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The International Centre for Diffraction Data (ICDD) is a non-profit scientific organization which collects, edits, and publishes powder diffraction data. The powder diffraction data are maintained in a computer-readable database format and are known within the scientific community as the Powder Diffraction File (PDF). The database is published on a variety of media—books, microfiche, magnetic tape, and CD-ROM.
Several years ago, the ICDD investigated the potential of using desktop publishing (DTP) to design and produce publications in-house. In 1990, ICDD established a DTP department. At first, the full capabilities of this set-up and its impact on data manipulation and presentation were not fully understood. Three years later, several completed products prove the power, flexibility, and control that an in-house DTP department promotes. The variety of layouts and enhancements for readability that can be designed into a document prove that numerical scientific data can be presented in a clear and concise manner.
Today, the DTP department coordinates the design, layout, and file creation of all hard copy products. The end process of printing and production determines the development process, regardless of the size of the product or whether the product will be produced completely in-house or coordinated with outside service bureaus and printers. DTP offers greater control over the proofing process and permits cost-effective production. Shortened turn-around times for development of layouts and production of final electronic files or camera-ready copy allow additional time early in the process to experiment with layout and design of projects and to refine data presentation to improve readability.
Through this experimentation, we gained insights on the readability and visual presentation of numerical/scientific data with the end user in mind. In this paper, discussion will center on the process involved in publishing from a database, planning for a publication, and discovering design ideas to increase readability of data. Examples will include new and redeveloped publications.
layout, formatting, design, font(s), production, database publishing, desktop publishing, graphic elements
Graphic Arts and Production Manager, International Centre for Diffraction Data, Newtown Square, PA
Publications Manager, International Centre for Diffraction Data, Newtown Square, PA