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RO Archive

Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:30 pm
by 21275
The Society published a number of archive volumes of the RO on CD in the past, for which we have to thank Terry Silcock. There are also a number of back-numbers available for download from the Society website.
Does any member - or even the Society - have any plans to scan and digitise any other copies? I am particularly interested in the volumes dating from 1980 to 2009.

Re: RO Archive

Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:32 pm
by 21275
Correction to my previous post, that should rad that I am interested in digitised volumes between 1981 and 2007 inclusive.

Re: RO Archive

Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 12:05 am
by Ian Prince
An interesting question.

I thought the digitising was likely to be an ongoing project but perhaps it has not proved viable? Shame really that such classic and authoritative archives are not so well valued.

(I should have all those copies in paper form). I presume the Society holds the copyright however and would want to generate any income from the sales of such archive information. Having said that, old copies often come up in various locations as 'available FoC to a good home', so maybe obtaining then that way and digitising yourself for your own use, would be the most cost effective solution?

Or just using those held in various libraries for research purposes without digitising them?

Re: RO Archive

Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:23 pm
by 21275
Thanks for the post, Ian. I recognise that there is a copyright issue. I was wondering, however, if I might be able to trade with someone who has done some scanning in the time period I mentioned. I have been scanning ROs on an on-and-off basis for a while and have now have completed to mid-1972 plus 1976, 1977 and 1978. My target is to complete to at least end-of 1980. I have prepared an Adobe Acrobat index for all those, which I keep up-to-date, which means that all may be searched very quickly.
There doesn't seem to be that much interest, however, in this sort of information, whereas i think it is a really valuable historical resource.

Re: RO Archive

Posted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:26 pm
by Ian Prince
I think you would be surprised how seriously a lot of researchers regard the R.O. information.

With a lot of it from railway people themselves, albeit unnamed, the information is often authoritative. (in fact the recent trends toward acknowledging contributors is I think regrettable. It should be done for the benefit of the Society, not just to get your name or club name 'put up in lights'). It also wastes valuable space in the R.O.

Incidentally when scanning the magazines, do you keep them together or remove the staples? Do you scan at A5, A4 or other sizes?

I think you are creating a valuable resource that others should help with and create for the good of the Society.

Re: RO Archive

Posted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:13 am
by Peter Hall
I too understood that digitalising earlier editions of the RO in a searchable format was an on going project building on the work started a number of years ago by Terry. Like 21275 I am very keen to be able to search diesel era ROs for the gems of information hidden in their pages. Currently I have to rely on ploughing through certain regular sections or looking in printed index's for possible references I require.

Following discussion at a regional meeting a few years ago I was telephoned by an MC member who inviting me to attend some Society sub-committee to discuss the matter of collections and digitisation. Having accepted I still await notification of venue and date. The fact these have not been forthcoming does suggest progress has stalled which I presumed is related to delays to the Library re-location project.

This though is certainly something that needs raising at the AGM as I can see no mention of progress in the Officers Reports.

21275 - Will you be at the AGM?

Re: RO Archive

Posted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:22 pm
by 21275

I'm afraid that I won't be at the AGM.

When scanning, I scan two pages at once, with the staples in. My magazines are in Easibinders, so I do not want to destaple them. Nevertheless, I am able to take the magazines out of the Easibinder to scan them on a flat-bed scanner. I scan at 400dpi, the covers are in colour and the body of the magazine is in greyscale. I completed 1972 yesterday. The files are in pdf format and can be viewed on-screen two magazine pages at at time, just like you were reading the magazine. All are OCR'd so are searchable and, as I said, I have created an Acrobat index, so can search all very quickly.
As an example, Peter, give me a topic in which you are interested and I will send you off-forum a file which contains the results of the search. You will need to look up each of the articles in your ROs. Its easiest to search for single words, loco numbers or simple phrases. Concepts and complicated search terms just don't work with Acrobat index. I can search the ROs for 1932-1972, 1976-1978, 2008-2017 inclusive. You will need to let me know your email address so that I can send the results file.
21275 (Bill King - South East branch)

Re: RO Archive

Posted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:25 pm
by 21275
I scan at the magazine's native size, it is near A4 when folded out flat. But as I scan at 400dpi, the files have pretty good resolution and the pictures look great on the screen. The OCR is pretty successful at that resolution, although for some reason nothing on the front page gets recognised.

Re: RO Archive

Posted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:39 pm
by Ian Prince
The Society should set up an authorised set of members to scan and submit pdfs for archive purposes, which would allow a common standard to be adopted and the Society to benefit from members input without it being too onerous upon any individual.

A positive way forward?

Re: RO Archive

Posted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:13 am
by webmaster
The specification for the new website includes the ability to offer paid for downloads and my understanding is that this facility will be used to offer a complete archive of RO back issues.