About Donald Mastronarde

Donald Mastronarde is Melpomene Professor of Classics at the University of California, Berkeley, and Editorial Board Chair for the series California Classical Studies. For more information see the indicated website.

Creating an ePub of a Complex Scholarly Book from MS Word

For the previous books, the ePub had been generated from InDesign. A separate InDesign book had to be prepared from the same InDesign files used in the book for print format, with certain modifications to prepare for the conversion. Would it be possible to do an effective conversion from Word that would pass all the tests needed for distribution?

I started with a copy of the final Word .docx used to generate the print-ready PDF. I removed  manual line breaks and manual page breaks by global replacement. I should not have done this globally, since this caused more work later when I found places in the ePub where a few of these should have been retained. Only the breaks inserted for better final layout should have been removed. I tried to substitute Times New Roman for Minion Pro by simply redefining the default font and the Normal style of this document, but this did not work. I converted a few styles manually for the change of font, but there were too many styles to deal with, and changes did not seem to have the cascading effect I expected. So I just did a global search and replace. It took more than one try to actually eliminate all the Minion Pro, or apparently do so.

I had learned that the free program calibre could convert a Word file to ePub, and one source said this did not work with .docx, but did work with .rtf. Therefore, after the adjustments just mentioned, I resaved the .docx as .rtf, added the latter file to calibre, and used the conversion command. The conversion failed with the error message that calibre had encountered unexpected features in the RTF. I noted that the latest version of calibre I had downloaded had a setting for converting from .docx. When I added the .docx to calibre and converted, the process completed. If the .rtf version has worked, it probably would have had much cleaner html than what resulted from .docx.

It was possible to make some edits of the result right in calibre: I restored some line breaks and I edited the css file to remove references to various fonts that were not supposed to be in my document at all (Calibri, Tahoma, Arial, Palatino Linotype). I believe they must have been concealed in a few paragraph symbols in Word, since I had searched previously in Word to find and replace fonts like Calibri. This appears to be another indication that global searching in Word 2016 is not fully reliable, or perhaps it has something to do with the extraordinary messiness (and overkill of tagging) of the XML used by Microsoft for .docx. But I prefer to work on an ePub archive in Oxygen XML Editor or BBEdit. In order to get an ePub archive outside of calibre to work on (and eventually upload), the proper command to use in calibre is Save to disk “as EPUB only in single directory.”

Here were some of the actions needed to get the ePub to look right (I checked with iBooks and Adobe Digital Editions) and to pass epubcheck validation and validation on the Lulu site.

1. The file toc.ncx created by calibre had only one navpoint, for Notes. As with previous books, this file needed to be edited to have the proper chapter titles and, in this case, the proper navpoints. It may be noted that the footnotes are all at the end of the book with calibre’s conversion, whereas the previous ePubs created in InDesign had notes for each chapter at the end of each chapter.

2. In various places I saw unwanted changes in the size of the font. When I explored the html for those locations, I found an enormous amount of unnecessary coding in the file: spans were applied to stretches of text with no rationale, including a number of the type <span id=”id_OLE_LINK21″> … </span>. I guess that this is something caused by Word rather than calibre. Eliminating all spans containing OLE did no harm and removed many, but not all of the font size anomalies.  Others were removed when I changed the class of a span to the same as that of a nearby portion of text that was in the correct size. I could detect no reason why a different style had been applied to the two stretches of text, nor why the css settings for these two styles differed from each other. Eventually, I turned to the css file and removed all the font-size statements that indicated an enlarged font (1.2em or 2.223em). I have no idea what was the origin of these, but eventually the fonts in the book as displayed in iBooks or Adobe Digital Editions were of uniform size.

3. The Appendix to chapter 1 contained some very extensive two column tables. Somehow, in one of the tables “colspan=”2″” had been added as an attribute to a number of cells, producing an XML error that caused the rest of the chapter not to be displayed at all. Removing all the colspan=”2″ attributes in the file solved this problem.

4. In the printed book the logo on the title page is in .eps format, and calibre converted this to .emf. But that would not display in the reading applications. A jpeg version had to be used instead, with changes to the manifest in content.opf and the html of the page itself.  The plates had been in .tiff format in the book, and those displayed in iBooks but not in Adobe Digital Editions. I replaced them with jpeg versions. Since I use the .jpg suffix when I save a jpeg file, I initially mistyped the media-type in the manifest as image/jpg rather than the required image/jpeg. epubcheck caught that, as well as my failure to remove the manifest entry for the .emf version of the logo.

5. I deleted the ugly cover image that calibre had created, waiting for the simple cover that is created when processing the ePub at Lulu.com.

6. Because of my overenthusiastic removal of page breaks in the Word version before conversion, the seven plates with their captions were not appearing on separate pages and were all in one html file. Adding a horizontal rule and a little more space between them was a slight improvement, but not good enough. So I divided the one html file into seven, one for each plate, and adjusted the manifest and spine in content.opf so that they appeared in the right place. Where there had been one file named by calibre’s converter as “index_split_019.html”, the file of that name now contained only Plate 1 and the remaining plates were in files named with the ending “_019a” though “_019e”. In the manifest element the original file had the attribute “id=”id2456″”, and six new files likewise had a through e added to the filename. In the spine element, six lines of the type “<itemref idref=”id2456[a-e]”/>” had to be added to follow the original <itemref idref=”id2456″/>.

7. Although epubcheck once again completed without errors, the validation that takes place when uploading to Lulu revealed that there was still an extraneous calibre file that needed to be deleted (META-INF/calibre_bookmarks.txt), since it was not in the manifest and certainly not needed. Also it was necessary to add to the dc:date element the attribute opf:event=”publication”. After these changes Lulu validation worked and the ePub version was published.

The process probably took about the same amount of time as producing an ePub using InDesign, or perhaps a little longer because this was the first time using calibre and the first time investigating what had gone wrong in the css file and in some of the tagging assigned to spans of text.

Addendum January 19, 2018

The ePub was not accepted for wider distribution until certain fixes were made at the request of Lulu’s system for internal validation.

1. The message from Lulu said that the author’s middle initial was missing from metadata but present on the title page and marketing image. When I checked the metadata in the file I had uploaded, the middle initial was already in the metadata. I did not realize until a second warning that in processing my uploaded file, the system used by Lulu had changed the metadata file (reordered items and also changed content). It had created a different dc:creator element using the first name field on the first page of the setup sequence for a Lulu publication, where no middle initial was present. This is where the correction was needed, not in the ePub that I was uploading.

2. The ePub I uploaded did not have the title as the first line of the first content file, but some empty paragraphs, and the title was in a <p> element. It has to be an <h1> instead, with no other items before it.

3. The first file listed in toc.ncx had the <text> element set to Front Matter. This text needed to be changed to the title of the book.

Formatting a Complex Scholarly Book in MS Word

The first five numbers in the California Classical Studies series were produced with Adobe InDesign. Previous postsdescribed some of the obscurities, limitations, and bugs that needed to be worked around to produce the print-ready PDF and the ePub file> for those books. Some of the problems are traceable to the ungainly complexity of Microsoft Word’s .docx format and what happens when files are (in the terminology of the program) “placed” in an InDesign chapter document or when stretches of text copied from Word are pasted into InDesign.

It was always the intention at some point to experiment with avoiding InDesign and producing the needed files directly from Word. I was reluctant to try this at first because of my experience of the longstanding Word bug regarding footnote placement in complex documents: notes may be placed on the wrong page, or a note may be cut off at the end of a page and not continued on the next, or a note may not be displayed at all. This intermittent and unpredictable fault has been around for many iterations of Word for Mac (and online reports suggest it occurs in the Windows version too). A second major concern was anomalous behavior I have experienced with headers and footers in Word when one has a long and complex document with many sections, with changing running heads in different sections, especially if one has passages of two-column text (as in an index), which may involve several section breaks on the same page. Occasionally I had found it impossible to edit the header in the way I desired. Finally, many changes in the user interface of Word in recent versions have been deleterious to efficient work: e.g., multiple steps are required for what used to take one step; the space-wasting icons in the toolbar crowd out other items; and the degree of customization possible in the toolbar and has been reduced.

It was therefore with some trepidation that I started to format my own volume in the series, Preliminary Studies on the Scholia to Euripides, directly from my Word files of the chapters. Would I spend some hours preparing the book only to reach an impasse and have to start over again in InDesign? Would the PDF produced at the end of the process pass the verification when uploaded to the Lulu publishing system? In the end, the process was successful (the print book was placed on the Lulu sales page on November 22, 2017), but there were certainly stressful moments when I feared my work had been wasted.

The Footnote Positioning Bug

There had not been any footnotes in the front matter, but when the font and line-spacing in the first chapter were adjusted for the series style, the footnote positioning bug appeared on the very first page of the first chapter when seen in Print Layout view. When you run into a problem with either Adobe or Microsoft software, the official help documents provided by the vendor is, in my experience, rarely useful, as they apparently don’t like to admit the bugginess of their products (or the fact that they have known about a fault for a long time and not fixed it). A Google search for the problem is usually more helpful, if you can find the right combination of terms to locate the precise issue. The hits for such a search often reveal mention of the issue on user forums or tech sites that encapsulate some helpful tips in a page of advertisements. It is sad to see how far back in time users have been stymied by some issues, and many posts on user forums seem never to have attracted a valid, generalizable solution. Fortunately, in this case I did find the advice that setting the text paragraph styles used in the main text to have exact line heights is now known to solve the problem. In Word, because many of my documents contain an admixture of a standard Roman font and a specialized Greek font in the same sentence, I am used to using line heights of “at least” 2 points or so more than the point-size of the fonts, since legible diacritics in polytonic Greek (like footnote reference numbers) may require extra height and one must avoid having them cut off. So the paragraph styles initially had “at least” settings, but these needed to be changed to “exactly” settings (the basic text style of our books is 10pt Minion Pro with 12.5pt line spacing).

I was working with Word 2011 because I prefer its interface to that of Word 2016 and because Word 2016 had been crashing too much for me (actually just freezing up, not responding, necessitating a force-quit). The “exactly” setting seemed to work at first with Word 2011, but the pagination was not stable and the problem came back after a short time. I then started to work on the files in Word 2016 instead, and in this version the placement of the footnotes was both correct and stable. I was also pleased to find that one of the more recent monthly updatings of Word 2016 had apparently fixed whatever had been causing my crashes. So the biggest worry about using Word was eased.

Header and Footer Problems

In theory, it is easier to edit changing running heads in Word than in InDesign. In our design, within the body of the book, left-hand running heads (even-page header) have the page number flush left followed by the title of the book, while right-hand running heads (odd-page header) have the chapter title followed by the page number, flush right. The first page of a chapter has no running head (different first page applied to the section), but a footer with centered page number. The footer on other pages is blank. In the front and back matter, the left and right headers are the same (e.g. Preface, Bibliography), again with first page treated differently.

In actuality, a number of anomalies and annoyances arose in editing headers and footers.

(1) Several times after I added the page number (using the page number button on the toolbar) to a first page footer, the number inexplicably disappeared as soon as I closed the footer view and returned to the full page view with focus in the body of the page. This turned out to be because the Different First Page setting, previously checked by me, had become unchecked all by itself. The workaround is immediately to reopen the footer and once again check Different First Page.

(2) As the document grew larger as further chapters were added, there was an annoying behavior by which the focus jumped. That is, after double-clicking in the header on a particular page to open it and edit (or sometimes by using the menu command View Header and Footer, since double-clicking in a header seemed to work only intermittently), the header that was opened and in focus was often the header in an earlier section of the document and not the one you were trying to edit. It was of course possible, but unnecessarily time-wasting, to use the Next Header button several times until one was in the right section. Similarly, when closing a header to return to Print Layout view, the focus usually jumped several pages away from the place where I had been editing the header.

(3) More alarming still, the page numbers displayed when viewing Header and Footer and moving from one header to the next with the button in the toolbar were not the actual page numbers. At first I feared that the pagination of the document had somehow shifted radically, but this was not the case. Closing the Header and Footer view showed that the document pagination was unchanged, with the correct page numbers showing on each page. I have never seen an anomaly of this nature in any previous version of Word. Perhaps it results from the fact that there were 29 pages of front matter, numbered i-xxix, in the first sections of the document, before the Arabic number sequence started with 1 at the opening of Chapter 1. But because of all the jumping of focus just mentioned, I did not take the time to verify whether this was the cause.

(4) A few times the headers proved to be unstable or not really saved in their edited form. That is, when the document had been closed and then later reopened, some edits had been lost, or format changed. Once all the page numbers had become bold. Another time a spacing paragraph had been lost from even-page headers.

(5) At one one point, after copying the text from the next chapter file into the book document, I ended up with a section break that was not of the right type. I wanted Secton Break (new page) but it was Section Break (new right page). In older versions of Word, if my memory is correct, it was easy to change the kind of section break by clicking on the marking in Draft view. Now one needs to open a dialog to do so. My book document started from a Lulu template, and that contained some sections I did not need. I found that deleting an unwanted Section Break often had the unwanted consequence of changing the type of the previous section.

(6) In the last sections of the book, comprising the indexes added at the very last stage of work in Word, a serious problem arose. An index might need two pages, the first being treated as a different first page, and the other as an even or odd page depending on where the first page fell. When shifting to the Header and Footer view, the page numbers changed, as indicated above, and in one case what had been the odd second page of the section was displayed as if it were an even second page with an even-page header. It seemed to be impossible to edit the odd-page header for this section, which was the one that actually displayed (with correct page number) when one returned to Print Layout view. The workaround was to add a blank page at the end of this index by entering a lot of returns or a page break, shift to Header and Footer view, edit the desired header (since there was now an additional page when the page display was incorrect, so one could see both odd and even pages of the section as well as the first page), return to Print Layout view, and finally delete all those extra returns or page break to eliminate the blank page.

Producing the PDF

The design of our series is for a standard 6×9 (inches) print book. Producing a print-ready PDF from InDesign was very simple: use the Export command and apply the Lulu.joboptions. The only issue was that I never found a way to prevent the printing of trimlines all around the 6×9 rectangle, which sometimes showed up in printing because of imprecise trimming. I assumed the trimlines were defined in the Lulu.joboptions settings supplie for InDesign (I now think I could perhaps I have found the setting by using Adobe Distiller).

To produce a comparable print-ready PDF from Word, one uses the settings in a document called Lulu.joboptions, downloaded from the Lulu help page about creating the PDF from Word. After one double-clicks on this file to install, the Adobe Distiller window will open up. If you do no more than this, the PDF produced with these settings will be rejected, because it will have the dimensions of US letter paper (8.5×11 inches). The Lulu help document doesn’t mention this issue, but there are posts on the user forum that indicate what step is the missing if you are doing a 6×9 book. You must revise the joboptions document by double-clicking to open in Adobe Distiller. If you select the Lulu settings at the top of the window in the dropdown menu for Default settings, you will find at the bottom of the screen width and height dimensions. For me, these initially came up in points, but you can change the units to inches. In inches, the dimensions showed 8.5000 by 11.0000 in the downloaded version. You can change these numbers and save, but I found it more helpful instead to use Save as… and rename the file as Lulu6x9.joboptions and then change the dimensions to 6.0000 by 9.0000 and save. In this way it is really clear what options you are selecting.

Back in Word, in the Mac Print dialog, use the PDF dropdown in the lower left to select Save as Adobe PDF. After some processing, a small dialog will open, and this is where you select the Lulu6x9 settings in the dropdown for Adobe PDF Settings. You might think that since your Word document format is for a 6×9 page and the print settings are for a 6×9 page, you would get a 6×9 PDF, and if you printed out the PDF, say with Preview, you could print at actual size centered on 8.5×11 paper or choose to scale it to fit (which is extremely helpful for proofreading; I always did that with the PDFs produced from InDesign, which always came out as 6×9 without any fiddling). But no, by default Word still uses your usual Page Setup for 8.5×11 paper, and the PDF will be 8.5×11 and thus will be rejected when uploaded to Lulu for production of a 6×9 book. I spent a couple of uncomfortable hours tinkering and getting into unintended difficulties before I realized the solution, starting to fear that all the time spent formatting the book in Word might be for naught. Eventually I did use Page Setup in Word to establish a custom size of 6×9. Unfortunately, Word makes the ridiculous choice in the Page Setup dialog of making Apply to this Section the default setting. The default should obviously be Apply to Whole Document, leaving it to a user in the rare situation of using different dimensions for different sections of the same document to change the setting to Apply to this Section. Since I had opened the document to the first page and set the custom size there, the 6×9 setting covered only the first page (the half-title) and all the rest of the book was still 8.5×11 in the PDF. Finally, I noticed the Apply to setting and made the custom size apply to the whole document. The PDF generated was now correctly sized and accepted by Lulu.

Font Anomalies

In our books the Table of Contents is done manually for reasons of style. At nearly the final stage of preparation, when the page numbers for the Bibliography and Indexes were known, I added these lines to the TOC. Under our style, these elements have their names in the TOC in italics, but the flush-right page number is not italic, so that is matches the others above it. When first entered, the pages numbers on those lines were in italics because of the paragraph style. A weird anomaly arose when I selected the page number and changed them from italics to regular style: the figures suddenly became smaller and raised and where changed (224 became 113!); restoring italics returned the figures to the correct ones. After a few other failed attempts to work around this issue, I succeeded by changing the font of the numbers to Cambria, changing from italics to regular, and then changing the font back to Minion Pro. With this sequence of actions each page number remained as intended and maintained the right size and position.

Other Gripes

I append here some miscellaneous features of Word 2016 that I have found particularly weak or disappointing in the process of formatting a scholarly book.

(1) The treatment of styles in Word 2016 is far from optimal for the user. If you have a lot of styles in use, as in this book, the large icons of the Quick Styles view are an obstacle to efficiency, and even the layout of the Styles Pane is inconvenient because of the size of each item. When you first open the Styles Pane or when you modify a style to create a new one tailored to your own project, the program is incredibly sluggish in updating the list in the Styles Pane, and the order in which the items are listed is not alphabetic. Far more efficient was the interface found in Word 5, Word 6, and some other versions from earlier in this millennium: with the customizable toolbar, one could have the font field, the font-size field, and the styles field all conveniently present in one place, taking up minimal room, and all the styles were easily accessible for a dropdown menu (in which the font was small enough to make the list easy to scan or scroll. As I recall, it was also easy to reapply a style to paragraph (that is, remove overrides) because choosing that style on a paragraph already associated with it brought as the default choice Reapply Style. The similar function now in Word 2016 has the default as Redefine Style based on current selection, which can be a very radical action and ought to be deliberately chosen, not presented as a default.

(2) I regularly use the Advanced Find and Replace dialog. This used to have a checkbox to indicate that you wanted the search to include footnotes (or exclude them). Now it has no such box, and using Search Whole Document does not in fact in every case search everything. I never could figure out why some searches proceeded to the footnotes and others did not, and eventually I just got used to separately clicking in a footnote and repeating the search to make sure I did not miss anything. Searching for a specific font also behaved imperfectly, and searching for Greek characters to ensure that the Greek was all in the chosen font similarly failed to locate all instances. And the lack of searching by general expressions (grep) is a major handicap in comparison to working with InDesign.

(3) It ought to be easier to get to the formatting of footnotes and the footnote separators. Simply choosing View Footnotes is not sufficient. You have to be in Draft view for the Footnotes to appear in a window that has the dropdown menu giving access to the separators. Again, I believe this was handled better in Word 5 and 6 and maybe some other versions.

(4) It seemed somewhat unpredictable when the application of a book-tailored style to imported paragraphs would cause the loss of italics and/or the loss of the difference of font for the Greek. The most successful way I found to avoid unwanted losses like these was to click to place the insertion point within an English word in regular style font and then apply the new paragraph style. This means one needs to do this separately for each paragraph and not simply select a range of many paragraphs and apply the style once to all. Though inconvenient, this process is not much different from trying to avoid or undo such losses when applying styles in InDesign to paragraphs imported from Word.

(5) If you want to check the book by paging through with a view of a two-page spread, you can get a two-page spread by making the window large enough and adjusting the zoom percentage to fit two pages side by side. But Word doesn’t have a way to start with a single right-hand page so that the spreads show the facing even and odd pages as they would be in a printed and bound book.

The Upshot for Producing a Complex Scholarly Printed Book from Word 2016

It was indeed possible to work around all annoyances and obstacles and format the complex book, full of Greek passages and a large number of styles, in Word 2106. The process took about the same time as using InDesign. It was stretched out this time by the process of creating the needed styles in Word (as it had been stretched out the first time I worked in InDesign and created the needed styles there), but now those styles can be used for future books, if they are given final formatting in Word. At least some of the process could be turned over to an assistant with less experience, and that assistant would not need to learn InDesign (or to get access to that expensive software).

Temporary Download Problems Solved

In late October, eScholarship went live with a revised platform infrastructure. Initially there were some problems with all downloading of California Classical Studies titles, but within a few days the only problem remaining was the downloading of Supplemental Material. Thus the open-access supplemental PDF of images and maps for Joey Williams’ book was temporarily blocked from downloading. The correct functionality was restored on December 6.

This problem also affected the book of Mark Griffith, for which a special reduced PDF download had to be arranged at the end of the normal embargo period because of problems with permission for reprinting content that had appeared elsewhere (see previous post). The allowable download is now available, but under the Supplemental Material tab rather than through the usual Download PDF button.

Mastronarde’s Studies on Scholia to Euripides Published

The sixth volume of the series has been published. It is Donald J. Mastronarde, Preliminary Studies on the Scholia to Euripides.

As usual the print-on-demand paperback is available at our own sales page and will be available in a few weeks from various online retailers. A version in ePub format will probably be available in the near future. The entire book can be read in open-access page view now, while the book itself (as PDF) will be downloadable after 24 months.

For more about the book and for links to read it or buy it, see our Catalog page.

Update December 19, 2017: the ePub format is now available.

End of Download Embargo for Greek Satyr Play Delayed

The book Greek Satyr Plays: Five Studies, by Mark Griffith, contains some material for which the original publisher granted permission for open-access page view but not for inclusion in the free PDF download. This restriction necessitates special handling of the download, which was originally set to be removed from embargo on September 2, 2017.

The eScholarship site is currently in the process of a major upgrade of its software infrastructure. Therefore, it is unfortunately necessary to postpone the removal of the embargo for about two months, to November 2017, in order to develop the special handling mechanism just once, for the new system.

CCS regrets the inconvenience to users and the author, as well as the fact that the original publisher of these items did not accommodate the author’s request in the same way the the other publishers of his work did.

[This problem was fixed on December 6, 2017. But the allowable download must be accessed through the Supplemental Material tab rather than the usual Download button, which will still indicate an embargo.]

Williams’ Archaeology of Roman Surveillance published

The fifth work in the series California Classical Studies has been published. It is Joey Williams, The Archaeology of Roman Surveillance in the Central Alentejo, Portugal.

Williams’ book is both the first on an archaeological topic and the first to make use of supplementary material available only on the web, in this case the Supplement of Figures, including maps, plans, photographs, drawings, and viewshed-analysis images from excavations of the watchtower at Caladinho, Portugal, as well as from survey of similar structures in the same region of central Portugal.

As usual the print-on-demand paperback is available at our own sales page and will be available in a few weeks from various online retailers. A version in ePub format will also be available almost immediately at our site and from others within two months. The entire text can be read in open-access page view now, and the Supplement PDF is freely downloadable, while the book itself will be downloadable after 24 months.

For more about the book and for links to read it or buy it, see our Catalog page.

Kotwick’s Alexander of Aphrodisias Published


We are pleased to announce the availability of Number 4 in the series California Classical Studies: Mirjam E. Kotwick, Alexander of Aphrodisias and the Text of Aristotle’s Metaphysics.

Alexander of Aphrodisias’s commentary (about AD 200) is the earliest extant commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics, and it is the most valuable indirect witness to the Metaphysics text and its transmission. Mirjam Kotwick’s study is a systematic investigation into the version of the Metaphysics that Alexander used when writing his commentary, and into the various ways his text, his commentary, and the texts transmitted through our manuscripts relate to one another. Through a careful analysis of lemmata, quotations, and Alexander’s discussion of Aristotle’s argument Kotwick shows how to uncover and partly reconstruct a Metaphysics version from the second century AD. Kotwick then uses this version for improving the text that came down to us by the direct manuscript tradition and for finding solutions to some of the puzzles in this tradition. Through a side-by-side examination of Alexander’s text, his interpretation of Aristotle’s thought, and the directly transmitted versions of the Metaphysics, Kotwick reveals how Alexander’s commentary may have influenced the text of our manuscripts at different stages of the transmission process. This study is the first book-length examination of a commentary as a witness to an ancient philosophical text. This blend of textual criticism and philosophical analysis both expands on existing methodologies in classical scholarship and develops new ones.

Mirjam E. Kotwick recently received her PhD in Greek Philology from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany. After being a DAAD Postdoctoral Visiting Scholar in the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Michigan, she is currently the Onassis Lecturer in Ancient Greek Thought and Language at the New School for Social Research in New York.

Kotwick’s monograph was selected by the Editorial Board as the winner of the 2014 CCS competition to identify distinguished work by junior scholars.

Open-access page view of her book is now available at this link.

The Print On Demand paperback is for sale now at this link. It will soon be available through other major bookselling channels.

Addendum March 20: an epub version has been completed and it for sale at Lulu.com at this link and will be available through other eBook channels after some weeks.


Book Production with InDesign by “Non-Professionals”

The first books in the California Classical Studies series have been composed with Adobe InDesign (initially the CS6 version, and subsequently with the Creative Cloud 2014 and 2015 versions). The work has been carried out by me and by the editorial assistant Anna Pisarello. Neither of us had previous experience. We used a tutorial book to learn the basics and later solved particular problems by using online help or online searches, with some of the answers being found on Adobe’s own site and others elsewhere. We also began with some templates provided to us by Eric Schmidt of the University of California Press.

For the first two books we did not have computer files but had to begin with scanning of the printed books from 1991 (Kurke) and 1980 (Courtney). In lieu of copy editing, these works required very careful proofreading and manipulation of the files to compensate for the errors of the OCR. OCR of course does not work at all reliably for Greek, and the most efficient course was to hire a graduate student to reenter the Greek in Kurke as Unicode. OCR errors were a particularly acute problem with Courtney because of the number of abbreviations used, the frequent use of italics, and the presence of various foreign languages in this type of commentary. Scanned files also have to be checked carefully to ensure that the font is uniform and that the fontsize is consistent and the character spacing normal, because any deviations will carry over when imported. Eventually we had Word files ready for import into InDesign. Fortunately, we do not foresee doing more reprints of this kind that depend on OCR.

Importing into InDesign was not always straightforward. Sometimes the command that was supposed to add sufficient extra pages for the overset text simply did not work. Sometimes when we tried to use an existing chapter as a template for the next one, the imported text was entirely in a superscript style. After import, when adjusting paragraph styles, it was also easy to end up losing all of the italics or all the non-footnote superscripts (Courtney’s book, in particular, contained many abbreviated bibliographic references with superscript number indicating which edition). With the third book, the footnote callouts also lost their superscript status and it turned out to be faster to fix them manually than to figure out a workaround. We’re still not sure how to prevent such losses of format. For one chapter, the imported text flowed onto the left page of each spread and skipped all the right pages, and repeated attempts to get around this failed (eventually this chapter was simply laid out as a continuation of the previous chapter’s file). For the next volume we now have a blank template document with the particular set of master pages and paragraph styles and character styles we actually use, and importing ought to be more reliable.

One cause for great relief was the successful importing of automatic footnotes from Word into InDesign, since scholarly books contain a lot of footnotes, and it is our mission not to be like the presses that are refusing to use footnotes, either insisting on endnotes only or even declaring there will be no footnotes at all. We did encounter a problem (inconsistently) with the footnotes not following the established style (which had a nested character style determining the size of the superscript footnote number and the small extra space between it and the first character of the footnote). And the setting for having no separator line for footnotes, but only a line of a set length and weight for continuation footnotes, did not seem to be working correctly in the Griffith files (InDesign CC 2014 and 2015). At the last minute before creating a final PDF, this problem went away when the setting for the separator was first turned on in all the chapter files and then turned off again.

We needed to have old style numbers in some places but lining numbers in others (such as footnote numbers), and it took some time to discover that the default figure style for numbers is not a general setting, but depends on the font itself. We are using Abobe Minion Pro, in which the old style form seems to be the default. The first three books have used Minion Pro for the Greek as well, since there has so far been little call for complex combinations that are not present in commercial fonts. But this font will not be adequate if dotted letters are needed or vowels with macron plus diacritic, or if metrical symbols are required. For the Greek itself, the designers of Minion Pro have not created a sufficient left side bearing for capital vowels with diacritics to the left of the capital, and one needs to provide some extra space manually before such a word. The middle dot (Greek colon) in Minion Pro seems to me unacceptably low, and we use a character style to raise it a few points so that it rises closer to the x-height of the lowercase characters.

InDesign has very powerful search and replace capabilities, and it is easy to get suggestions online for GREP expressions to do important tasks (like changing hyphens to endashes between page numbers in references). A couple of surprising weaknesses emerged, however. First, when searching by format, you cannot specify a font without also specifying a style (regular, bold, italic, etc.), but there are certainly purposes for which it would be more efficient to be able to find in a single search the font in any style. Second, when searching through “all documents” in a book, InDesign does not keep track very well of where you first began. That is, if you are doing a search in which for a certain number of the hits you will want to make a change, after you make a change and return to search further, InDesign treats that as a new beginning within that file, and to be sure to review all instances you will end up re-reviewing many you have already checked. Third, we discovered that the text entered on a path (there were some vertical captions in the Griffith volume) is ignored when you search (the text of horizontal captions is included in the search).

In producing the two-column indexes, it was very easy with the first two books to select the paragraphs involved and select the setting Split 2 in the toolbar. It was also then very easy when moving to the ePub version to select the same paragraphs and remove the Split 2 setting. Inexplicably, when trying to do the same in CC 2014 and 2015 versions for the Griffith book, the command had become buggy: the paragraphs were indeed separated into two columns, but the flow of the paragraphs was horizontal rather than vertical! To do a two-column layout one had to manually create separate text boxes on each new page and flow the overset text from one column to the next.

When multiple documents are combined into an InDesign book, the pagination works smoothly. If there is a single running head for a document (= one chapter), then entering this once on the chapter page master and applying designated paragraph styles for the left and right headers is simple. If you have a chapter or document with more than one section, however, and need to change, e.g., the righthand header, this is not always as easy as it should be. In MS Word one would use sections and change the header for the new section if necessary: that is a good method, although in reality if you use too many sections Word’s implementation becomes buggy. There is a way to mark new sections in InDesign, but so far doing this has not worked for us as a way to deal with changing running heads. In InDesign if you have consistent section titles that can serve as running heads, one can use a variable and paragraph styles to automate the change of running head, but one may not have titles that lend themselves to this use.

The cover design was produced by a professional, Nicole Hayward, who provided careful instructions on how to resize the width of the whole cover once the width of the spine of a book had been established. She had advised using the Document setup… command to enter the new dimension. This method always caused a crash. There is a workaround that does not crash: there is a Page tool in the tool strip at left (just below the two selection tools at top). After selecting that tool and after making sure the upper left corner is selected as reference point next to the dimensions fields, you can enter the appropriate width dimension there.

InDesign is very powerful, but also daunting in its complexity. It would certainly help to be using it continuously rather than at intervals, since it is easy to forget where the desired command is hidden among the plethora of toolbars, palettes, and menus. It is disappointing, however, to find that a program that has been under development for this many years (and that commands such a high price) contains serious bugs that confuse the user and slow down work. But it is an unfortunate fact of modern software that upgrades are rarely unmixed blessings, between the removal of familiar features, failure to fix all old bugs, and introduction of new features that are not quite polished or reliable.

Greek Satyr Play by Mark Griffith now available

CCS is pleased to announce the publication on August 23, 2015, of Mark Griffith, Greek Satyr Play: Five Studies. The POD paperback, ISBN 9781939926043, is available now for $29.95 at this link, and should be available through other channels by late September. An ePub version should be for sale shortly. [Update: the ePub version is now for sale for $14.95 at this link and should be available through other channels in about 8 weeks.]

Like all CCS volumes, Greek Satyr Play is immediately available for open-access page view at eScholarship.org.

With a new introduction and some revisions, these five essays on Classical Greek satyr plays, originally published in various venues between 2002 and 2010, suggest new critical approaches to this important dramatic genre and identify previously neglected dimensions and dynamics within their original Athenian context. Griffith shows that satyr plays, alongside the ludicrous and irresponsible—but harmless—antics of their chorus, presented their audiences with culturally sophisticated narratives of romance, escapist adventure, and musical-choreographic exuberance, amounting to a “parallel universe” to that of the accompanying tragedies in the City Dionysia festival. The class oppositions between heroic/divine characters and the rest (choruses, messengers, servants, etc.) that are so integral to Athenian tragedy are shown to be present also, in exaggerated form, in satyr drama, with the satyr chorus occupying a role that also inevitably recalled for the Athenian audiences their own (often foreign-born) slaves. Meanwhile the familiar main characters of tragedy (Heracles, Danae and Perseus, Hermes and Apollo, Achilles, Odysseus, etc.) are re-deployed in an engaging milieu of erotic encounters, miraculous discoveries, guaranteed happy endings, marriages, and painless release from suffering for all—both for the well-behaved heroes and also for the low-life, playful satyrs (the “slaves of Dionysus”). In their fusion of adventure and romance, fantasy and naïveté, Aphrodite and Dionysus, Athenian satyr plays thus anticipate in many respects, Griffith suggests, the later developments of Greek pastoral and prose romance.

Distinguished Work by a Junior Scholar: Mirjam Kotwick on Alexander of Aphrodisias

Mirjam Kotwick’s study Alexander of Aphrodisias and the Text of Aristotle’s Metaphysics has been designated the winner of the CCS competition to identify distinguished work by junior scholars. The competition was announced in December 2013 and was open to all submissions by junior scholars made during the calendar year 2014. The award of this designation is based on the reports of external referees and the judgment of the CCS Editorial Board.

Kotwick’s book is an expanded and updated English version of her Munich dissertation completed  early in 2014 under the direction of Professor Oliver Primavesi. Through an intensive study of lemmata, quotations, and interpretations in Alexander’s commentary, Kotwick offers a new appraisal of the ancient tradition of the Metaphysics, demonstrating what uses can be made of Alexander’s commentary to learn about that tradition, and how the commentary may have influenced the tradition of the philosophical text itself.

Alexander of Aphrodisias and the Text of Aristotle’s Metaphysics will be published in print-on-demand paperback and online open access late in 2015 as No. 4 in the series California Classical Studies.