As for the construction and structure of the Notebooks...
Having had the wonderful opportunity of having the actual original notebooks in my possession while I prepared the fascimiles, I can inform you that the Notebooks were punched and bound into two separate volumes (indicated by the Section breaks in the new volume).
I did not receive the pages in bound form, but as I understand it from Richard, the pages were in the order presumably left by Hilliard when he last worked on the book.
One might surmise that the structure of the eventual intended book was not quite finished, what with sections originally segmented by contributor and later by topic. As one can see, there are many instances of material having been arranged in at least two different (presumably) possible permutations already mentioned.
Some may be curious about the construction of the current reproduction. This work is one of the most complex production tasks I have ever undertaken. One of the main difficulties in preparing the reproduction is the varying condition of the pages that comprised the Notebooks.
The pages were yellowed, brittle, as well as being of varying degrees of thickness, state of decay and type of paper (heavy bond, cotton rag and--yikes--transparently thin yellow onion skin that flaked apart when you looked at it). Added to this was the fact that the notations on the pages were often composed of four different impressions (typewriter ribbon, red ink, blue ink and pencil), which required multiple approaches to reproduce a single page. This doesn't include the various stains, smudges, and moisture marks that afflict the original pages.
Each page was scanned digitally at 1200dpi in B&W at differing threshold settings for each color ink then combined to a single page. Each page was compared to the preceding and following pages to make an attempt at consistency of print weight (not an easy task when you consider the differing paper stock and typewriter ribbons that wore down causing text to slowly grow lighter as Hilliard typed). These images were then cleaned meticulously to remove any imperfections on the page that were the result of scanning, imperfections of paper, smudging or other unintentional markings that were not judged to be part of the information being imparted (on many pages this consisted of hundreds of instances of degradation that required attention).
A Galley proof was then constructed and hard-copies printed. Each page was then inspected again and marked up to remove any markings that were missed in the first go-round.
All told, each individual page received an average of two hours each (and I can really only estimate at this point--likely more). The aim was to produce a document of the highest quality that reproduces the minutest details imparted by the writer, while enhancing the legibility and value to the current student of magic.
The work was long and painstakingly tedious. I'm also sure that I will likely develop cataracts as a direct result of my work on this project. I am however, very proud of the results attained, and I would like to believe that the fascimiles rival, and in many cases, exceed the quality of the originals (particularly in clarity).
It was an honor and a thrill to hold, in my hands, the unpublished pages held once by one of magic's finest writers. The Lost Notebooks of John Northern Hilliard (in fascimile) may in fact be the closest experience to holding an original manuscript from one of magic's legends in your own hands.
Thanks again to Richard for the opportunity to be a part of history.