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Bibliographies are hard!

In a time when you can quickly generate massive lists of references on hundreds of platforms, you would think generating a bibliography of instruction manuals for Photoshop would be easy!

Not so…

A while back, I thought it might be useful to track down an authoritative list of all the third-party instruction manuals and tutorials for Photoshop published since its launch. The focus of this research was on Photoshop which meant we excluded similar application software like Corel DRAW as well as the other software of the Adobe Creative Suite like Illustrator, InDesign, AfterEfects and Premiere. The manuals containing both Photoshop and the other software mentioned above were excluded too. The only publications considered were those specifcally and solely on Photoshop. Some software was included in as much they are released as part of Photoshop itself or directly related to it: Photoshop Lightroom, Photoshop Elements, Image Ready and Camera Raw. This second group was classified in a separate catalogue titled “Related”. We mostly used WorldCat but to find the references with comparisons to other online databases such as Outlook Online (ELN).

Pretty simple, right?

One of the main difficulties we encountered was the sheer amount of slight variations on different titles (ex. re-editions like second, third, gold, pro, etc.) It was also surprising to see how often the same title appeared with different metadata. This might not come as a shock to researchers who have done extensive bibliographic investigations but it sure as hell came as a surprise to me. You would think such a resent topic would be so complicated.

We did find a few interesting things in the data that we collected which I will put up in future posts but I’d be interested to find out how others have dealt with this challenge.

A big thanks goes out to Artemisa Bega who was the RA on this bibliographic project!

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