The following is an article from the first quarter 2023 Philatelic Literature Review (PLR). To read more articles like this, subscribe to the PLR today!
Happy new year to our Philatelic Literature Review readers! This issue marks one year since we made some (admittedly minor) changes to the layout of the PLR, switching “New Acquisitions” to digital-only, and making cosmetic changes to the cover and interior design. This new year doesn’t bring any major changes – however, we are planning big things for the PLR, many of which we hope to institute in late 2023 and 2024, and we want to make sure we get things right.
PLR subscribers will be receiving a special invitation to answer questions about the publication. We want to know more about you and why you subscribe to the PLR. What about this journal do you like, or use most often? Do you add the books we reference to your collection? Does the PLR help you conduct your own research? Why should other people subscribe? We will need your help to gather this information so we can continue to make decisions. Please keep an eye out for this survey invitation, which will be coming soon.
A few notes about handbooks
This issue includes an article from Michael Bloom, president of the International Society of Guatemala Collectors. Michael and the society underwent a fascinating project of bringing their major out-of-print and decades-old philatelic handbooks back from the dead. This massive undertaking required digitizing, expansion, and peer review of the original works into a new digital handbook, updates of which can be crowdsourced and added at any time. The result is something that to the best of my knowledge is unique to philately, especially at this scale. (And if it’s not unique, I hope the authors of other projects will come forward and tell us about them!)
The difficulties of this project aside, I was fascinating by Michael’s description of some of the decision-making process. If you and your society or chapter were to undertake an update and overhaul of your philatelic resources, what kind of challenges would you face? Surely a question of copyright would arise. Layout and design would be considerations. Updating images and information would be a concern. And the biggest question of all – who is going to put in the work?
This hobby relies, in many cases, on a few people doing a lot of work. Every year the APS gives out the Nicholas Carter awards, honoring local and national volunteers who thanklessly keep the lights on and gears turning smoothly. I suspect that I’m speaking to the choir at the moment, because I know the readership of this journal is especially active and invested in the health and future of philately. The Guatemala society’s handbook is just one example of a project for the betterment of philately. I’d love to hear what others are doing, whether it looks like this, or if your volunteering takes another form.
Over my tenure so far as the editor of the PLR, most of these articles have come from someone telling me about something cool they recently researched or published – then I ruthlessly coerce them into writing more about it for the PLR. This method has worked quite well, actually. There are, of course, a few folks who regularly write for the PLR, no coercion necessary (thank you!).
However, I still need your help. Are you working on something interesting and want to share about it? Tell me and allow me to ruthlessly coerce a PLR article out of you. I promise that it is for the greater good of our hobby.
Also, none of my questions in these columns are rhetorical. If they light a spark in you, or give you an idea you want to follow, please reach out to me. I’m available at [email protected] or (814) 933-3803 ext. 207.
There are several major literature competitions held every year. In this issue we publish the results of the Chicagopex literature exhibition. I’ll take some time here to plug one of the next upcoming competitions.
The Great American Stamp Show (GASS) will be held August 10-13, in Cleveland, Ohio. GASS is the largest annual stamp show held in the United States, and is jointly sponsored by the APS, American Topical Association, and American First Day Cover Society.
Authors and editors are invited to share their literature with the hobby’s biggest audience, and receive feedback from accredited experts. The 2023 GASS philatelic literature competition jury will be John Hotchner (chief judge), William DiPaolo and Hal Vogel.
What is eligible? Journals, books, monographs, catalogs (specialized and auction), regular columns or article series, websites, blogs, and other digital media can all be submitted. All media must have been published since January 1, 2021.
The deadline to submit a form is May 5. More information is available at www.stamps.org/GASS.