The William A. Gordon Library of British Cariacture

For a client near Chicago, I provided the cataloguing, photography and design necessary to build a comprehensive special collection catalogue. I digitized most of the items, and designed and facilitated a printed, bound catalogue.

Download a sample (PDF, 2.6MB)

This project occurred in two phases. The first phase concluded in 2013; a subsequent subpplemental volume was produced in 2020 by the same method. 50 copies of each volume were produced.

This collection consists of several hundred British prints, drawings, watercolors and objects, most from the late 18C to the early 19C. Many are political cartoons originally for periodical distribution, including humorous comic strips predating 20C newspaper strips by over a century. The client also provided an extensive bibliography enabling further scholarship into the subject matter.

Because the client was adverse to relocation of materials, I performed digitization on site using parallel SLR photography in a book cradle. No scanners were ever used; books were never laid flat. I used Adobe Lightroom for an interim image and metadata repository.

For cataloging, to accommodate extant records, photography, and client preferences, I employed a modified AACR2 syntax in a Dublin Core framework. I cataloged all data into a custom Filemaker Pro database, a “swiss-army knife” which proved sufficiently comprehensive and flexible for the project requirements.

I laid out the books in Adobe InDesign. This required a series of custom Ruby scripts to translate exported Filemaker data into suitable XML for InDesign import. Final deliverables were press-ready PDF files provided to a printer and a bindery. I supervised each step of the process.

The books have been distributed to several special collections libraries across the country, including at Northwestern University and Princeton University, which both maintain extensive print collections from this period.

  • - designer
  • - author
  • initial volume published: 2013
  • supplementary volume published: 2020
Client William A. Gordon
Role Designer, Cataloger, Data Wrangler, Photographer, Producer