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GSA Online Section Manual




In the past, guidebooks have ranged anywhere from professionally published products to Xeroxed copies of a road log. Your budget will help you determine what you want to produce for your field trip participants and for potential future sales.

Planning for guidebooks should be done well in advance. Experience has shown that the planning of field trips starts almost immediately after a meeting site has been selected. Plans for the preparation and publication of an accompanying guidebook should start at the same time. The process for the production, distribution, and financing of guidebooks in many ways has been the Field Trip Chairman's greatest challenge.


Publication and distribution of guidebooks are the responsibility of the Section. The Section decides:

  • whether to publish or simply xerox,
  • if publishing, who will be the publisher,
  • size of the pressrun,
  • the list price.

GSA's publicat@geosociety.org may be of help in answering your publishing questions.

Each Field Trip Chairman has the responsibility of overseeing the production, printing, distribution, and financing of the Section's guidebooks. An appropriate budget allowance must cover the guidebook costs. Specifications are necessary in order to get appropriate estimates; however, specifications change. For example, printing is based on the number of pages per volume and the size of the pressrun. Determining these two numbers can be an elusive task. It helps if you give the field trip leaders: (1) a page limit [1520 pages] and, (2) strongly encourage the leaders to give realistic trip participation estimates. You must also decide if your pressrun will include courtesy copies to fellow local committee members or to those students who were helpful at the meeting, or extra copies for possible future sales.

Anticipated Sales

Publishers of Section guidebooks may anticipate sales to libraries, geology departments, and individuals, especially if the guide is more than a simple road log. Based on contacts over the years with geology librarians and other geoscience information specialists, professionally published guides can be in demand for several years after field trips are held. Since GSA headquarters receives inquiries regarding the purchase of Section meeting guidebooks, Sections are requested to provide headquarters with post-meeting sales information. Also, sections should consider GSA as a source for post-meeting consignment sales. Contact GSA Publications at pubs@geosociety.org, or call (303) 357-1000 or Toll free at 1-888-443-4472.