Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How I earned my paycheck today

An author wants to use this particular photo for the book. He found the photo in a 1975 book published by us, but nobody in the office could find the permissions for the photo. The photo researcher found several other, newer, beautiful photos, but the author really wanted this one.

We need a high-resolution file of the photo and permission from its owner to use it (sometimes that includes paying a fee). The author could scan the photo from the book, but we still didn't know who owns it. The book page doesn't have any source information, and furthermore, only the author has the book. 

Step 1: Obtain book.
I can't check out books from Yale, but I can still get into their library. Unfortunately the library that houses this book is closed for renovations, so I had to ask a friend to ILL it. Busy though she is, she did. Check.

Step 2: Find source.
The references are listed by chapter, so I had to go through the ~15 sources for Chapter 4 to find which one originally published the photo. About 5 were available online as PDFs. About 5 more I had to find in print in the Yale library. The other 5 I couldn't get.

 Step 3: Google with desperation. 
I thought maybe if I could find a website for the author of one of those last papers, it might have that image, or something of use. Or at least tell us whether the owner is still alive and working. And for some reason, I decided to use more specific search terms, descriptive words from the original figure legend. And then, three screens down, I saw it. It was upside down, but I saw it, and it was beautiful. It was on a commercial stock photography site, and it included all the copyright and ordering information.

I don't want to give anything away about what's going to be in the book, but here are some similar images you might enjoy seeing.

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