For several years, Lazy Bee Scripts has offered a catalogue of our stage works, downloadable from our web site as a PDF file. The biggest problem with this was that it was permanently out-of-date. We built it off-line, then uploaded it to the web site, and by the time we’d done the work, we’d published something else, so the catalogue was out-of-date.
So, we’ve finally bitten the bullet and done the programming necessary to generate the catalogue to order. Now any section of the catalogue (or the whole catalogue if you don’t mind over 550 pages of PDF) can be generated at the click of a button. As a result, it will be up-to-date at the time you click the button. The buttons in question are on the Catalogue page of the Lazy Bee Scripts web site. (It’s under the [Browse] menu, in case you need to find it again.) The catalogue breaks down into many sections, so there are lots of buttons.
Good, that’s one problem solved.
The next problem is that it doesn’t necessarily do what you want it to do. This is a general problem of catalogues: they are organised in a specific order. (In our case, we have multiple sections, with an alphabetical listing of the scripts in each section.) The normal way to solve this is an index. This is fine if you are looking for one and only one thing: an index will tell you the page number on which you can find it. However, if you are looking for a choice of things – say play scripts with a duration of 30 to 50 minutes for two women and one man – then the index would point you to pages 4.1.4, 4.3.1, 4.1.10, and so on (if, indeed a single index entry would do that).
On the Lazy Bee Scripts web site, we have a search engine that solves the indexing problem: you can enter all sorts of criteria (numbers of actors, length, style, set complexity, and so on) and it will return a list of suitable scripts. (Those plays for two women and one man, for example.) What’s more, it links to the text of every play, so you’re a click away from reading the script on-line.
That’s great for one person searching, but what if you have a group of people who want to choose scripts from a list? Some time ago, we added the ability to create a reading list from search results. The list can be shared, so multiple people can look at the contents (and add or remove scripts from the list). So far so good, but what if members of your reading committee don’t like sifting through potential plays on-line?
Okay, we’ve done it. We’ve added another button to the search results page. Any time you do a search on the web site, you are invited to [Save/Print as PDF]. Click that and you can save your search results (or your reading list) as a PDF and pass around printed copies to your heart’s content.
Effectively, you can build your own fully-customised, up-to-the-minute catalogue.
* There are many reasons for creating a catalogue. The image accompanying this blog post comes from Chichester Library where Twitter user @LozCream took the picture without any explanation.