Here are the file I used for make my first run booklet, and its outcome. The effect is rougher than what I would useÂ publicly, but I’m hoping to spawn interest. If you’re landing here first, see this blog post about worship booklets for background.
So, I wrote about how I might prefer to see a church booklet — with liturgy, hymns, a directory and notices — a little while ago. Now, how can it be made.
I first considered using XeTeX — a variation on TeX typesetting language — that allows easier use of typefaces and produces beautiful work. And I might still get to it, but it’s documentation is rather thin and my basic understanding even thinner. It would still be worth exploring because, once set up, it would be relatively easy to produce beautiful booklets. And if you’ve read a self-published work lately, you know how shabby typesetting makes even the best wrought work seemed second-rate. But that’s for later. For now, getting something almost perfect with a small number of tools: the OpenOffice.org office suite (but its fork LibreOffice, where the development thrust has gone, would surely work), Adobe Reader 9 or 10 (yes, I hate using or recommending proprietary software, but this works), and an attractive typeface with proper small caps. I use Linux Libertine, which is both freely-licensed and free of charge.
On my Ubuntu Linux machines, I don’t download the fonts from the repositories, but install the files downloaded from the link above using Font Manager. Also, I install the cups-pdf package and created a virtual PDF printer in System > Administration > Printing.
Now, I made a template with pages half the size of letter paper, 8.5 x 5.5 inches, and saved it. Opened a new document with that template. Added some text — here Fredrick Henry Hedge’s communion service based on the Liturgy of St. James — and made a PDF. Then I opened the PDF in Adobe Reader and printed it to PDF as a booklet. (Then print to paper, collate, fold and staple.)
I’ll put the files up later, to demonstrate.
For the next 36 hours upwards of several people will remove the CSS — cascading style sheets — from their sites to show the underlying text for CSS Naked Day (or Naked CSS Day; I’m agnostic on the subject. And there doesn’t seem to be a reliable central site for the “cause”.)
This is to show good markup should be distinct from good design — an idea universally accepted among professional web designers but lost on many sites, particularly church sites, leading to clumsy design and time-sucking changes.
CSS acts like a suit of clothes, transforming the look and reading experience of a site, without changing the text or underlying structure.
I love the membership cards. What’s the point of being a card-carrying Esperantist, if you don’t get a membership card?
I got this one in the mail yesterday, and shows I paid my dues to “United-Statesian” section of the League of Christian Esperantists International for 2011, if that wasn’t plain.
But apart from the symbolic value, membership cards can signal voting rights, link to services and log-ins and note benefits of membership.
This might not be the most practical of tools for church administration or religious associations, but they can be made easily with the gLabels software (for the GNOME desktop, usually associated with Linux users)Â I mentioned before, and I’ll begin reviewing it this weekend.
A few days ago, I suggested a common dependence on Frederick Henry Hedge’s translation of the Liturgy of St. James for Unitarian, Universalist and Free Christian communion practice. Rashly I said would create a parallel text showing this development if I could find the software to typeset it.
I think I found what I was remembering: the parcolumns LaTeX package, in part because it can handle more than two columns in parallel. Shall test it, sooner or later, but I thought this tool would be helpful for others making liturgical comparisons.
As I proceed, I’ll also note which LaTeX graphical user interface (GUI) I’ve chosen, ’cause there’s no way I’m doing this in a plain text editor.
I got a book for work — Matthew Butterick’s 2010 Typography for Lawyers — to make some of our printed and PDF publications easier to read and more attractive. I think it would be a good value for a larger church wanting to improve its internal document processes, good for a smaller church wanting to find an another attainable product of excellence and for denominations and associations not wanting to drive their constituents mad with unreadable text. And for those of us on the headier end of the Reformed tradition, good typography — even more than music or architecture — is a natural outlet for artists.
I’ve long loved Richard Bringhurst’s classic Elements of Typographic Style and recommend it both for its titular, outer curriculum, and its inner curriculum of order and the interconnection of information. (Yes, I read it as a meditation manual.) But if Bringhurst is scripture, then Butterick is akin to Quakers’ Faith and Practice: it shapes and informs opinion, and offers solutions. If you own neither, buy Butterick’s first. It is also more useful for the church office by referring to word processing software and 8Â½ Ã—11 inch paper, not proper publication software or a variety of print settings. Once you get a taste for better typography, get Bringhurst.
While written for the law office, almost everything is applicable for church use. You can skip quickly over legal citations and court standards. One missing section for churches would be the construction of orders of service, but his section of columns and the overarching principles are applicable. His advice on letterhead, business cards and getting a printer or graphic designer is worth the price of the book by themselves.
Missing, however, are “recipes” for the OpenOffice.org office suite, but I’m working up a reference sheet, since we use it so much at the office and I use it exclusively at home. And he has no love for free fonts — an attitude I usually share — but Linux Libertine (despite the name, usable on other operating systems) and Gentium Basic are high-quality typefaces appropriate for body test that are liberally licensed and thus freely shared.
The book was born as a website and details and you can test his concepts there, and order the book if you like. The book also acts as a catalog to navigate the site and unlock features. In all, $25 well spent.
On my netbook, tapping out ideas while my home desktop computer finishes updating the latest version of Ubuntu Linux. That massive software project makes me think about the little, somewhat procedural and documentation-focused project I’ve started. To recap, I want to help automate the production of orders of service using LaTeX, a typesetting language more associated with mathematical journals or scientific dissertations than anything religious.
So here are the features I want to see in this project, both to cultivate some interest and to guide my work.
- select correct standard LaTeX document style, as project basis, if one exists
- project creates makes 5.5 by 8.5 inch pages
- prints in selected typeface
- set up LaTeX file with comments to allow easy editing
- prints lines where half of the content is forced left, flush left and the rest is forced right, flush right
- can print as a booklet with pages in the correct order
- associate the correct package to allow her/his and he/she pronouns within a service automatically
- link file to data source, to create “mail merged” output
- insert an image of music, generated from a text file, such as ABC notation
- associate correct heading levels with sections within a customary order of worship
- insert hooks to pull repeated (“ordinary”) liturgical fragments
With apologies to Victoria Weinstein, and her Beauty Tips for Ministers blog.
One of the tasks that took the most time and caused the most unnecessary trouble was getting the Sunday service bulletin/order of service/order of worship/service sheet to look right. Those of you with limited office staff will understand.
I’m trying to work up a simple workflow, with free and open-source tools, to make this task easier; in particular, TeX and LaTex,Â whichÂ might seem odd choices for church work. It will be an iterative process: the first result will be painful and ugly and should improve in ease and quality. Â I’ll be doing it even if there’s no expressed interest — I leave things on this blog that take years to get attention. But if you do have a real-life need, please note it in the comments.
I’ve been fascinated by web fonts in private, but news that Google has a Fonts API in a beta release — in short, making liberally-licensed fonts for websites easier to implement — pushes up my interest. And this, despite the Google diet I’ve put myself on. (Once I learn more about web fonts, it’ll be easy to replace their service with one I can host. And besides, it’s not like the Big G is going to get any more personal data about me in the transaction. They have it all already.)
This blog post is for other dabblers. Start here to use Google’s API; it includes a simple real-life example to try. Â For pre-dabblers, web fonts can bring a new level ofÂ typographyÂ to the web, without resorting to pictures of text. Â I’ll probably be trying it out on this blog, using Vollkorn, next week.
HT: “Embedding Google Font to Your WP Blog” (Make Tech Easier)
I’m interested in the back and forth between the Boston Unitarian and Southern “Universalist Church” History blogs about what Universalist works are available for the former’s Nook, the book reader released by Barnes and Noble.
I confess, that if pressed to own a book reader, I’d probably get the Nook: it’s a better value than its competitors, and is fundamentally an Android device, like my phone. As such, developers have found ways to add additional software to it, like a media player or a web browser. (But I’m not in the market and I can read books on my phone, if pressed.)
I’ll get to the titles later; indeed, I hope to dust off some old work and republish it in a format most book readers can accept. And so the biggest reason I’d choose the Nook (or Sony’s Reader) over an Amazon Kindle is over what files it accepts. I’m becoming more fond of the EPUB standard. (If the subject interests you, also read Joe Clark‘s breakdown of the HTML-ness of EPUB.)
If you care about books, should consider your rights as a reader, since “Digital Rights Management” — now perishing in recorded music — is booming in electronic books. An encumbered electronic book does not give you the same rights to share or store as you have with one made of paper. This is not inconsequential for those who hold on to books for decades.
For background on the matters, see the Electronic Frontiers Foundation’s Digital Books and Your Rights. (Also available there as a PDF: some book readers take that!) Or, if you like something with more punch, check out the Free Software Foundation’s Defective by Design site. (This page about the Kindle.)