Briar Press: What’s next

It’s a good time to tell you about what we’re working on behind the scenes.

First: hi, everybody. Many of you probably know that Briar Press is a small organization. Elizabeth handles all daily operations and responds to email. I design and build the site. We both fit our work into our free time. Lately, I’ve been assisted by a technical advisor and expert programmer, whom we hired to help us make the transition to the new site. That’s all of us.

The ‘new site’ is still very much a work in progress, both in function and appearance. It is built on a pre-existing foundation that we’re learning to expand upon. The process is like adding rooms onto a house: we have to learn how to tap into the electrical, plumbing, and venting systems. These systems can support the basic needs of our growing community (over 15,000 members strong today), but this ‘house’ doesn’t come with a Classifieds department or a letterpress Museum pre-installed.

Because the job is complex, and our development team is only two people, progress takes months and years of steady work. That means I’m still working on good suggestions I received last winter, when version 5 went live. But the pace is picking up now, and we’re nearing a major new release. These are some of the elements it will include:

* The International Register of Private Press Names. This free service will allow private presses to register their names and identify themselves formally. Anyone will be able to to search the archive of thousands of names that Elizabeth and Ben Lieberman started assembling in 1960.

* The Museum at Briar Press. Our virtual collection of presses may be old, but the web site they live on shouldn’t be stuck in the past. We’re looking forward to modernizing the Museum, which will allow members to contribute photos and comments, thus improving the usefulness of the collection as a reference tool.

* Discussion improvements. In the improved Discussion forum, you’ll be able to subscribe to RSS feeds, upload multiple photos in your posts and replies, and find new topics more easily.

* A visual redesign. The site is getting a new treatment that will give it a more finished look, and make it easier to use in many small ways. I can’t wait to show it to you, but I still have a few months of work to go.

My motivation to keep developing the site comes from seeing people use this place to learn about letterpress and to help others. Good work all around.

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Thanks! What you have done to date is unbelievable and has certainly given the world-wide letterpress community a needed resource. Keep up the good work and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

- Alan

We can’t wait to see the new site! We’ve really enjoyed the existing site, which has been helpful and fun. Thanks for doing this.

If you need help, please ask. Many of us, I’m sure, would be more than willing to put in some sweat equity for this site.

I have some familiarity with web development, and blocks of free time between client projects, so email if you need help.


Thanks so much for your dedication. I’m pretty sure most of us would feel lost without this connection to one another and the wealth of knowledge that comes from everyone gathering in one amazing cyberspace.

We’d be happy to lend a hand in any way possible.

Your site has been my home page for the last five years. Thank you for the design and for the exquisite writing, the tone and clarity of which I have sought to bring to sites I am involved with. Kudos to the team - cannot wait to see the new museum.

I’m a fairly new member and truly value your site and it’s continued goal to inform and educate. Your work is greatly appreciated.

While I’m fairly new here all I can say is you guys rock!

I’ve just acquired a smaller Hohner press after years of nonchalantly looking for a hand press.

I look forward to the rest of the updates on the site!

I’m a brand new member but have been in lurk mode forever. I appreciate Briar Press and the forum provided here. Best of luck on the new site! Can’t wait!