FIP Philatelic Literature Commission
Report to Congress 2003

by
Francis Kiddle


I am pleased to be able to tender the Report of the FIP Philatelic Literature Commission to the FIP Board.
1. Philatelic Literature Website. A lot of effort has been devoted to establishing a website for the Commission. It has been felt that such a website should contain new information to assist researchers and bibliophiles. It should not be simply a propaganda website, but should contain information of importance to FIP Delegates. The website now contains a lot of information. Welcome statement, list of delegates, bureau members CVs, website evaluation information, literature results. In addition, we have compiled lists of FIP Research Medal awardees, RPSL Crawford Medallists, and we are working on compiling a list of all literature that has gained Large Gold Medals in FIP Exhibitions. One major addition to available literature is three lists prepared by Brian Birch, UK who has agreed to permit these to be published on the website. First, he is compiling an Index of Cumulative Indexes of Journals, worldwide. This currently extends to over 300 pages. Additionally, he has provided major listings of "Biographies: Literature Dealers and Bibliophiles" and "Biographies: Stamp Dealers and Philatelists"; these are very major works (100s of pages) that have been made available to the Commission, and through our website, to philately in general. The site currently can be found at the following website address - www.norbyhus.dk/fipliterature. The first Annual Update has just been added to the website, along with the Literature Competition results from international exhibitions. However, there is a problem in receiving the results of Literature Class from FIP All World exhibitions, as they are not retained as for other class results, as they do not count towards a member country's quota of exhibits. It is hoped that this can be resolved with the FIP Secretariat.
2. Spreading the FIP Literature News. Articles have been written by the Chairman for publication in NAPE (Asia/Australasia Philatelic Exhibitors), AAPE (North American Philatelic Exhibitors), and FEPA News. These articles have covered the Literature Competition results, and comments, for PhilaKorea and Europhilex (Cyprus) 2002, amongst other subjects.
3. Request for Assistance. FEPA President has requested for the Chairman of the Commission to edit for English all contributions for each issue of FEPA News, sometimes a difficult task! Requests continue to be received for the Chairman to write Forewords or Prefaces for new books; the recent Bibliography of Greek Literature is a good example of a major work. These are all met.
4. 2003 FIP Website Competition. Unfortunately this competition had to be cancelled, as there is just not time to be able to undertake full website evaluations. When this competition was introduced by FIP Director Charlie Peterson in 1999, websites were new and relatively simple in construction and scope. At that time, and in the following couple of years, the comments and assistance provided by the judges helped develop websites and good practice. However, over the past two years, websites have become mature and are ever expanding in content and complexity. We would state that the FIP Objective of judging, and hence supporting, website development has been met, and with websites being so huge in size (eg FIP Literature website is over 1,500 pages), it is just not practical to judge them today. To quantify the time needed to judge sites, an experiment was tried out over Christmas, and it took two and a half-hours to examine 40 pages of the UKPhilately website; the site has over 200 pages.
5. Contacts. Contacts have been maintained with individual delegates on a one to one basis through emails and the list of delegates is kept fully up to date; the latest version can be found on our website. Also of importance, contact is maintained with most of the Chairmen of the other FIP Commissions. Another very important contact that must be maintained is with the new editor of the FFE Journal, FIP Honorary President Knud Mohr RDP. We will endeavour to support him in his new task.
6. Bureau Members. Many of the Bureau Members have been busy. Osvaldo Giordano (Argentine) continues to produce fantastic amounts of philatelic literature that is sent to all delegates. He dominates philatelic literature in South America. Toke Norby (Denmark) continues to develop and maintain our website. With the volume of material we have obtained for the site, this development is a long hard dedicated task. Tony Virvilis (Greece) has undertaken a project to list all current commercial philatelic journals in Europe, mainly for FEPA, but of importance to FIP.
7. What has not been achieved. Unfortunately, it has not been possible for our Secretary to publish our Newsletter. However, I shall be despatching an abbreviated newsletter with the Convocation for the Delegates meeting in Singapore.


This Report will be the last one before the FIP Congress in Singapore and two of our Bureau Members will be standing down. Tony Virvilis has been a Bureau Member for over 20 years and has produced some important bibliographical publications that have added significantly to the field of Philatelic Literature. He will continue to be the Director responsible for Literature within FEPA, and we shall continue to work closely with him. Juhani Olamo, Finland, is another person who has devoted most of his collecting life to the writing and editing of philatelic books primarily on Finnish philately. Juhani has been ill over the past year or so, and hence is standing down. On behalf of the Commission, I would like to express my gratitude to these two fine philatelists for all their help over the years.

I would also like to pay tribute to Robert de Violini, not a member of our Bureau, but one of the Website Judges, and the person who did so much to get electronic literature accepted for competition. Just a few weeks ago, Robert died suddenly. The world is a richer place because of him.

Francis Kiddle

Chairman, Philatelic Literature Commission
1st February 2004


2004.02.02