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Book with all WHS

 
 
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Author Solivagant
Partaker
#16 | Posted: 26 Oct 2009 15:41 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Hi Mark,
Well thanks for identifying yourself and taking our/my criticisms in good part - you (almost) make me feel bad for criticising the book!

However, I can't buy the suggestion that "lack of space" prevented the inclusion of photos of all (or at least considerably more of) the sites. An Amazon.com review makes the valid point that full pages have been provided of photos of sites which everyone knows and can see photos of anywhere whilst others which really need a photo within a book which is supposed to be about providing information about ALL WHS are missing one - he cites The Royal Palaces of Abomey which I agree is a good example, being an amazing place which very few people know about/will have seen and which your publication really should have taken the opportunity to provide a photo of. Many of the full/two third page photos could have been turned into halfpagers to provide space for photos of the missing (and for some reason you used up 1.5 pages on Al Hijr as well) - the very average full page photo of Bwindi for instance could have been any tropical/equatorial forest and adds little and I could cite many others. But I still suspect the lack of readily available photos from agencies as being a significant factor for the gaps - and possibly an unwillingness to do the research and chasing around to get such photos! And how on earth did you finish up using such poor agency photos as that one of the "Socotra Osprey" which adds absolutely nothing to anyone's knowledge about what the Socotra site looks like, even if there had been such a species of bird! Surely with all the resources and leverage of UNESCO behind you it wasn't necessary to scrape the barrel for such obscure and dubious photographic sources! Not that Mr Dupret and his UNESCO supported "world-heritagetour.org" was a great deal better - the photo of Sangiran for instance on page 503 is hardly a great example of the photographer's art. If some sites had to lack a photo then ones like this where nothing of any real use could be shown photographically should have been the ones to "give".

Author Mark
Partaker
#17 | Posted: 27 Oct 2009 08:43 | Edited by: Mark 
Hi Solivagant,

To give you some background as to where the book was produced, we are Collins Geo, part of HarperCollins Publishers. At Collins Geo we produce The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World as well as a wide variety of other geographical, environmental and cartographic books.

We're currently up-dating the World Heritage files for a possible reprint next year and we aim to correct any errors from the first edition. With new sites being added every year our intention is to include these in future editions at the earliest possible opportunity.

In part, the book is a re-working of existing UNESCO material with newly sourced photographs and text. Our goal was to put the whole list into one manageable publication for the first time and include as much detail as we could. We employed experienced copywriters to edit the text we received from UNESCO. They completed additional research and we then consulted with UNESCO throughout bringing in local experts wherever possible.

All the sites are arguably of equal value and ideally would have received the same treatment throughout the book. Among several reasons, including, undeniably, economic and editorial, we thought it best to vary the format of the book so that it did not appear as one long identical listing.

With an unlimited budget we would have made the book much longer, more detailed and included more photographs. We would also have visited every site. Although I would have been delighted to be sent around the world, these factors would have made the book very expensive to produce and therefore buy. I think it's quite a lot of book for less than 20 but I appreciate I'm a bit bias here. That said, I understand that if you have a real passion for the World Heritage sites you'd like more detail. However, we hope this book will serve as an introduction to the sites for readers and raise the profile of the List.

In time, if the book is a success, we hope to develop it further.

Very best wishes
Mark

ps- The first correction will be the Osprey!

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#18 | Posted: 27 Oct 2009 14:25 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Sorry to keep at you Mark!
You state above "Our goal was to put the whole list into one manageable publication for the first time"
It may be the first book to attempt this with as many as 878 sites but earlier books have contained all the then inscribed sites. Leaving aside some produced very early on by UNESCO ( e.g "A Legacy for All") I know of

"Masterworks of Man and Nature" (Harper-Macrae/Facts on File ISBN 0-8160-3177-0) - The 1994 edition covered the full list then containing 412 sites in 400 pages. I think I am correct in stating that there was at least 1 photo of each site!

"The World Heritage UNESCO's Classified sites" (Bonneville ISBN 0-9781807-0-4) The (late) 2006 edition covered the full list including the 2006 additions i.e 830 in 464 pages - only 48 sites less than yours!

Each of the latter 2 was in full size format (9" x 12") - but hardly "unmanageable"!. The latter was full of far more mistakes than your book (!) but had been self published on a shoe string. Tito Dupret, whose photos you have used, provided the forward in his "World Heritage Tour" capacity because "sniffy" UNESCO wouldn't deign to deal with such a small organisation and the then Director General wouldn't even write the usual anodyne forward for them - perhaps UNESCO were awaiting Harper Collins!!

Author Mark
Partaker
#19 | Posted: 27 Oct 2009 18:09 
It's ok, an interesting discussion, though I think I'm being outgunned at every turn! Perhaps we need you on board for the next edition?

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#20 | Posted: 29 Oct 2009 06:18 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Hi Mark,
With your editorial "need" to identify and clarify errors in readiness for the next edition is it possible for you to clear up the issue raised above about whether the "Historic Centre and Archaeological site of Monte Alban" does or does not include "The Cuilapan convent 10km to the south"?
I fully appreciate that you and your copy writers took this information in good faith from among the documentation provided by UNESCO but, as pointed out
a. the ICOMOS evaluation states later
"ICOMOS is in favor of nominating Monte Alban and Oaxaca to the World Heritage List on the basis of Criteria I, II, III and IV.....These two properties, situated within close proximity of one to the other, are historically complementary. On the other hand, it would appear unnecessarily redundant to include Cuilapan, which is located at some distance from the others, in a nomination to the World Heritage List.".
b. There is no other mention of "Cuilapan" on the UNESCO site apart from the list of municipalities involved.
c. Cuilapan doesn't itself seem to be claiming inscription on its own notice boards!
Thanks

Author Mark
Partaker
#21 | Posted: 29 Oct 2009 13:45 | Edited by: Mark 
We intend to look into all the points you raise and check with UNESCO shortly. I'll get back to you as soon as I can. We realised fairly early on in the project that the UNESCO text was not without it's faults and did our best to rectify any errors.

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