How To Provide A Display

The 'displays' section was first suggested by George Russell in a piece in Newsletter 318 (Jul/Aug 2009, p23), entitled Exhibits Should Be For Everyone. It stemmed from the observations that (a) many members do not get to see displays and exhibits of great interest, because they are unable to attend the meeting or exhibition where they are shown, and (b) scanned images of such exhibits made available to members via the website would be a very helpful alternative.

Naturally, we would like to have a wide selection of interesting things to look at, and further displays are actively solicited. So, if you have a suitable display in mind, how should you go about getting it on the site? Well, I'm glad you asked that! The basic answer is "provide the webmaster with a set of scanned pages", but the answers to some questions you might have are given in more detail below.

Which subjects are suitable?

Anything to do with GB philately that will be of interest to GBPS members. It doesn't have to be stuffed with expensive rarities, it just needs to present a subject clearly. Unusual topics and specialised studies are very welcome. (Shade studies are unlikely to work though, I'm afraid – variation among scanners and screens makes precise colour reproduction virtually impossible.) Basically, if it would make a nice Member's Display at a meeting, it'll fit right in.

What are the minimum and maximum number of pages?

There are no particular limits on these, although I'd suggest one frame (16 sheets) as a useful minimum. As for the maximum, really it depends on the display – there's no reason why we can't put up a few hundred pages of a comprehensive look at a subject. Indeed, we already have some displays like that.

Does the number of pages have to be a multiple of 16?

Not at all – the 16-sheet "frames" are merely a presentation convenience, since competition entries and displays tend to be arranged that way anyway. But if you have say 43 sheets of some topic, they'd be most easily displayed as two "frames" of 16 and one of 11 with blank "pages" at the end.

What happens if some of my pages are a non-standard size?

Not a problem. If you have some sheets that are double width and/or double height, say, that's fine – e.g. this display of High Values QV to QEII includes a lot of large covers that required large sheets. In principle, you could have a sheet that took up a frame by itself. (How you would go about scanning such a sheet in the first place is left as an exercise for the reader! A workable alternative for very large sheets is to take a digital photograph instead.)

We can also cope with wide sheets – e.g. the style some exhibitors prefer (or need to use because of the nature of the material) which uses sheets that are a third wider than usual, giving a frame of four rows of three. See this display of Revenue Stamps 1671-1853 for an example.

Who can see the displays?

Up to you. At present, the standard format is for intro pages to be viewable by anyone to act as a 'taster', but the actual exhibit pages themselves can only be viewed by GBPS members who are logged in (if you don't have an account set up, here's where you go to get one). The intro pages can be blocked on request too, or conversely you can make the display publicly available, and you can be anonymous or use a pseudonym if you wish.

How many displays can the site handle?

Lots of them! We have more or less unlimited capacity available in both disk space and bandwidth, so we could have dozens of displays in this section without cause for concern.

OK, I'm up for this. What do I need to provide?

Excellent! Ideally I'd like the following – only the first of these is absolutely essential, but the other two are really useful to reduce the amount of work I have to do. (The reduced sized images and the HTML for the pages themselves are generated by a Perl script that I run, but systematic naming etc is a big help.)

(a) A set of scans of the pages in question, done at a reasonably high resolution. 300dpi is a good general choice – smaller and the reduced size images look poor, larger and the file sizes become huge. If small details such as plate varieties are the focus of the display, then 600dpi may be better. The preferred format for the files is JPEG/JPG, saved at high quality – I can handle other formats such as PDF, PNG, and TIFF, but they need more manipulation,

Name the files in page order so I know how they go – e.g. "JoeBloggs 1.jpg", "JoeBloggs 2.jpg", "JoeBloggs 3.jpg", ... "JoeBloggs 27.jpg", ... etc. If a sheet spans multiple positions, the script should hopefully be able to work out where it goes based on the relative image sizes, but it wouldn't hurt to specify (e.g. "Pages 9-10.jpg") – especially if the image is a photograph rather than a scan, and thus the image size isn't in proportion to the other pages.

(b) A short introduction to the display which explains what it's about and what it contains, the sort of thing you might put on the first sheet as a title page. (Taking the text from the title page is a perfectly reasonable approach.) Without that, the intro page will just instruct the viewer to see the first sheet. Any reasonably standard format is OK for this – Word doc, PDF, plain text file, etc.

(c) A list of titles for each page, numbered and/or in order – e.g. 14. Constant Varieties on the 2d. These are used in the frame pages and intro page to give an idea of what the display contains. Absent these headings, the titles will simply be given as e.g. Sheet 14 – accurate but uninformative! Again, any normal format will be fine.

How do I get the files to you?

The easiest way is to upload them to somewhere that I can download them from – at present, the free WeTransfer service is ideal for this purpose, but other methods such as Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive etc are fine. If the display is quite small, sending them to me split over several emails at not more than about 10Mb per email may work. Alternatively, you can save them to a USB stick or DVD and post it to me. Ask if you're unsure.

So there you have it. I'm sure all of us have seen displays that we'd like to be able to refer to repeatedly, rather than simply see them once and scramble to make notes on. So if you can help, please contact the with the details!