BY ARGIRIS MALAPANIS
OAKLAND, California - The steering committee organizing volunteers around the world to put into electronic format the entire back list of some 350 titles that Pathfinder Press publishes, or is responsible for keeping in print and distributing, held a meeting here June 19-21. The committee made a number of decisions to step up the pace of digitizing books and pamphlets to keep up with titles going out of stock and to take responsibility for putting into electronic format the graphics, photos, and covers of the books - not just the text. The decisions include:
Broadening immediately the number of volunteers formatting the electronic files of the manuscripts. Formatting is the final stage of preparing the electronic page layouts before the book is sent to Pathfinder's print shop, where printing plates will be produced directly from the digital files through computer-to-plate technology. Using this equipment is part of the reorganization of labor in the publisher's shop, which will allow Pathfinder to meet the demand by fighting workers and youth for revolutionary literature with a smaller and less complex print shop and at a lower cost for short runs.
Formatting was one of the main tasks where a bottleneck had been created by initially organizing only a small group of volunteers in the Bay Area to carry out this task. Robbie Scherr, a supporter of the Socialist Workers Party in Seattle, is now formatting Rosa Luxemburg Speaks, while Peggy Brundy in Oakland is completing the formatting of Sexism and Science, a book by Evelyn Reed. The steering committee set deadlines for delivering the finished electronic files of both of these titles to Pathfinder by June 29, which will make it possible printing them with the new technology prior to the July 11-12 active workers conference in Pittsburgh (see ad on page 3). The Revolution Betrayed by Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky was completed June 13 - the first joint product of volunteers and the print shop.
Organizing the 120 plus volunteers who have signed up for the project from around the world so that an average of 10 books and pamphlets per month can be delivered to Pathfinder in finished electronic files for the last six months of this year. This is the level of production needed to keep pace with books going out of stock at the publisher's current level of sales.
Recruiting supporters of the communist movement to begin digitizing graphics and photos in books. The pilot project to get this going will be digitizing the graphics of Cointelpro: The FBI's Secret War on Political Freedom by Nelson Blackstock, due to be delivered in digital form by September 1. The steering committee set a deadline of August 30 for taking responsibility for this part of the production process for all books, a task now being carried out by workers in Pathfinder's print shop.
Organizing volunteers to digitize the covers of the books put into electronic format, which will often involve some redesigning. The cover of Cointelpro will be the first volunteers will produce this way. The same team will also begin recruiting and training supporters of the communist movement to design new covers for Pathfinder books and pamphlets.
More extensive coverage of the June 19-21 meeting will appear in a forthcoming issue. Those who would like to help with any of the tasks outlined above can do so by contacting Ruth Cheney, organizer of the Bay Area steering committee, at email@example.com
Help Upgrade 'Militant' Subscription System
During July, the Militant will be replacing its old subscription program with a new fulfillment system, one of the steps the paper has been taking to upgrade our business operations simultaneously with the transformation of book production in Pathfinder's print shop. This conversion will involve volunteers putting in about 150 hours to manually key board the existing data into the new system. The Militant is projecting to start the data entry July 6 and continue through July 10, take a break for the active workers conference in Pittsburgh, and resume the work July 16 through July 28. Anyone who would like to help should contact Maurice Williams at the Militant Business Office for more details.
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