In the early days, the only purpose of the Web site was to attract new members. It briefly described the organization and told how to join. In order to attract more readers, I added information about letterpress printing, writing, and graphic arts.
A secondary purpose for the site later emerged: providing information to members. A news page lists current officers, announcements (such as laureate award winners), and reminders of upcoming events (conventions, Ink Cahoots, etc.). Greg McKelvey's digital snapshots from the 1998 convention were a natural addition, and pictures from the annual confabs have been linked in every year since. Recently, President Shipley pushed for a new service for members: an on-line directory containing members' e-mail and postal addresses.
Technical realities have limited the size of AAPA’s Web site. Since it was piggy-backed onto my wife's AOL account, it is constrained to 2 MBytes of data -- fine for text, but not roomy enough for many pictures. (In 1999, 2000, and 2001, Bill Venrick provided the space from his Web area, and those pages were easily linked into the main AAPA site.)
The size limitation led to a design decision: make the pages simple, without a lot of graphical images or multiple fonts. This Spartan look, alleviated here and there with a touch of color, allows pages to load quickly even over slow phone lines. We've been able to attract a steady stream of readers over the years, currently averaging 20 to 25 ``hits'' per day on our home page (a total of over 50,000 since 1995).
Thanks to the generosity of member Dave Oehlers, who operates greenapple.com, the AAPA last fall gained 20 times as much space to play with. The first use of that space was to display photos from the 2002 convention.
In April I completed a project compiling a cross-reference of typefaces from 13 ATF and BB&S catalogs. The Excel spreadsheet would have filled up the old site, but was hardly a blip on the new one. By keeping the same color scheme used for the older pages, most viewers won't even notice that following a link took them to a completely different location.
The latest project consumes even more space: a 28-page partial reproduction of a 1908 Golding catalogue featuring Pearl, Jobber, and Official presses. Because it includes many scanned images, the file came to a total of 4 MBytes.
All this letterpress information is fascinating -- to the relatively small audience of letterpress printers. But is it the most effective use of our Web space?
I asked first vice president (and head recruiter) Les Boyer to look over the Web site with an eye toward making it a more effective recruiting tool. He came up with an interesting suggestion: ``It seems to me the principal change which might be made to attract new members would be the addition of a Desktop Publishing section.'' The idea makes sense: if the AAPA wants to promote publishing of personal journals, we should go after the folks who have an interest in publishing -- whether it's by letterpress or desktop. (A side note: the National APA is using their Web site and other resources to attract writers to the hobby. Rather than duplicate their work, it seems better to reach out in a fresh direction.)
Les outlined specific steps: add an introductory page or two describing fundamentals, add a page of links to related Web topics, and throw in some top-notch examples. Maybe there would be tie-ins to relevant discussion groups. Perhaps there could be a section encouraging younger folks who want to start a neighborhood newspaper.
These are great ideas. Unfortunately, I've got my hands full simply keeping the pages we already have up-to-date. Is there someone who can step forward and take on the job of ``hosting'' AAPA pages dealing with desktop publishing?
There would be work necessary to research the topic and pull the initial information together, then some ongoing chores to keep things current. I can help get the information formatted into Web pages, if necessary.
The person who organizes the page would need access to the Internet, including a way to transfer files from a local computer to the AAPA site. Familiarity with a Web authoring tool (even a word processor that allows documents to be saved in Web format) would be a plus. If you have any interest, contact me to discuss more of the details.
It may take awhile to beef up the Web site. In the meantime, members can take action to spread the word about AAPA:
If you want to join the fun, start work now so you can complete your 4&189; by 6 inch page and have it arrive in Sunnyvale before the August 30 deadline. Please leave at least a &189; inch margin on the side of the page that will be bound.
Send 315 copies of your page -- a few more than the mailer needs, but those extras are put to good use. If you want receipt acknowledged, include a self-addressed postcard or e-mail me. If you want an advance copy, ask for it and include a $2 donation.
Any questions? Would you like to see a sample copy? Just send me a message.
The Tribby Tribune has been published for the American Amateur Press Association since 1971 by Dave Tribby, who lives at 1529 Fantail Ct., Sunnyvale, CA 94087 and has e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org This issue was prepared using Microsoft Word.