English Version

Bers Andrei
, ..., baehrs@iis.nsk.su

Electron Edition Preparations

Everything began when new photo forms of original language description were presented for publication - “Reconsidered information about ALGOL 68”. It allowed reproducing English part without any mistakes but using the same types (six different inscriptions for three garnitures) in Russian part.

It took a lot of time to prepare quality bilingual edition in Russian and English languages with passage corresponding. It was a very difficult task. We had a real example of hard hand usage of “automation photo type setting system”

Before going on it is necessary to find out the computer situation of that time in general. A series production of EC computer began, mostly its previous models EC-1020 and EC-1030 and computers CM were only planned. Practically everywhere computers were used in mode of batch problem processing and about collective access or a dialogue with a computer specialists just talked. Only very few people saw a display. Input/output devices were punched cards and perforated tapes, printing was through teletypes with confined set of symbols , operating memory was little (32 -128 Kb), changeable magnetic disks – 7.5 Mb, all external memory was on magnetic tapes. Also we can remember that microprocessor Intel-8080 was built in 1974, first personal computer in 1976 and IBM PC – in 1981.

With the getting experience in 1976 a conception of “Electron Edition Preparations” appeared. There were two projects: Automotive Preparation of Phototypesetting Editions System (Sapphire 1976-79) for Moscow typography; Editing, Controlling, Information Base, and Setting (Ruby1979-89) for the Pravda newspaper.

All materials are available at the address: http://ershov.iis.nsk.su/russian/ in archives of Ershov in the part of Program projects and their printing variants are published in the digest “Novosibirsk School of Programming” – Novosibirsk, 2004. But it was only an experimental exploitation

Today these materials demonstrate the wish to give editors an opportunity to work in good conditions and even on those computers that they had.

Of course the works began with system analyses of the situation in the polygraph field. For Sapphire it was a “Draft project” and for Ruby – “System analyses of industrial processes of newspaper Pravda”. This analysis was not only about kinds and structure objects or their processing procedures but the system of interconnections of different activities in the field.

Two additional and complemented theses were taken as initials:

-         any activity is fixed

-         any fulfillment of a program part in the correspondent operating surrounding with the computer is not only the model of the activity but is a concrete activity

With the advent of new computers of a new class that could do difficult tasks new conditions originated for constructive modeling, activity and behavior of subject studying cycles. For example, only computers managed to realize activity that was in the form of programs and other texts.

It is known two ways how to create many things look like each other

-         to create the first thing (original) and then do the same activity once again, and again… In this case the features of the copies are alike to the original one. – this way is called repetition

-         instead of creating a necessary thing let create something like additional (something opposite) - the original and then we will do repeatedly a more simple activity that will be called publication

Note that when we duplicate the copies are similar to each other and then we repeat many times something that we can provide instead of necessary thing, something else – a computer

A great investigation of I. Guttenberg – practically a useful way of book printing – was that he used duplicating in the process of publication and the texts were similar

- A chisel is engraved once instead of making similar matrixes

- A lot of types are made with using of one matrix

- One relief form is made – additional to the printed text type rage

Guttenberg took care of the following; he made the third original where he could add corrections. But in further using of his way to increase the rate of circulation – with using matrixes we get the original.

Only now after computers development we get a hypertext that allowed realizing a ‘life” text. Hypertext allows combining usual text and other forms of presenting (animation, sound, and picture). It provides the notion dividing in the real world where a copy looses the connection with the original. But the coping in the sign world it produce the original.

From the other hand using modern hypertext with the help of the Internet it is easy to preset on the site a part of a text that available in any place in the net using duplication of its presenting. Then any change in it will be chased with every addressing to it. The whole description of such activity will be difficult enough and its carrying out without mistakes can’t be imagined. Nevertheless it is really repeated every time when someone sees the part of the text that can be thousands of kilometers far from.

But there isn’t usually the discussion of semantics activity; that all language constructions including publications and programs are the essence of the sign system and placed in the sign world. In 1960 in the woks of Moscow methodology group it was shown that characteristics and connections of things are not similar to their image in the sign world and not their parallel reflections.

When fulfilling some activity once with a subject it is possible to provide a recording of a program order including accesses to the using objects - the “way” of fulfillment and its placement in the sign world. Some other subject can take it as a program for its activity and may be it can be fulfilled.

So, the recording can be taken as a text and the fulfillment of the following activity as a sense that was taken from the text by another subject. In other words the sense is created by a subject – reader.

As a subject should have at least one active element - memory – then the subject can’t be placed into the sign world. Carrying out the connections of objects from the sing world and things from the real world the subject does it using forms of a measuring activity as an accesses to the real world.

And there will be calls witch programs are in the inner world of the subject and in the sign world look like elementary. Similarly in the inner world of the subject there can be signs that correspond to some particular things that are beside. As one fulfillment happens in some particular surroundings the program itself we can take as a text. So, there are many senses that connected with a text-program.

In other words programs are new classes of texts that explained programmer’s “intervention” into the polygraph. We think that text is a liner order of signs that belong to the combination of visual and no visual alphabets. The text is visual. Today we call it tags in hypertexts and all symbols become no visual that are in the brackets, for witch we use “<” and “>”.

Features of a book as an object that must be saved in the systems of edition preparation with the help of a computer are the following:

-         Obligatory corresponding to the original – i.e. invariance of the text when changing

-         Similarity of edition elements fulfillment – it is the most important thing in the polygraph design of book editions and others

-         Edition quality – it corresponds to every book as it is not only a product but a work of art. The choice of format, print, illustrations, signs to them, way of design of notes, titles, date line is not only the care of an artist and an editor but all people who publish the book.

An important thing was the proving of a complex work with an edition for all steps with the help of a computer and text saving in the archives of a program and ways of polygraph edition fulfillment.

The system of “Electron Edition Preparations” must provide the realization of edition features, convenient using, and efficiency of the work with the following properties:

-         The edition preparation must begin with an input of the author text into the computer memory and finished with an output of all forms of all book type rages. So, we can provide the efficiency of programs using and the reliability of text processing

-         Computer edition processing must include correctness providing with he publisher and the editors notes realization (highlighting, formulas, illustrations, title organization and others)

-         Simple ways of correctness and text organization during the whole process of computer preparation to publication. The opportunity of putting correct substitutions into the text also must be provided that allows collecting improvements in the text during the computer preparations process of publication. Modern systems of programming provided the text with complexity and protection from unpremeditated interfering and damage; this will lead to the quality work level.

-         It is necessary to separate text edition from its polygraph organization; it gives an opportunity to work in a new way in comparison with present technology

-         Collecting common ways of organization and means of publication fulfillment; opportunity to use them with pointing to their titles; these rules and ways are in different methodology and textbooks of polygraph or taken from polygraph workers or editors. With collecting those into the system library will allow using ways and rules by general users when organizing some texts.

-         Correct separation of works that are carried out with the system between user and a computer; computers can’t understand the text and characters created by the author or editor. All decisions must be made by the person and then give instruction to the computer how to realize them; a computer can do routine work better than a person. There are two steps: making decision by a person and systematic, routine fulfillment of the decision with the computer.

-         It entails that all processes connected with text preparations of typing forms can be outside the printing office. In other words with computer using for the publication the earlier the text is put into the computer memory the more efficient and reliable will be the processing and the quicker will be the result.

-         But it demands the reorganization of the present production relationships. It is more difficult than to build an automation system of prototype preparations of the publication.

This all refers to the system Sapphire

Let name the properties of the Sapphire that didn’t have analogues at that time:

-         logical separation of the text had its polygraph information

-         a complex way of edition preparation based on the text input for the storage in the system and collecting in it all further preparations

-         page-proof of the text with previous text model preparation

-         collecting general ways of polygraph structure organization and edition elements with opportunity to use them in the future

The advantages of separation of the text and its polygraph variant in the system of automation edition preparation can be seen in all steps of preparation: editor step – lack of risk to damage the text when organizing it. Publication step – opportunity of a book republishing in other polygraph way without any reviewing works; typesetter step – as the connection between text elements and their polygraph variant is made beforehand then the information volume reduces.

Simplicity and economy of variant getting gives an opportunity for experiments to find the best way of text organization. It is checked by getting experimental pages through prototypes and compare variants before making a decision. In general the more difficult the text is the more profitable usage of automation systems for text processing. There is a big economy when typing formulas and tables.

Commands for text editing:

-         In the range with a condition fulfill the activity

The range is pointed with a pair of boarding addresses, condition can be given with a model, activity is chosen from a list of commands of the text editing.

The means of text editing is a language of a text blocks description.

Format directions (fords) were included into the means of editing that can be put into the text with the corresponding commands. With the help of the fords directing procedure challenge of text placement and its format can be fulfilled. The challenge of these procedures can be done through connections between elements of the text structure and the corresponding procedure.

Page –proof is made according to the model. For each type rage global information is collected. Processor is organized in the way to take away deflections in the range of minimum number of passages. Page-proof is ended with type rage formatting.

Ruby system of the “Pravda”

Boris A. Feldman asked A.P. Ershov to develop a better system than Sapphire for the “Pravda”.

Beforehand there was a big analysis of the whole activity of the industrial complex of “Pravda” from computing point of view. So, on 6, June 1977 A.A. Bers, G.D. Chinin, V.V. Grushezkij, U.A. Pervin, P.K. Leonov and F.R. Zang came to the complex for detail researching of production processes.

The developers understood that the complex was a great union that publishes practically all kinds of products. They spend five interesting days there meeting with professional of high class.

But it was necessary to find out the main thing for the activity and computers usage at the complex. It was “Pravda” issue - a newspaper with 24-hour cycle, problem of choosing materials, necessity in contacts through reader’s letters and others.

Besides other processes that connected with type-proof and correcting were studied properly.

So, “System analyses of production processes of newspaper “Pravda” editing” was recognized, the discussions were on different levels as scientific as official. The project “Ruby” was included into the list of main country projects.

“The general scheme of developing computer system “Ruby” of the Pravda confirmed in February, 1979 by editorial office as a basic paper became “Computer-Informative System Ruby”:

“It was a combination of program, organizational and hardware means that were included into editing preparations and paper issue. They were to provide complex, informative service for the editorial office, automation texts processing, loading informative funds, planning and producing the issue.

System Ruby was a combination of central computer with active peripheral terminals. The realization and setting of the system began with starting its peripheral part.

The project Ruby was based on domestic computers and foreign elements could be used only in special cases. Putting into operation of the system entailed a slow change to new work forms and taking into consideration the experience of newspaper production with maximum corresponding to the editorial office structure.

The main kinds of work were preparations of its texts with their intensive processing.

To realize the aims when developing informative computer system it was provided with the scheme:

The organization of two separate information flows system – informative- reference text funds and archive, the division of funds into central (control-reference departments) and local ones (for theme departments).

The storage of all materials (except letters) in the computer memory and their automatic processing by user order with the help of programs

Automotive typing of materials that are in the archive and its independent polygraph organization and including into the means system of user communication rules of adaptation

The general scheme of “the System Ruby structure of the “Pravda” included the following means for functional abilities of the system:

-         editing; it provides efficiency and reliable processing of materials with repeated correcting and service work with funds

-         controlling; it provided long-term and operating planning, preparations of future issues, loading of subunits of the editorial office

-         information bases; to provide informative reference service when preparing publishing materials and facts checking, creation central and local informative funds ant texts archives, post and the paper content analyses

-         typing; the producing storing text

That was the view of system developing in spring 1979 that was reflected in the “Scheme”- optimistic according to the functions and collaborators and conservative pessimistic according to the progress of engineering means.

The development of the project was in several directions as for peripheral as central computer complex. E.Z. Lubimskij was at the head of the second direction.

But everything depended on what computers were on the collaborators desks. After some unsuccessful efforts to give computer orders in the country the project got a new address – Blone, near Warsaw, the plant “MERA-Bone” that became a partner.




1.     A.A. Bers To the analyses of basic informatics notions //works digest of the conference devoted to A.A Lyapunov, Novosibirsk, 2001

2.     A.A. Bers Sapphire system structure//digest “New informatics problems”, Novosibirsk, 1979, pp. 6-32

3.     A.A. Bers, V.A. Detushev Automotive typing of text-blocks in the system sapphire// digest “New informatics problems”, Novosibirsk, 1979, pp. 33-46

4.     A.A. Bers Informative computer of Ruby system of The Pravda //digest “Applying methods of informatics”, Novosibirsk, 1980, pp. 55-78

5.     A.A. Bers Software of types// “Experimental informatics”, Novosibirsk, 1981, pp51-80

6.     A.A. Bers From Guttenberg to hypertext //digest the sixth Makushin readings, Novosibirsk, 2004, pp.43-52

7.     G.P. Schedrovizkij Selected works, M., 1995