Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Tycho Table Maker

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Tycho Table Maker

Article excerpt


Harriett Johnson is an adjunct laboratory instructor at Hartwick college, and Richard Johnson is the director of libraries, State University College, Oneonta, New York. They are the authors of The Macintosh Press: Desktop Publishing for Libraries (Meckler, 1989).

Words march along in single file as we write a letter or prepare a report. Line returns cut the flow into appropriate segments to fit the page, and word processors simplify editing and rearranging our text. We can often improve our text if we apply what we learn from the many manuals for writers.

One useful rearrangement is formatting the words into adjacent related listings - a simple table, easy to scan in order to note differences and to make comparisons. For example, in reporting library circulation, we can make a column listing the major classes of the Library of Congress classification. Next to each class in a second column we can report the number Of items loaned for a given period. A table reporting library circulation is another form of text, and a form we can exploit better using a microcomputer.

A table is a form of compressed text. Its headings for columns and rows describe the information in each cell. Tables are standard fare in library documents, whether annual reports or budget requests. Most of us prepare them following examples we have already seen. But just as we can benefit from manuals for writers, we can also read about what is needed to compose and prepare a meaningful and useful table.

Guides for table preparation work whether we are using pencil and ruler on a piece of paper or composing a table on our microcomputer. Several useful guides are listed in the references at the end. (1)

Programs for Preparing Tables

The word processor is the basic tool we use to prepare a table. Separating items into several columns on our screen, we quickly learn that it is important to use the tab keys - left, right, decimal, and center. We also learn never to hit the space bar several times to separate colmns. Microsoft Word 4.0 features an Insert Table command in the Document menu. With it you can format simple tables quickly as part of your word processing document.

Spreadsheet programs, of course, are basically tables, but they have the added attraction of automatic calculation. Using a spreadsheet, we enter numerical data in table form, calculate totals or percentages, or check the accuracy of our arithmetic. Once we have the spreadsheet table completed, we can either print it as such or import it into a word processing document - Recently, as an extra feature, PageMaker 4.0 introduced its own separate program to prepare tables. Called Table Editor, this program simplifies formatLing of tables which then can be imported as text-only documents or as a graphic into another document.

Tycho Table Maker

One specialized program for the preparation of tables is Tycho[TM] Table Maker.

This program, published by Macreations[TM] Inc., Pacifica, California, is named in MemOry of Tycho Brahe, the sixteenth-century Danish astronomer, who was the first to prepare tables of star positions.

The program manual describes Tycho Table Maker as a "presentation tool for creating and editing data in tabular formats." It can be used by itself to create, edit, and print tables, or it can import data from a spreadsheek database, or word processor. The final table c- be placed as a graphic in a word processing or page layout program.

At the Jeffrey Star Library, librarian Bruce Campbell first became acquainted with Tycho Table Maker when he answered an ad provided with his copy of FullWrite Professional. With the coupon he was able to order a copy of the prograin at a vastly reduced price. Subsequently, when Bruce acquired version 1.5 of FullWrite Professional, he found a current version of Tycho Table Maker included with it.3

Now Bruce has a good opportunity to make use of Tycho Table Maker. …

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