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Browsing QST prior to 2012

Nov 15th 2014, 02:53

AC8SA

Joined: Oct 9th 2014, 01:08
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On the centennial of QST, I find it troubling that there is no way to simply browse issues published prior to 2012. The only access is via 'searching', which only returns a page or two. Obviously the scanned issues exist, but ARRL apparently doesn't want to allow access to them. Why?
Nov 15th 2014, 15:45

AA6E

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Total Posts: 0
An excellent question! This is one of my concerns, too.

The ARRL Store lists publications CD/DVDs back only to 2011. That's where you can get full PDF copies of all the periodicals -- good for browsing, reviewing ads, etc. (What has happened to the earlier years? Are they completely unavailable?)

The trouble is that the disks sell for $25, which is almost doubling the basic membership cost. Why, you might ask, should members be asked to pay full freight for a disk whose content they have already purchased?

Then, if you follow the industry you know that CD/DVD distribution is on the way out. Most content will be distributed online. There is no technical reason why periodical back issues (pdfs) can't be provided online and at virtually no out-of-pocket cost to the League. (Rescanning the older non-pdf issues is a bigger project that is also needed, not to mention providing for full text search across all the archives.)

There would be some organizational problems -- managing intellectual property, loss of DVD sales revenue (minor, I expect), setting up member access methods, etc. These could be overcome rather easily IMO, if we made it a priority to make the archives as available and useful as possible. One idea would be to add access to the annual pdf files to the basic membership for, say, an additional $5. (Or - to gore another ox - raise the dues, as sorely needed IMO, and throw in the digital archives as a new benefit.)

There is a lot of value to Amateur Radio gathering dust in those archives. (And it's not just a QST problem.)

73 Martin AA6E
Nov 17th 2014, 15:22

W1VT

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Providing a full text search is particularly difficult given that amateurs are particularly interested in "uniques." They want an exact count of how many times a particular call appears in print, even it only happens once or twice in 100 years of QST. Normally, to cut data conversion costs, uniques are just converted to a likely common word.

Zack W1VT
Nov 17th 2014, 17:00

AA6E

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Permit me to differ! Uniques should not be a problem -- if you have the full text to work with. Here is Google's output for W1AW. This is searching their book corpus. If you search my callsign or yours, we get zilch because we're not in any of their books, I suppose!
Nov 18th 2014, 12:53

AC8SA

Joined: Oct 9th 2014, 01:08
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Total Posts: 0
Years ago I purchased a cdrom from ARRL which contained the entire 1930-1939 of scanned QST. Other decades were available at the time, so the question isn't about cost of scanning -- that already exists at ARRL.

The CDROM's were searchable, but I could also just read them cover-to-cover.

For our annual membership fee we can search old QST's, but not browse/read full issues. Furthermore ARRL no longer sells those CDROM's! We seem to have lost access to most of our century of QST.

WRT cdrom's of more recent issues, yeah it does seem a bit pricey but at least its available, unlike older issues.
Nov 18th 2014, 17:03

AA6E

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Total Posts: 0
The original ARRL CDROMs used poor (by modern standards) scans and they were packaged with ancient Windows software - 16 bit, I think. So it's rather difficult to use them with modern computers, and it would not make sense to distribute them today. They need to be redone with high quality scans, OCR, and a good archival format like PDF -- IMHO.

73 Martin AA6E
Nov 26th 2014, 04:35

AA6E

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Total Posts: 0
The main reason to OCR the scans is so that you can do full text searches. In my experience, searching the old journals is very hard. The titles were often poorly chosen (they don't really describe the contents), and there is no good keyword system. So unless you know the author or the title, it's pretty hard to find anything.

The newer PDF files, if you haven't noticed, appear to include a text version so that you can search for text while viewing the image format. It would be really good to have that feature on all historical publications.

73 Martin AA6E
Nov 26th 2014, 05:06

AC8SA

Joined: Oct 9th 2014, 01:08
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Quote by AA6E
The original ARRL CDROMs used poor (by modern standards) scans and they were packaged with ancient Windows software - 16 bit, I think. So it's rather difficult to use them with modern computers, and it would not make sense to distribute them today. They need to be redone with high quality scans, OCR, and a good archival format like PDF -- IMHO.

73 Martin AA6E


Some time ago I wrote some linux based software to display the CDROM pages. (It didn't have searching, since I didn't have the index format, but it worked well enough.)

OCR (where text is extracted from the original) is *not* what I am looking for. I want to see the pages as they were originally printed. These scans must currently exist. It is sad that on our centenial, members cannot access our history. (Not even at additional cost!)

If I sound a bit irritated, my apologies. I am hoping someone at HQ is reading this.

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