New life for sea shell book

2017-11-16 06:00
Aphiwe Masoka from the Jeffreys Bay Shell Museum, receives the first copy of the book, The Sea Shells of Jeffreys Bay, from Frank Nunan.                       Photo:SUPPLIED

Aphiwe Masoka from the Jeffreys Bay Shell Museum, receives the first copy of the book, The Sea Shells of Jeffreys Bay, from Frank Nunan. Photo:SUPPLIED

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THE ST Francis Bay publisher and publishing facilitator, Write-On Publishing, just delivered a consignment of the book, The Sea Shells of Jeffreys Bay to the Jeffreys Bay Shell Museum.

What makes this delivery special is that this book by Douw and Elise Steyn and originally published in 1999, was totally out of print. The original publisher/printer no longer exists, and the original content material - colour plates and text - were nowhere to be found.

Petro Meyer of the Humansdorp Museum Association and curator of the Shell Museum says, “The Shell Museum had a limited number of copies of the book that were either sold or used to assist visitors and locals who wanted to know more about a specific shell.

“When we wanted to acquire more books, we realised there were none - and the original printers had closed down. The book had to be redone from scratch. This, however, created an opportunity to make some corrections. With modern technology available, the classification of a few shells has changed since the time of the original publication and the new classifications could be included.

The Tourism Department of Kouga Municipality assisted with the printing cost of the book to ensure that it would still be available for locals and visitors.”

Copyright was given to the Humansdorp Museum Association to ensure that no unauthorised copies of the book are distributed.

The new edition has a brand-new cover, designed by Frank Nunan, to make it easy to distinguish from the original one.

While the process might seem painless to Meyer, Nunan was faced with a number of challenges. “I only had a printed version to work from and this was a huge problem when it came to the quality of the colour plates. However, I am pleased to say that I was able to scan and enhance them digitally to the extent that they are barely distinguishable from the originals.

“The text was scanned using Optical Cha-racter Recognition (OCR) technology. This also presented a few challenges. A very small typeface had been used, and as the original print quality was not very good, ink runs occurred, causing some interesting results from the OCR scans - “rn’s’ became “m’s”, for example. This means that very intensive proofreading and correction were needed. The fact that much of the original text was in Latin made this even more fun.”

The Humansdorp Museum Association is already planning its next book revival project: the reprint of Humansdorp se Groei and Bloei 1849-1975. Permission has already been obtained from the children of the original author, E. J. Gerryts.

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