Publications Committee Report
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IPS Standing Committee:

Publications Committee Reports

July 1, 2007

The IPS Publications Committee is responsible for most publications issued by the Society, whether in print or electronic form. As each new publication is produced, it is distributed to all current IPS members without charge as a benefit of membership. Publications fall into several areas

The Planetarian

The Planetarian journal is the flagship publication of IPS.

Sharon Shanks became Executive Editor effective with the September 2006 issue and has now completed her first year as Editor. She has done an excellent job and the transition to the Shanks era from the Mosley era has been effectively seamless from the reader's point of view.

The roster of Associate Editors and Advertising Coordinator has remained stable. Steve Tidey is stepping down as editor of the Forum column after 50 issues and moving to the Education column. We thank Steve for his excellent work with Forum in formulating insightful questions, eliciting insightful responses, and maintaining a commendably neutral stance in overseeing the column. A search for a new Forum editor is in progress.

The roster of advertisers has also remained stable, and we thank our vendor colleagues for their continuing support of the journal.

The production, printing, and mailing teams have been stable as well. After Sharon completes the layout of the journal, three major steps follow. First, the layout is sent to Terry Getchius of Publishers Engraving who prepares the printing plates; Terry remains on board from the Mosley era. Second, the journal is printed. Longtime printer Albert Smith of Victory Printing has retired, and printing is now done by Bill Flinn of Flinn's Printing. Third, the journal is mailed by LA Mailing of Los Angeles, continuing as before.

New production software was acquired in March: the Adobe Creative Suite 2 Premium, an integrated design cluster built around InDesign CS2. The transition to the new Executive Editor and then the new production software so been so smooth as to perhaps mask the enormous task the Editor faced of learning the production software—twice—and keeping the journal on time. We are grateful to Sharon for her careful and dedicated work on this front.

Some articles are now being refereed and, as before, occasionally an article is rejected, the latter done in consultation with the Publications Chair. The initiation of refereeing for some articles serves to assure and elevate the high standards the journal strives for. It will also allow authors from academic institutions to list their contributions among refereed publications in their vita, a distinction that is important in the academic context.

The March issue contained a special IPS section including the Council Minutes, articles on the 2010 conference bids, and articles on the IPS Publications Archives and the Scriptwriting contest. Working with the Editor on the 2010 articles and seeing the editing she brought to my own Archives article provided insight to the high standards she is bringing to our journal. At 96 pages, this issue was also the longest Planetarian ever published.

The use of heavier cover stock was tested with the June issue. This adds additional considerations to the layout and page count criteria, and the Editor is to be commended for the extra effort needed to accommodate this change that enhances the journal's durability.

The Executive Editor and I have discussed the issue of print vs. electronic distribution of the Planetarian and both strongly feel the journal should remain a print publication, even while all other IPS publications have properly gone electronic.

We thank the Executive Editor, the Associate Editors and Advertising Coordinator, and the authors and contributors for their excellent and ongoing work that makes our journal a publication that we can be proud of and that reflects the vitality of our profession.

As always, I encourage members to use our journal as a means of sharing their creative work with the planetarium community, and especially renew the exhortation that each affiliate representative seek to solicit one article a year for the journal from a member in his/her affiliate society.

Conference Proceedings

The Proceedings of the IPS 2006 conference in Melbourne are in preparation and will be distributed in due course.

The IPS Directory

Preparation of the 2007 edition of the IPS Directory is in progress with a target toward distribution late in the year. This continues the schedule of publishing the Directory on a biennial basis. The Directory contains two distinct sections—the IPS Directory of the World's Planetariums ("white pages") and the IPS Resource Directory ("yellow pages"). I am Editor of both sections.

The IPS Directory of the World's Planetariums ("white pages") lists information about the nearly 3000 planetariums worldwide known to IPS. Data include contact information, technical specifications, and staff.

The IPS Resource Directory ("yellow pages") lists information for about 800 companies and organizations that offer products or services of interest to planetarians. Data include contact information, brief product descriptions, and staff. Listings are designed to serve the needs of both large and small planetariums.

The Directory is also available in the members’ area of the IPS web site. I update the planetarium directory and the company list of vendors regularly and the various indexes less frequently.

Special Publications

Two special publications remain in various stages of preparation:

IPS Songbook (Jon Bell, editor): texts for dozens of astronomical songs and recordings of many of them. The CD master is ready. Copies will be pressed and distributed with a future issue of the Planetarian.

Moonfinder (Jay Ryan, artist/author): original artwork has been scanned into digital format. Presentation format is currently being arranged and some technical problems are being addressed. To be released in CD format.

Archival Efforts

The IPS Publications Archive described in previous reports is now available as a set of eight CDs. The price (postpaid) is $75 for members and $175 for non-members. An article in the March issue of the Planetarian described the Archive and ordering procedures, and a brief description and order form are also posted on the IPS website.

This electronic Archive contains PDF files of all past IPS publications, including Conference Proceedings, Directories, Special Publications, and the Planetarian. The detailed contents were included in my 2006 report.

Duplication of the Archive is in progress to fulfill orders and we expect to distribute it by the time of the Council meeting or shortly thereafter.

Other Documents and Efforts

• We maintain three repositories of back publications. These repositories are in the US (with Treasurer/Membership Chair Shawn Laatsch), in Europe (at Europlanetarium in Genk, with Chris Janssen), and in Japan (at Suginami Science Center in Tokyo, with Shoichi Itoh).

• We coordinate the inserts that now come with most issues of the Planetarian.


It is perhaps worth noting the transformations that have taken place in Publications in the last five years:

• The Planetarian has gone from black and white to a glorious full color publication and seen a smooth transition of Executive Editor.

• The Directory has gone from print to electronic, and the planetarium and vendor directories are now published concurrently.

• Conference Proceedings, produced in print through 1998, are now electronic and sent to all members.

• Three substantial Special Publications were produced, including one in Spanish, and distribution changed from print to electronic.

• All past publications were located, catalogued, and scanned into the electronic Archive.

We thank all who have contributed to this work.

Respectfully submitted,

Dale W. Smith, IPS Publications Chair

Department of Physics & Astronomy
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, OH 43403 USA
phone 1-419-372-8666
fax 1-419-372-9938

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