Visit Us | Contact Us | Membership | Make a Gift | Calendar | Order Online | What's New


1992-93 Annual Report

Thomas A. Holland

By surpassing one hundred thousand dollars in sales for the second consecutive year, the Publications Sales Office was kept busy answering the demand for publications of the Oriental Institute. These sales figures indicate both the persistence of widespread interest in scholarship at the Oriental Institute and the marketing efforts of the Sales Office. As sales soared, the Editorial Office was equally busy. The procedure for a new method of book production was tested (this publication is one of its results) and additional work-the in-house production of News & Notes, the Annual Report, and the Hittite Dictionary-was accepted.

Sales Office

James Wherry Willis completed his first full year of work in the Sales Office as Manager of Marketing and Sales, during which he dealt both with the mundane but important work of fulfilling book orders and the more interesting pursuit of marketing. Sales were consistent during the first three quarters of 1992-93 but surged during the fourth quarter. The publication of new titles by Robert Ritner and Carol Meyer and a successful book exhibit at the American Research Center in Egypt meeting in Baltimore, which brought in over $5,000 of mail order sales, account for much of the fourth quarter increase in sales.

Jim continued the practice of hiring independent agencies to exhibit our books at the meetings of various societies. This year he made arrangements with Eisenbrauns to exhibit our titles at the Archaeology Institute of America meeting in New Orleans and with Scholars Choice to exhibit our books at the American Research Center in Egypt meeting in Baltimore. Jim and I operated our own booth at the American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature meeting in San Francisco. Jim also arranged for the University of Chicago Bookstore to begin carrying titles from the Oriental Institute and thus expanded our retailing capacity. The bookstore has agreed to devote a floor display to our books early in the fall quarter, one of the strongest retailing seasons, and we anticipate that this display will generate excellent sales and publicity for Oriental Institute publications.

Jim has also been kept busy designing a variety of fully illustrated documents. Every quarter he produces a four page Quarterly Report that tracks sales, shows inventory, and tries to identify market trends. For conferences at which our titles are to be exhibited, he produces multi-page advertisements that highlight the books in our inventory that would appeal to the conference attendees. He is also designing and producing an updated version of the publications catalog. The new catalog will be inexpensively produced and periodically revised. The present catalog, Publications of the Oriental Institute 1906-1991: Exploring the History and Civilization of the Near East (OIC 26), documents and celebrates the history of the Oriental Institute's publishing program in addition to providing information on all publications of the Oriental Institute-both in-print and out-of-print; the new catalog will provide our customers with current information on publications that are still in-print. In all of these documents Jim is able to keep the costs down by scanning the illustrations and adding them directly to the document. He scans the illustrations at USITE Microcomputer Laboratory and copies the scans directly into his computer over the AppleShare network.

Jim is also working with John Sanders, Head of the Computer Laboratory, to implement a database system for the sales office. John has completed its design and needs only to convert the computer code from DOS to Macintosh code.

Table of Sales


Since I took over the operation of the Publications Office in 1984, the manner in which books are produced has changed considerably, and it is still changing. The first books that I saw through press were done in a way that is totally foreign to the way they are done now. Computers were not used during any step of the process. Typewritten manuscripts were sent to typesetters, galleys were created, then page proofs, and during this back and forth process of checking and rechecking tremendous amounts of time and money were spent. After producing several volumes this way, I was encouraged to begin using the Oriental Institute's original Macintosh computer to cut down at least some of the drudgery of using a typewriter for all of our communications. As the use of computers became more widespread in the second half of the 1980s and desktop laser printers became available, we acquired a Macintosh SE/20, a LaserWriter IIntx (300 dpi), and the latest version of Microsoft Word and began the in-house production of manuscripts. The first volume to be produced in-house with this hardware and software was The Holmes Expeditions to Luristan (OIP 108) in 1989. Every manuscript received in the Publications Office since has been produced in-house with the exception of Gelb's Land Tenure Systems in the Near East: Ancient Kudurrus, which was entered into our computers and then sent in electronic format to a typesetter.

The changeover from typesetting to desktop publishing came at a price: the quality of print produced on our LaserWriter IIntx printer at 300 dpi was not as good as the 2400+ dpi produced by the Linotronic-type printers that are used by typesetters. To offset the loss in printing resolution, we acquired a better laser printer, the LaserMaster 1200 Personal Typesetter, which prints at 1200 dpi as opposed to the 300 dpi of our LaserWriter IIntx. This printer improved the quality of our publications and gave us the added capability of printing on 11" x 17" paper, but it still produces camera-ready copy in the same way as our LaserWriter IIntx, by affixing toner to paper with a laser beam. The higher resolution printing of the new laser printer was more than acceptable, but printing companies commented that the print on our camera-ready pages looked "fuzzy" or that it showed "laser blur." We noticed that lines 0.5 point thick printed on our higher resolution laser printer did not hold when sent to a printing company and that the narrow points of characters, for example, the top and bottom of the letter "o" in the Times-based font, became more jagged and faded as the letter was reduced in size. The difference between the two types of printers is noteworthy: desktop laser writers use a laser beam to affix toner to paper in order to produce images. A modern Linotronic-type printer, called an "imagesetter," uses a laser beam to expose an image directly on film; it arranges pages in sixteen page tiles and "imposets" (outputs) the entire tile, which is later joined with another tile to produce the negative for a thirty-two page signature. A LaserWriter produces camera-ready copy, but an imagesetter imposets plate-ready film. The difference between the two processes is enormous.

Camera-ready copy must first be arranged by the printing company as a sixteen or thirty-two page signature, photographed, and then the negatives must be "cleaned-up" in order to produce plate ready film. When camera-ready pages are photographed, all kinds of problems can creep onto a page; for example, portions of a page can be blocked out, the camera can capture errant lines and shadows, or dust can cause spots to appear; in the latter case, the printing company must examine the negative for these spots and opaque them. In the process of opaquing spots, especially in the case of our publications that have many diacritics above and below letters (e.g., ≈, h≥, ß, t¬, π, ufi), crucial information can be lost.

Plate-ready film imposet by an imagesetter is not produced by a camera and thus does not have to be cleaned-up. Imposet film is therefore not only cleaner but is also produced at a much higher resolution (2400+ dpi). Once plate-ready film is produced, book production proceeds alike in both cases: The negatives for thirty-two page signatures are placed upon specially treated metal plates, light is shown through the negatives to react with the metal, and the negatives are removed; the metal plates are then placed in a special chemical bath, the chemicals react differently with the metal not exposed to light, and the metal plates emerge from the chemical bath as the printing plates that are used to print a book.

The most recent development in book production merges elements from the "old" typesetting method with elements of the "new" desktop publishing method. Manuscripts received by our office are prepared on our computers and illustrations are sized for placement therein, but we no longer have to produce camera-ready copy in-house. Rather, we "print our computer files as Postscript files to disk," which is the technical terminology for simply saying that we save our files so they can be printed on a Linotronic-type printer, and then send the disks to a printing company to be printed. The typesetting, composition, and layout of our publications are still done in-house, but we no longer have to produce camera-ready text in-house at a lower resolution. We can now have our texts printed from floppy disks at the same resolution (2400+ dpi) as a document typeset by an outside vendor.

The working out of this new method of publishing was crucial to our being able to take on the publishing of the Hittite Dictionary. With all of the diacritics required for a dictionary of this ancient language, and the quality of print being so vital to its usefulness, we had to produce better quality printing than we had been. In preparation of this new project, we sent a sample file of ten pages to a printing company to see if our fonts would work on a modern imagesetter. The results were astounding. The print was uniform on the page and the smallest diacritic was printed without any loss of clarity. The production of this Annual Report is a further test to provide experience in publishing an entire book with this new methodology. In this test, unlike the dictionary, seventy-eight illustrations had to be included. The seventy-eight illustrations were photocopied at the appropriate enlargement or reduction for placement in the text, and space was left in the text to receive the illustrations. A mock-up was made on our LaserWriter IIntx laser printer, in which all the photocopies of the illustrations were inserted, and we sent several floppy disks and the original illustrations to a printing company. The printing company imposet our computer files on their imagesetter to produce the plate-ready negatives, stripped in negatives of the illustrations at the correct positions, and printed this report.

This "in-house composition" and "outside printing" is the direction that desktop publishing is taking for the future and large printing companies are coordinating efforts to serve this growing share of the publishing market. We have learned that the next development in this type of book production is to have imagesetters directly output the printing plates and bypass the making of negatives.

This year we acquired a beta version of our Times-based special font, CuneiformOriental, in the Helvetica typeface. The addition of the Helvetica typeface with the many required diacritics will allow for more variation in the look of books, and it may also be used for publication of the Demotic Dictionary. Consultation on the development of a new font was also begun with the staff of the Assyrian Dictionary, who also took interest in the new method of printing being implemented for production of the Hittite Dictionary.

The Editorial Office continued to be staffed by Thomas Urban, Rick Schoen, and myself. The two titles listed as "in preparation" in last year's Annual Report were printed-SAOC 51 and OINE VI. In addition to these publications, five other volumes were printed, were sent to press, or were in preparation, as follows:

1. Life in a Multi-Cultural Society: Egypt from Cambyses to Constantine and Beyond. Janet H. Johnson, ed. SAOC 51. Printed.

2. Excavations Between Abu Simbel and the Sudan Frontier, Part 6: New Kingdom Remains from Cemeteries R, V, S, and W at Qustul and Cemetery K at Adindan. Bruce B. Williams. OINE 6. Printed.

3. Glass from Quseir al-Qadim and the Indian Ocean Trade. Carol Meyer. SAOC 53. Printed.

4. The Mechanics of Ancient Egyptian Magical Practice. Robert K. Ritner. SAOC 54. Printed.

5. Nippur III: Kassite Buildings in Area WC-1. Richard L. Zettler. OIP 111. In press.

6. Excavations at Serra East, Parts 1-5: A-Group, C-Group, Pan Grave, New Kingdom, and X-Group Remains from Cemeteries A-G and Rock Shelters. Bruce B. Williams. OINE X. In press.

7. For His Ka: Klaus Baer Memorial Volume. David Silverman, ed. SAOC 55. In preparation.

The following titles were accepted for publication during the period covered by this Annual Report:

1. Nippur III: Kassite Buildings in Area WC-1. Richard L. Zettler. OIP 111.

2. For His Ka: Klaus Baer Memorial Volume. David Silverman, ed. SAOC 55.

Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1992-93 Annual Report