GUIDANCE NOTES FOR POTENTIAL AUTHORS
CONTENT, FORMAT AND PRESENTATION.
Brother, we are delighted to welcome you, as a budding author, to the Website of The Irish Lodge of Research. We are an association of Installed and Past Masters whose main aim is to research, record, present and publish a full range of informative papers on the history, artefacts and traditions of Irish Freemasonry.
We have prepared this set of briefing notes to give you a standard template, which will help you by outlining some of the many considerations required, before putting pen to paper or starting you computer software.
There are a number of key decisions to be taken, which will progressively guide you along the proper path. These steps can be summarised as follows:
Your first and most important decision is to select a topic for your Paper. In the Irish Lodge of Research, we have only two constraints when selecting topics. They are Matters of Masonic Ritual, which are the remit of the Grand Lodge of Instruction, and matters of Masonic Policy under the control of The Grand Lodge of Ireland.
With the exception of these exclusions, we welcome your considered contributions in all respects of Masonic Research, History, Antiquities and Symbolism. As a general rule you should select a topic that interests you, and if the topic has been covered before, you should read the previous Papers and see if your proposed Paper adds anything new to the previously recorded information on your chosen subject. If you find that you are covering old ground, then you may wish to consider another area to research.
When considering Lodge histories, we would recommend that you do not limit your Paper to a single Lodge, but look at widening the scope of the topic to consider Lodges in a given area. The social impact of a Lodge in a district or the history of a specific Lodge Warrant, covering all previous issues of the Warrant to other locations, may be of particular interest.
There are a number of excellent sources where it is possible to research original Masonic records such as Grand Lodge Registers, old Lodge Minute Books, Letter Files, printed and manuscript Certificates, and a full range of other Masonic Books, Periodicals and other printed or written Correspondence. The main collection of this material is preserved in the archives of The Grand Lodge of Ireland, based in Freemasons' Hall, Molesworth Street, Dublin.
However, there are good regional collections in The Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim Library in Rosemary Street, Belfast, The Munster Collection in Tuckey Street, Cork and the Down Collection, held in the Masonic Hall in Downpatrick.
At a more local level, some Lodges still retain a selection of interesting records, Minute Books and Artefacts. Of course, there are a number of non-Masonic collections such as The Public Records Office in Belfast, The Record Tower collection in Dublin Castle and the collections in the Armagh Country Museum and The Ulster Folk & Transport Museum in Cultra,
Once you have decided on your Topic, the first step is to establish a framework for your Paper, which will probably include some of the following considerations:
These considerations can act as a series of general headings as you collate your researches and record the information located. As you bring the research phase to a close, you will be able to quickly see how best the information breaks into sections, which will naturally lead you to your main Chapter Headings. At this stage you should have sufficient information to produce a preliminary working draft of your proposed Paper.
The next step is to prepare your individual chapters and, once these have been drafted, bring them together to give an overall shape to your Paper. Again, the main chapter headings will go a long way in establishing both the thrust of your Introduction and the basis for your final Conclusions.
However, do not fall into the usual trap of assuming that your reader knows as much of the background to your work as yourself. Always be sure to clearly establish the basis of your work either by restating the broad background or by citing specific readily available references (such as previous Lodge of Research transactions), which the general interested reader can look up for further information.
It is important that you also try to pitch your Paper to tell an interesting story which stands up, in its own right, without the need of too much extensive background reading.
If your topic lends itself to illustration, it is always worth considering the use of photographs, diagrams or line drawings to break up long sections of text. This is one area where the Lodge of Research CC Editor will be able to provide expertise, so that the published work maintains the ethos of the rest of the Lodge CC published articles. Additional notes in respect to production and presentation of photographs etc. appear as Appendix 'A' to this paper.
At this stage you now have a completed manuscript, typed in double spacing, containing your extensive researches, on your chosen Topic. This is the stage when you now send your work to the Editor of the Lodge of Research CC, with a view to publication. Notes in respect to the presentation of your work in electronic form appear as Appendix 'B' to this paper.
It is current Lodge of Research CC policy, that a summary of all published Papers are read by the author at one of the Quarterly meetings of the Lodge. These meetings are held throughout the year, and once the Editor has received your Paper, he will confirm the venue and date for the presentation of your work.
For this presentation, you will require a summary of your Paper, which can be read to the assembled Brethren, and should last for approximately 20 minutes. As you gain more confidence in public speaking, you may increase the duration of your Paper to 30 minutes, but you should very rarely talk for longer than 30 minutes, as the attention of the Brethren will start to wane after this time.
This is the part of the process which causes most anxiety to new authors. It should not be considered as some kind of test, but an occasion when you have an opportunity to present your views, on your chosen subject, in a Lodge situation, to a gathering which is generally friendly and supportive .
Your preparation for this Presentation should begin with the re-typing of your Paper with a larger size of text so it can be easily seen and read in typical Lodge lighting. A second copy of this Paper should be sent to the Assistant Northern Secretary of the Lodge of Research CC for distribution to the Worship Master and Wardens of the Lodge at the time of your Presentation.
Your preparation should include the reading of your Paper on a number of occasions, so that you are completely at ease with both the language and the content. This will allow you to time your Presentation so that the Director of Ceremonies can plan his programme accordingly.
If you plan to use a laptop computer, projectors etc., make sure that they are fully operational, and that you are comfortable with their use. Ensure that the equipment is installed well before the Opening of the Lodge and, if necessary, arrange for a technically competent Brother to assist so that you can focus on the presentation of your Paper. And finally, take your time, speak clearly, and enjoy the experience on this, your special day.
The Lodge of Research CC publishes a Book of Transactions every two or three years. There is, therefore, usually a window of opportunity within which you can update your Paper, immediately prior to publication, to take account of any new researches, changes in emphasis or revisions that you may like to make.
Finally, as we always say in the preface to our publications " The authors of the Papers are alone responsible for the statements and opinions contained in their contributions". So Brother, give scope to your imagination and make some initial notes for your first Paper.
This paper is based on the lecture given by Very Worship Brother Robert Bashford, Editor, The Lodge of Research No. CC, Ireland.
Appendix 'A' - Photographs:
In preparing photographs or graphic material, several things should be taken into consideration. Photographs should be clear, taken in good natural or artificial light, in focus, and have a good contrast. The use of monochrome or colour slide projection film is ideal for use during your Presentation, however, photographic prints of these slides will be required for eventual publication purposes. The use of digital cameras during the collection of your research photographs has many advantages. If you decide to submit your photographs electronically for publication, you should submit them in as high a resolution as possible, preferably 300 dpi in a .jpeg or .tiff format.
Appendix 'B' - Electronic Media:
Using a personal or laptop computer to prepare your Paper, using word processing software such as Microsoft 'Word' etc., has many advantages. Not only will you have the ability to edit and save your work easily as you prepare your draft and final Papers, you can use the spell check and grammar facilities to ease the work load and succeed in creating a professional looking Paper. Furthermore, you can readily paste photographs, illustrations, diagrams etc. within the appropriate section of your Paper.
When you have completed the two versions of your Paper, you can then transfer electronic copies of the files to either a CD computer Disk, Digital Storage Stick or Email for onward transmission to the Editor and the Assistant Northern Secretary of the Lodge of Research No. CC.
W. Bro. Tom E. Fitzpatrick,
The Assistant Southern Secretary: The Lodge of Research No. CC, Ireland.