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The Background to Troab 

About Troab shorthand

Troab shorthand was created in 1946; it was designed as a quick and simple method of shorthand to write lecture notes and served its author well. After graduation it was published in 1951 as a correspondence course.

It was early recognised that there are two main user groups for note-taking;

Occasional note-takers, including students in education and people attending meetings of all kinds in offices and Boardrooms,


Professional note-takers, including journalists, reporters, secretaries, personal assistants, and senior office personnel in business and the professions, where high-speed verbatim notes are required.

Without active promotion Troab has gathered its own body of writers.

The method is published in printed book format (Professional and Basic level textbooks); there are  several digital format courses available to meet different needs, a 15,000 plus word Word-List (and 2,000 medical terms), a Tutorial for Teachers of Troab, and a Handbook for Troab Teachers.

Troab compares favourably with other shorthand systems being simple and easy to learn and fast to write (it has a small ‘word footprint’).

About the author

Roy Tabor, a retired medical librarian, created the Troab shorthand method in 1946 and proceeded to test it out at lectures; it was published as 'Troab Shorthand' in 1951. Two professional careers followed pushing shorthand into the background.

Moving from private practice as a podiatrist, he later pioneered medical librarianship in the National Health Service, designing and setting up the first regional network of health care libraries and information services to all NHS staff (later extended to an information service for patients). In collaboration with the British Library he participated in the MEDUSER project with direct access to the National Library of Medicine computer, Washington, USA, through the NATO ARPA network (1972).

As the Wessex Regional Librarian he instigated the Wessex Medical Library Classification scheme now used in many NHS libraries.

Collaboration with senior NHS and university medical library colleagues and the WHO, led to advisory work in Canada, USA, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

He received the Library Association Barnard Award ‘for distinguished services to medical librarianship’ (1980), Fellowship (FLA) in 1984, and was awarded the MBE in 1990.

A post-retirement tribute to Roy was made at an international medical library conference, 1993;

“I feel very privileged to have been asked to deliver this lecture in honour of Roy Tabor. As a layman breaking into the world of the healthcare librarian it has been striking how often I have come across his work. A man of vision, he has often been responsible for lines of thinking well ahead of his time, and has opened up for debate many lines of questioning and potential developments.”

Dr Christopher Bentley, “Towards wise, knowledgeable and informed purchasing of health services,” Information transfer, New age, Lecture 1993.

In his spare time Roy continued to develop his unique integrated approach to shorthand/speedwriting.

Roy has published two volumes of poetry, 'Blind-sight', and 'Pathways', with a new collection ['Who told you that?'] in process.

These collections are available from all booksellers.

His interest in Chamber Theatre has led to the presentation of ‘The Chaucer Experience’ and performance of the text of 'The Canterbury Tales' in the original ‘chamber’ manner. This approach has been developed to present Benet’s epic poem 'John Brown’s Body' and other major literary works.

These experiences are expressed in his book,

Performing Literary Texts

'The Challenge of Chamber Theatre', by Roy B. Tabor.

Literature – poetry, prose or drama – is an exploration of human life and behaviour. Whether as actors, teachers, librarians, students or parents, performing brings a written text to life more vividly than silent reading.

The concept of ‘Literature in Performance’ and the associated terms applied to this form of theatre are described.

(Chamber Theatre is performed by a handful of players in a small and intimate venue – typically a Host’s drawing-room - combining narration with dialogue.)

Contemporary Chamber Theatre is set in its historical perspective. ‘The Chaucer Experience’ is described, an early example of chamber theatre when Chaucer first read the Canterbury Tales to his friends and fellow guests.

The techniques of performing a text are explored with special attention to the use of the voice, facial expression and gesture.

The world of Chamber Theatre is performance centred on the imagination without the costs of conventional stage productions; it is a demanding and exciting performance style for both players and their audiences.

Available from all booksellers, Tanfield House, 2013 (137p)

ISBN  978-1-291-37439-1

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