Instructions to Authors
Scope of the journal
Bulletin of the International String Figure Association (ISSN 1076-7886) is devoted to the publication of original material that advances our understanding and enhances our enjoyment of string figures. The journal encourages the following types of articles:
- Commentary - Recollections or autobiographical accounts of string figure learning and teaching experiences; accounts of performance arts that incorporate string figures (dance recitals, poetry readings, professional storytelling).
- Reviews - Articles based on a critical reading of the string figure literature. Includes analyses of regional repertoires, studies describing the distribution of specific techniques or associated lore (myths, taboos, etc.); explorations of the educational, psychological, and physical impact of making string figures; revised methods for making figures whose original descriptions are hard to follow.
- Research reports - Formal papers that present new data, including: collections of previously unpublished string figures; variations based on the systematic alteration of a known figure; mathematical analyses; new nomenclatures for describing construction methods; reconstructions of figures for which no methods have been published.
- Book reviews and literature updates
- Letters to the Editor - short communications; personal views; critiques of previously published articles.
- Modern String Figures - new designs invented by our readers.
Manuscript preparation and style
Manuscripts must be typewritten, with double spacing throughout. Authors are strongly encouraged to submit manuscripts electronically. Documents prepared by most wordprocessing programs are acceptable. However, Microsoft WordŽ documents are preferred. Avoid desktop publishing software (the formatting codes don't always translate well). If you have the ability to save the text as an ASCII (*.txt) or an RTF file (*.rtf), include these files as well.
Manuscript elements and order
- Title page - Titles should be specific, informative, and include the keyword "string figure(s)."
- Abstract - (Reviews and research reports only). Summarize the significance and principal conclusions of your article.
- Text - No specific format required -- just present your ideas in a logical sequence. Papers that include construction methods must state which published nomenclature is being used. If unpublished, clearly define all symbols and terms. When citing the literature, the author-date-page system is preferred: "...girls spent their evenings making string figures (Averkieva & Sherman 1992:3)." or "Maude (1989:14) has observed that... ."
- References - List alphabetically by authors last name using the following format:
- Journal Article: Rosser, W.E., and Hornell, J. (1932) "String Figures from British New Guinea." Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 62:39-50.
- Book: Maude, H.C. (1978) Solomon Island String Figures. Canberra: Homa Press.
- Book chapter: Campbell, R. (1971) "Kai-Kai: Figuras de Cuerdas y Recitaciones." In: La Herencia Musical de Rapanui pp. 413-441). Santiago: Editorial Andres Bello.
- Footnotes - Type in sequence on a separate page. Use superscript numbers in the text.
- Tables - Type each on a separate page. For tables that include multiple symbols, illustrations, or other non-text items, export as a graphic (600 dpi tif file).
- Figure legends - Type in sequence on a separate sheet.
Note: Number all pages consecutively, beginning with the title page.
String figure illustrations may consist of:
- Photographs - Best for showing the extension of the figure on the hands. Use a dark background. A thick, white string is recommended so that string crossings are visible in the photo. Soft light from a nearby window works well (avoid flash photography), or shoot photos outdoors. Both color and black & white photographs of any size are acceptable. However, all will be published as black and white images. For digital photographs submit files in either tif or jpg format with a minimum resolution of 300 dpi.
- Mounted originals - This is perhaps the simplest way to document a string figure. Arrange the figure and tape it to a sturdy sheet of paper. Then, either scan/photocopy the mounted specimen to create the illustration, or send us the mounted original and we will scan it (for scanning, make sure your mounted figure is no larger than 8˝" x 14" (23cm x 36cm)). If you want your mounted figure to appear as a line-drawing (solid black line on white background) rather than a grey-scale image, use white string mounted on black paper (we will reverse the black and white after scanning).
- Line drawings - To avoid mistakes, work in pencil. When finished, photocopy the pencil drawing and send us the photocopy. Photocopying converts grey pencil lines to solid black lines, ideal for publishing. If broken lines are present in the photocopy, reconnect them using pencil so that all lines are dark and even (broken lines result from not pressing hard enough while drawing). Symmetrical illustrations are best made by drawing half the figure on tracing paper, folding it vertically, then tracing the first half. Remember, most drawings will be significantly reduced (final size = 2 to 4 inches across), so make sure all symbols and lettering remain legible! If you are using parallel lines to represent string segments (as in Jayne's book), make sure the lines are at least 1 mm apart in the reduced drawing.
- Computer generated drawings - Submit original laser printouts or electronic files (tif format, 600 dpi). Again, keep in mind that all illustrations will be significantly reduced (2 to 4 inches across). Many vector-based drawing programs produce beautiful results. However, learning to manipulate bezier curves requires a great deal of practice.
Important note: Submit each illustration separately, or as a separate file. Do not embed digital images in your manuscript.
All articles are subject to critical review by the Editors. Contributors may be asked to revise their manuscripts. Page proofs will be sent to the author prior to publication for final approval. It is the author's responsibility to obtain written permission to reproduce copyright material (previously published tables, illustrations, or text of more than 300 words). Upon acceptance for publication, all authors will be asked to transfer copyright to the International String Figure Association. Note, however, that the publisher will not refuse any reasonable request by the author for permission to reproduce elsewhere any of his or her contributions to the journal, including invented string figures.
Submit manuscripts to:
- Mark Sherman, Editor
- Bulletin of the International String Figure Association
- P.O. Box 5134
- Pasadena, California, 91117, USA.
Last updated April 7, 2012
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