Cookbook for fundraising

First week of my temp entry position; or more, counting the prep. Besides having to pester dozens of managers to problem-solve dozens of on-boarding and access issues, I am given two important projects unrelated to my post. The honour is mine. I am enthusiastic and willing to learn, but if I fall, I might just KO. Work reality on one hand; opportunity to impress and put in my empty portfolio if I succeed.

So—there is this cookbook that this huge public service entity wants me to make for fundraising for an important charity. No guidelines so far; it will come on Monday, I hope. The more constraints and guidelines the better I will be able to work on it… likely using the tools already available in the locked up corporate laptop. PowerPoint anyone? :man_shrugging: :woman_shrugging:

Any advice or assistance would be appreciated. (Digital) book makers: it is your time to wax poetic! I know a contingent of you are here, silent and waiting. General comments on the forum. Specific things in private please because I am a public servant now. Something about power, responsibility and imaginary spiders.

On-boarding issues are normal. :slight_smile:

So is doing things not in your job description.

To make this book, I assume you’ll get a lot of recipies and they’ll be a horrific mingle of word docs, PDFs, plain text and whatever else.

Your first job is to organize it all. Second job is to normalize all that data. Get it all into the same file format. Maybe that is plain text, maybe XML or HTML. Then you can select a layout tool and get to work. Please not power point.

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Just poking fun as usual.

The less faxes, scans and greasy papers the better. :upside_down_face:

Seriously though, MS Word, Publisher and PowerPoint were suggestions made to me. Even my brainstorming notes had to be on their internal page making tool where pasting into and copying from mucks up the formatting. I tried adding a MD object but couldn’t edit it afterwards. Again, I will see on Monday what I have to work with.

That said, your concise summary is what I have been thinking about. My first task is to draft a document briefly introducing the project and giving instructions on how to submit a recipe (for consideration).

It would be great if you could flesh out some of this. I would love to learn from you and other people because no matter how experienced I am (or not) I am just one person with limited perspective.

I guess, what @paperdigits is suggesting, is too keep data and layout as seperate as possible (and I would highly recommend that, as well). This way, it is relatively easy to collect and maintain the data and only worry about the layout when its time for it.

The exact data format is less important than its structure. There are lots of editors that can handle xml or html or even markdown - markdown having the advantage of an extremely easy syntax that submitters might already be familiar with - discuss works with markdown as well as wikipedia and the likes.

With this workflow, you only want to mark what kind of hierarchical element a specific piece of text is (that word “kind” was marked with an asterisk in markdown) and later define in the layout, how that element looks. So, you mark something as <chapter>Caption here</chapter> and later define a format for the chapter captions (font size, indentation, enumeration…) - most editors (and even MS Word) do even a chapter count and create a table of contents for you based on that structure.

xml/html works similar, with a slightly more complex structure, but with the advantage of being able to better nest and define elements - if you like, I can give you an example from my work - I exported some data to an xml which was then layouted in Adobe InDesign.

Also, this would easily be convertible to a website, if your boss has some crazy ideas after the book :wink:

Examples would be nice.

To frame the challenge more concisely: I have been given this task with no details except that it is a fundraising effort by the public service for a well-known charity. This responsibility has been trickled down from the very top. They want my unit’s in-house IT department to take care of it, though I am not a part of that. I am a diversity hire trainee who can absorb the risk involved with the task. In short, “This is what we want you to do (because everyone else declined. Why would anyone do that?) You are to realize this project. (We don’t know enough about computers or design to make it happen.[1])”

[1] I will have to assume low computer competency and take in what I am given. Internal email, the go-to communication method, will likely be what I will be receiving. All employees should at least be able to compose an email with attachments. What that means for me is, as the expression goes, RIP inbox. I hope they don’t fog up the regular stream of work related emails that I have to address everyday. I was hoping to make a submission form but my supervisors said no.

There is your best bit of control. Set the limits on what file type(s) are submitted. It would give you less headaches.

Head over to the Scribus and LibreOffice forums. There are others that had similar projects that can give you tips there.
Easiest tip out there, if this becomes a large project, break the layout into several parts. This will keep the project from overwhelming the resources on your computer. I’m assuming that images are to be included? Color space issues could crop up. try and keep it simple. Use styles as much as you can. this will make changing the look easier if need be.
Hunt around for layout examples on the net. you will learn lots from them.

Oh… one really big check to make… That the recipes are actually tested! You may want to require a sampling! :wink: (Free Grub!)

Even better if you can construct a form that people have to fill out to submit the recipe.

  1. Organize all the data of the recipe. The parts (minimum) that compose a recipe are: title, description, ingredient list, steps to perform. You probably want some metadata as well, such as what meal is it intended for, what region or type of food it is.

  2. Organize the files into a a repeatable structure

This is tasks such as making sure that everything is spelled correctly, that every recipe has a title, that the measurements all use the same units, and that the steps are discreet actions.

Also cookbooks are visual, so you’ll need photos, I’d bet. I can leave the processing of those to you.

Once you’ve amassed all your content, you can pull it into your page layout application (InDesign, Publisher, Scribus, LaTeX, etc.) and design the layout. Your choice of data formats should be determined by your page layout application. So if the layout application can work with HTML, then you use HTML.

Both of your thoughts line up with mine, which is a good sign.

I talked about quality control with my supervisors. Not much of a response. (What do you mean?) Makes sense: the grunt work will be mine to worry about. It is also pandemic season, so probably no free grub; even if there were, my allergies would not allow sampling on my part. Time is not on our side either.

Their reason being that I should let people send it the way they are most comfortable with doing because of low computer literacy and ease of submission on their part. I suppose I could ask again.

Data and layout separation: I was looking into that for Publisher this morning. Catalogue and ([e-]mail) merge are the operative terms here. The data and links would be documented in an Excel spreadsheet for Publisher to retrieve. My remark about PowerPoint was done in jest but someone seriously told me to consider that over Publisher. I did try to open the door for more possibilities by name dropping open-source and proprietary applications, but it seems we have settled on Publisher ATM.

This is all Step 2, after you optained the data. For Step 1: A form would be really helpful, as it would generate a structure that could easily be translated to xml or some other form of structured data (or could even be imported directly). If that is out of question (I can imagine it to be hard to negotiate since you are new in your job), I would design a form-like template in the email that you send to the submitters, so that the answers are as pre-structured as possible.

This is a snippet from an .xml I exported (I am administrator for the concert planning database at a concert hall, this is an export that is used for a printed programme of concerts, I simply filtered for some concerts):

<Kapitelname>Elbphilharmonie Sommer</Kapitelname> 
<Beschreibung>Hier würde der Text zur Reihe oder zum Festival stehen. Dies ist händisch ins xml eingetippt. Text bitte automatisch ziehen aus Evis -> 1. Vertriebskanal -> Beschreibung (www)</Beschreibung> 
<Konzertdaten>07.08.2019 | Elbphilharmonie Großer Saal</Konzertdaten> 
<Reihe>Elbphilharmonie / Laeiszhalle Jazz</Reihe> 
<Besetzung>Charles Lloyd / Julian Lage / Marvin Sewell / Reuben Rogers / Eric Harland</Besetzung> 
<Werktitel>»Kindred Spirits«</Werktitel> 
<Blackbox>&#8194;&#x2009;&#8194;&#x2009;&#8194;</Blackbox>&#8194;<Vertriebskanal>Elbphilharmonie Sommer / Elbphilharmonie / Laeiszhalle Jazz</Vertriebskanal> / <Veranstalter>HamburgMusik</Veranstalter> 
<Konzertdaten>08.08.2019 | Elbphilharmonie Großer Saal</Konzertdaten> 
<Besetzung>Father John Misty / Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt</Besetzung> 
<Blackbox>&#8194;&#x2009;&#8194;&#x2009;&#8194;</Blackbox>&#8194;<Vertriebskanal>Elbphilharmonie Sommer</Vertriebskanal> / <Veranstalter>FKP Scorpio</Veranstalter> 
<Konzertdaten>09.08.2019 | Elbphilharmonie Großer Saal</Konzertdaten> 
<Reihe>Elbphilharmonie / Laeiszhalle Jazz</Reihe> 
<Besetzung>Antonio Sánchez</Besetzung> 
<Werktitel>Birdman (Regie: Alejandro González Iñárritu, USA 2014)</Werktitel> 
<Werktitel>Originalmusik von Antonio Sánchez</Werktitel> 
<Blackbox>&#8194;&#x2009;&#8194;&#x2009;&#8194;</Blackbox>&#8194;<Vertriebskanal>Elbphilharmonie Sommer / Elbphilharmonie / Laeiszhalle Jazz</Vertriebskanal> / <Veranstalter>HamburgMusik</Veranstalter> 

… and this is what it looks like:

So, everything that is in spiky brackets <Kapitelname> is a tag that defines a class of a text block. How those classes are formatted is defined in the layout programme - i.e. <Kapitelname>Elbphilharmonie Sommer</Kapitelname> is the chapter caption in very large font size.
<Leerzeile></Leerzeile> defines an empty row with certain margins, whereas <LeerzeileMitLinie></LeerzeileMitLinie> defines an empty row with a black bar - and so on. The artist’s names are formatted in a fat font weight, the last row has a black box as indentation.
If you want to change the font size of the chapter captions, all you have to do is change the font size in the definition in your layout programme - and every text block defined as chapter caption is automatically changed :slight_smile:

I do not have InDesign, but in word, those definitions live here:

So, I could imagine a recipe having a name, a description, a use case, maybe a certain group of persons/events ist aimed at (charity gala vs. sponsored run, etc.), maybe some tag words - all those I would define as different text blocks - for a start you can even use the definitions in word to get a feeling for it.

Also, to help your inbox: the filtering and labeling options in Outlook are quite good nowadays.

All the best for your start!

From the OP, I thought the task was to create a cookbook of ideas for fundraising, so it might create ideas like “run a cake stall”, “rattle tins outside supermarkets” and so on. This might say something about clarity, or my own stupidity.

Anyhow, a few obvious questions:

What is to be the output? A physical book? And/or a website? A physical book needs printing, so what format does the printer like?

Who are the recipe ideas to come from? Are they all computer literate? How literate? How about a cook who uses recipes from her grandmother’s hand-written book? Can that cook send you scans from granny’s book?

Whatever the format the data comes in, it will need to be edited. There is no escape from this. Even the best-designed forms will contain errors, items under the wrong headings, spelling and other typo errors. Editing will be the major task.

Editing is often easiest when the input arrives as plain text. The editor needs to ensure everything is under the correct heading and so on, and this can be easiest by copying, pasting and correcting all the text from input to the standard format.

When sending invitations for submissions, you might include a sample recipe so cooks can see what is expected: a title, the standard headings, perhaps a photo, perhaps some background text about granny’s childhood, whatever. Many people understand better from examples than from instructions.

Good luck.

Thanks for the advice. Since yesterday, I have been in the process of doing mock ups and providing visual instructions that will hopefully be easy to follow. Publisher isn’t as powerful as the FLOSS or commercial software I know and so it takes much more time to do the same thing. I did use some GIMP, G’MIC and Inkscape on the side for image preparation and layout prototyping.

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