February 27, 2006

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Elger Reborn?

image by Chuck Wood

I like books. And I like books about the Moon excessively, as the bookshelf next to me (with more than 200 volumes) attests. Unfortunately, about 90% of all the books and maps ever published about the Moon are out of print and not available to most people. So I am very pleased whenever an older lunar reference reappears as a CD or an online version. The recent release by Project Gutenberg of Thomas Gywn Elger’s 1895 classic, The Moon – A Full Description and Map of Its Principal Physical Features is cause for celebration. This book concisely describes each named lunar feature and provides a 38-page perspective on the Moon as it was understood 112 years ago. And Elger’s four quadrant maps are models of clarity and worthy of reissue even today. Unfortunately, Project Gutenberg did not digitize the maps and the downloadable text is very plain. To try to restore the feeling and usability of Elger’s classic I am in the process of changing the font, restoring the italics and other formatting, and digitizing the quadrant maps (from my copy of the original book). I am also converting to two columns and adding excerpts of Elger’s map on pages that describe the craters shown. Today’s LPOD is an example of the first page of crater descriptions from the first quadrant. This version contains the original text and maps, but arranged in ways that make both more useful and attractive. Now I am trying to decide what to do with this project. I have thought of finishing it in the format shown here and having it printed as a real book. My practical wife asked, Who would buy it? Another option is to put it on my website as a download so individuals can print their own versions or simply use it as an online text. What to do? Did I mention that I love books? My preference is to restore Elger as a bound book with a title on its spine, sitting proudly on a bookshelf when not open on a desk. I think it would probably cost $15-$20 to reprint it in the format illustrated here, if 250 or so copies could be sold. The most likely buyers are readers of LPOD. If you have any suggestions or interest, please leave a comment in the form below. Thanks!

Chuck Wood

Technical Details:
Project Gutenberg books can be used in any way (including selling them!) according to the Project Gutenberg website.
Related Links:
Rükl chart 88
A Quadrant of Elger

Yesterday's LPOD: Peaks, Swells and Ridges

Tomorrow's LPOD: Hidden Maria


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