PDF download.
This took me about two-three days to get through all these steps. It was a little painful but a great learning opportunity. I always get a kick when people tell me they are amazed on how much I know and what I can get done. I try to tell them it wasn’t easy, that I had made a lot of mistakes along the way. That the project was a trial and error project, with lots of errors that tried my patients.  I don’t have these available for sale yet, because I need to get information from my society on their non-profit tax id number and then when sales are made, every three months, profits will be mailed via check to the society.

After I was done with the newsletter project, I decided to do one more project for myself. Back in 1992 and 1993, my aunt and I created a family history book “The Hafenstein Family” and after I printed a master copy of the book and before I printed the index, my computer died and I lost the book. I manually created the index by going page by page through the book. After we took the master to the printer and had copies made, I placed all the pages into sheet protectors. Then in 2008, I took those pages out and ran about 50 pages through the new copier/printer/scanner we had at work and scanned all those pages and sent them to myself. Well, I took those scanned pages, combined them back into one document, embedded the fonts and uploaded it to Lulu. I created a book. This was so much easier once I knew what I was looking for. This book is for sale on Lulu and I purchased the first copy so that I can donate it to my Society’s Library. I am very interested in seeing how it comes out.

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