[NTG-context] reverse page order and reverse page numbering in one part of a book

Idris Samawi Hamid ادريس سماوي حامد Idris.Hamid at colostate.edu
Wed Jul 22 13:58:04 CEST 2015

Dear Talal,
Salaam. See below:

On Wed, 22 Jul 2015 03:49:29 -0600, talazem at fastmail.fm  
<talazem at fastmail.fm> wrote:

> Dear all,
> I am producing a book that is divided into two sections. The book is  
> published in English, and thus it runs left to right. Part one is an  
> academic study in English. Part two is a critical edition of an Arabic  
> text. The book is exactly 100 pages long, with fifty pages going to the  
> English study, and fifty pages to the Arabic edition.
> In Part One (which includes all the front matter of the book, such as  
> the table of contents, etc.): the page ordering runs left-to-right, the  
> pagination runs from 1 to 50, and the page numbers should be printed in  
> Arabic numerals.
> However, in Part Two (the Arabic text): the page ordering should run  
> right-to-left, the page numbers should run in “reverse” pagination (in  
> which “page 1" of the critical edition begins at the “back” of the  
> book), and the page numbers should be printed in Hindi numerals.
> In other words, the structure of the book’s pages would be as follows  
> (ellipses used to jump):
> 1
> 2
> 3
>> 48
> 49
> 50
> ٥٠
> ٤٩
> ٤٨
>> ٣
> ٢
> ١
> I would like the Table of Contents then to look something like this:
> Forward . . . . . . v
> English Study . . . 1
> Arabic Edition. . . ١
> Index of names. . . ٥٠
> So my question is: is this currently possible in ConTeXt, to produce a  
> single PDF, with such a TOC, from one file? Or am I bringing on too much  
> of a headache upon myself, and it is easier to produce two separate  
> files — but if so, how would one produce a TOC that includes the parts  
> and page numbers of both documents?

For getting the Arabic pages to go the other way, I would leave that to  
the printer and/or post-pdf processing. After all, ConTeXt doesn't care  
about whether the book itself reads RTL or LTR. OTOH, you may have to  
reverse some of the \setuplayout parameters (such as margin and backspace)  
for the Arabic portion of the book.

I'm sure you've seen Arthur Jeffery, Materials for the History of the Text  
of the Quran, for a nicely typeset example of what you are trying to do.  
Or even Revelation and Falsification edited by Kohlberg [a very misleading  
and sensationalist title by the way]. If you want to have two books in  
one, you *may* want to rethink this: Just have an Arabic TOC in the Arabic  
section (entirely RTL of course) and an English TOC in the English  
section. The English TOC need only point to the fact that the Arabic  
edition comes afterwards, and the Arabic TOC could do the same.

That said: You could typeset both books as distinct products or components  
within a single project file - see page 20 of cont-eni.pdf (I once did two  
books this way). Then you can do cross-references between both books. IIRC  
you can then take the TOC in one product or component and place it in the  
other. So in the English book you can place the Arabic TOC and vice versa.  
Of course you will want to define a separate TOC control sequence for  
each. So you can get, e.g.

\starttitle[title=Table of Contents]

which gives you exactly what you want. After all is said and done, the  
printer can reverse the order of the Arabic pages but that will not affect  
your TOC.

Note that your example has English section names mapped to Arabic/Hindi  
page numerals (again, I would prefer a purely Arabic TOC). But your  
section titles in the Edition will not be in English. ConTeXt allows you  
to use dummy names for section title that will end up in your TOC, and  
this is documented in the manual I'm sure.

Tangent: We need to start looking at the needs of Arabic indices in  
ConTeXt. Alan Braslau and Hans Hagen are already working on a new  
bibliography module that will eventually support RTL needs as well.

Best wishes
Idris Samawi Hamid
Professor of Philosophy
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523

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