This photo occupies pride of place at BluePencil. It is a constant reminder of where we came from.
Try spotting us in this photo, taken when our first boss Herbert L Thompson retired!
The Information Services division at ICRISAT was a great place to learn from perfectionist editors, in a highly competitive atmosphere, with every small mistake we made becoming a matter of great shame. Our grooming as editors happened here, and we learnt something about the creation of books and the publishing process from each of the people in the photo. We also had the opportunity to interact with scientists who came from all over the world.
In the pre-computer days of the 1980s, editors worked with pencils on printouts, and scientists answered queries manually – pen on paper! Those were also the pre-DTP days, and we saw books being laid out manually – pages were ‘built’ with typeset galleys physically cut and pasted, corrections were made with surgical precision, and after the mockup was good in all respects, the final pages would be sent to the camera room.
With the advent of desk top publishing, we saw the skilled artists leave their beautiful, large art tables and sit at computers, somewhat distraught and perplexed. We also saw the beginnings of the internet, and the many possibilities it began to unroll before us. Little did we then realize that our way of working would change forever!