A Dream + 3 Questions = The Goal

Fran Adams

To realize a Digital Philatelic Study (DPS) you’ll need a dream and a few questions that result in a goal to achieve that dream.

A Dream

This part can be the most fun and picking your subject carefully will allow you to build your study with less effort. Focus on building a clear-cut DPS; your readers will thank you for it. Unless you’re a seasoned veteran, don’t start with the ‘History of the Egyptian Mail Systems’ or ‘Life on Earth’.

Pick a more modest and manageable subject like the ‘Earliest Recorded Pharaonic Letter on Watermarked Papyrus‘ or ‘Piltdown Man’. In both cases, we’re talking about a limited number of items. A single stamp and souvenir sheet depict Piltdown man for instance as an extreme example.

A clearly definable subject is best.

A clearly definable subject is best.

Three Questions

The next step in defining your goal may be accomplished by answering three questions.

  1. Why are you producing the DPS?
    Examples: Personal benefit, benefit of others or simply for fun.
  2. What will your DPS be used for?
    Examples: Information distribution, a pocket reference or a competitive literature entry.
  3. What are you not willing to compromise in your DPS?
    Examples: Quality of information, production timeline or document size.

The Goal

Documenting your goal is a little more difficult than thinking about it. Not difficult from a technical point of view, but difficult from a motivational point of view. Many of us are lazy to some degree, believing we can remember everything we envision and later sadly realizing we’re not further along with the project for lack of this discipline.

So, how do you document your goal?

I suggest using a small notebook. Make legible and coherent notes in it as you daydream your project together. Don’t worry about the sequence or completeness of your ideas at this point. The main thing is to write down your thoughts and ideas – you will sort it all out later.

Take a week.

Think about the study you want to do for only one hour per day that week and write down ideas as they come along. One hour – then detach yourself.

Doing such a time sensitive exercise will keep your mind fresh for that important hour. No fiddling with your notes and remember the most important point – no idea is too dumb – just write, write, write.

A DPS is not a digital exhibit. Open your thoughts process and allow yourself freedom to include ideas, information or materials not normally seen in a paper-based exhibit limited to 16 pages per frame. Now is not the time to be shy.

Notes may include philatelic material, run-of-the-mill points normally presented for the area, as well as more off-beat items such as: artwork and illustrations (printing presses, etc.), information from references, entire articles related to the subject (with permission of the authors), tidbits of knowledge from a friend, one or two colors associated with the subject, ideas on how you wish to present your creation, a theory you have or a question that needs an answer.

This last one can get you further than you might believe.

Limit this phase to seven days as you’ll get nearly 90% of your ideas during this time. The longer the period, the less productive it is nearer the end. End of article marker.

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