Collation Blog Guest Post Guidelines
Purpose of The Collation
The Collation publishes informative and entertaining articles that expand the Folger’s mission of educating its audiences about our collections. The Collation reaches out to scholars, librarians, and the general public, educating all groups about the resources that are available at the Folger (including online resources, physical items in our collection, programs enabling study and research, and the expertise of our staff) and the types of research that are being conducted at the Folger (whether by Researchers, Fellows, or Staff).
Subject of posts
Posts for The Collation should always be Folger-focused. Writing about individual items, collections, and work related to the collections (such as cataloging, acquisitions, conservation, teaching with the collections) are all appropriate. Expanding on topics dealt with in programs (such as exhibitions and Institute programs) can be appropriate if they provide resources or information that is of interest beyond the participants in that event. Discussing wider topics as they might impact on the Folger can also be suitable (for instance, responding to debates about digitization, or portraits of Shakespeare, or dating manuscripts), as can be posts teaching people about bibliographic matters (e.g., what signature marks are or the difference between engravings and illustrations).
Above all, posts should be informative and entertaining. Avoid posts that say only, “this is cool!” or posts that say, “we have this.” Aim for posts that do both: “this is cool because it shows us something about the history of the letter Z” or “we have this and it’s useful/exciting for the following reasons.”
Style of posts
One of the great things about writing a blog post is that it allows for a more informal voice. Posts that read like academic papers tend to feel tedious, even if the subject is exciting. So don’t be afraid to inject your own voice in there. The most important rule for The Collation is that no matter how esoteric your subject is, it needs to be written about without jargon and in an accessible style. If your subject requires the use of technical terms, please define them—it’s better to err on the side of defining too much than defining not enough. Assume your readers will be knowledgeable, but not experts on the subject. So if you’re writing about bindings, explain what “blind tooling” is; if it matters that a book is an octavo, explain what that means and why it matters.
Length of posts
The length of each post will depend on the nature of the post itself. Generally speaking, 400 words is probably the minimum length for a post that provides informative and accessible content; 2000 words is probably the outer limit of what’s comfortable to read as a blog post.
Images in posts
Pictures make everything better! Especially when we’re talking about the stuff we have here! Photographs can be either from the Photography Department and found in the Digital Image Collection (LUNA) or they can be images you have taken yourself. If you don't have images that you've taken yourself, and the items are not found in LUNA, please let the editor know and they will arrange for them to be done.
If you are using images you took yourself, please email your images as separate files, rather than embedded in the text of your post. If you are using images from LUNA, please include the short URL for the image (found by clicking the "Share" button above the image in LUNA).
In the text, indicate where each image goes by providing a clear filename/LUNA link and follow with the caption text, including Folger call number and opening; please also indicate how you want the photo credit to read (if you're feeling technically savvy, feel free to embed the call number and photo credit on the image itself). If you are taking your own photos, please provide as good-quality images as possible (preferably at least 1500 pixels in the larger direction—the editor can always resize them if needed): good color, even lighting, etc. For some helpful tips on taking photos in dark reading rooms, see Julie Ainsworth’s Q&A.
Behave collegially: don’t quote people or discuss them without clearing it with them first. General reporting is okay (“At a talk today, Sarah Werner discussed her interest in how theatrical performance is represented on the printed page.”) but more detailed account of someone else’s research isn’t kosher unless they give you their permission. Same thing with photographs: it’s better to ask people if you can take their picture than to just take it; if you have a photo in which there are people, don’t label anyone unless they okay it, and try to be kind about not using photos that are unflattering. If you are using an image other than one you’ve taken of a Folger item or one that is from the Folger’s digital image collection (LUNA), please make sure we have permission to use it.
- The title of the blog is in italics: The Collation.
- The full name of our institution is Folger Shakespeare Library; you can refer to it subsequently as the Folger.
- The blog uses the Oxford, or serial, comma: I like Shakespeare, Jonson, and Stoppard.
- Any discussion of items in our collections should include a link to the catalog record for that item, assuming it is in Hamnet. You don’t need to include the call number in the main text of the post, since it can be found in the linked record, but it can sometimes be helpful.
- Use captions for your image that describe what it is. For people reading a post in a format that doesn’t render images, or who are using a screen reader, the caption will be the only information they have as to what they would be looking at.
- If possible, please format footnotes as follows: simply enclose the text of your footnote with [note] and [/note] at the beginning and end, respectively, in the place where you want the note to be. Follow the note with a space and then continue with your main text. Here’s an example:
- The Olympics are always worth watching.[note]Although some spectators created the hashtag #nbcfail to vent their frustrations about NBC’s broadcasting choices.[/note] But sometimes you want to escape to a place where books are more exciting than sports.
We strive for a semi-diplomatic style of transcription that will work for printed texts, manuscripts, and graphic materials, presenting texts that are readable but also faithful to our belief that these texts are historically embedded in material objects. In practice, this means we follow these guidelines:
- Stick with the original spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.
- Maintain the u/v and i/j distinctions of early texts, but convert long-s to the standard "s"
- Unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise, do not adhere to the text’s original font choices (that is, when a text switches from roman to italic for a proper name, stay in roman).
- We expand abbreviations, using italics to indicate the letters omitted in the original. Letters that were superscript are lowered without being italicized.
- Since there is no modern thorn letter, change “ye” to “the” with the “th” in italics to indicate it has been altered: “the.”
- Brevigraphs like “&” or “&c” are preserved as is.
The easiest way to handle links is to provide them parenthetically in the text immediately after where you want them to appear. For instance, “If one were to browse The Collation (http://collation.folger.edu), one would quickly learn that no one writes blog posts using ‘one.’” The editor will then make those embedded links when putting the post in Wordpress. (If you are comfortable with html code, feel free to hand-code the links in, but don't feel obligated! As long as the URL is there, it is simple to add!)
Getting the post to us
Email the text to collation AT folger DOT edu in some standard format (Word or any RTF format will do) and the images as separate files (TIFF or JPEG). If you have huge image files, let the editor know in advance—sometimes the email system can’t handle it.
The last thing you'll need to do is provide text for your bio blurb. Guest posts are published under a guest byline, with biographical information on the writer appended to the end of the post. (See the posts under Collation Guest for examples.)
Guidelines Credit: Created by Sarah Werner, minor modifications made by Abbie Weinberg September 2015 and following.