So, is there any hope Pdf return?
We hope so, at some point. Sorry I can't give a better answer than that for now - but I just don't have one.
RE: #43 ("angry negativity") - I don't think there's been very much angry negativity, at least not to excess; for example, I feel my previous comment wasn't "angry" - I made what I feel to be a reasonable suggestion under the circumstances, and am myself hugely disappointed that the site has reached such a low state. Regardless, the insistence that the pdfs are somehow a 'minor' part of the site is incomprehensible to me. The last couple times I've tried to search for reviews, the text didn't even come up garbled, it simply cut off after some of the info on the recording (artists, etc.). There _was_ no text review, so then I needed the pdf to be able to see anything yet the pdfs aren't available anymore. This just happened twice in the last week, the only two times I've even attempted to find a review on the Gramophone archive for a long time. It's just miserable. (I, for one, don't want to be an angry person and I try not to make 'angry' statements; I don't think my last statement was - though certainly tinged with melancholia and disappointment...)
I've found myself accidentally arriving at Gramophone archive pages via searches and links from other articles about issues I've been interested in (history of disc and tape manufacture/duplication) and the reason I created an account was purely to comment on this issue, because it has been the one glaring anomaly I have come across compared to the online versions of other journals' archives.
I have to agree that the efficacy of the OCR on Gramophone is particularly poor, and on articles that refer to technical measurements, it really shows up. Numerical values, fractions and units are never correct. It's impossible to determine what an author was reporting in relation to technical measurements made.
I too tried for ages to find ways of enlarging the thumbnails shown on the screen, and was surprised to find no apparent way of doing so. I too have used Billboard archives on Google Books for a year or two now and find it flawless. Whereas the occasional error appears, it's a very rare occurrence, and at least I can actually still see the original image of the text. I would be unlikely to search on mathematical expressions, so it doesn't matter so much if they have been encoded correctly or not, but the important thing is I can see them, and the OCR will have been good enough to allow reliable searching of the prosaic text surrounding it.
It seems reading through this post trying to come up with a solution is something that causes the readership and publication team to just scratch their heads over - as if somehow the only problem to overcome is how to satisfy copyright holders that a way of delivering the whole page image can be provided that makes piracy difficult.
Surely that approach is missing the whole point of what people are bemoaning the lack of - quality text. Surely the best avenue to have explored would have been to make available the original scans of the text blocks only, and not of pictorial content. The OCR text could be available also, but with the scanned original by the side (or made switchable-to as an option). In this way, anything that involves obscure characters, formulas or equations could be read from the scan. In fact, I'm pretty sure OCR software can be configured to leave such items intact as graphical images rather than try to convert - in other words, if an orphaned line of text that is not apparently part of a block paragraph, assume it's some sort of typographical legend (it could be a calculation, a symbol or drawing of some sort) and include as-is.
From my point of view, there is much material of interest here but, for someone who is looking for technical details, the OCR text really is absolutely useless.
Oh. What a shame. I hadn't been on in a while, and I wondered why I couldn't look at PDF's. The posts prior to this express my disappointment adequately, but I still wanted to add my own voice to the chorus.
I see the archive home page still has a little section on the right that invites you to "Sign Up for My Archive". "You will be able to read original pages as PDFs.." it says. Ah - if only that were true.....
Another year passed away...
so, is there any hope Pdf return?
I am another disappointed reader whose youth is fast fading while waiting and hoping for the return of the PDFs...
The thing is that back when the PDFs were still up, when the Archive was still new (I no longer even remember how long it has been), I contacted Gramophone via email offering to proofread the OCR texts for free. I have since done proofreading (in addition to writing) professionally. But I never received any reply from Gramophone.
I confess I was surprised and disappointed by this. And it seems like nothing is happening on the PDF front. (I also just received an email from Haymarket advertising "Gramaphone". Hmm...)
It is not my intention to be negative, but all these things are fixable, whether with watermarks on the PDFs or through some other means. Gramophone has a marvellous back catalogue of reading material (and pictures!) to offer, but right now it is fading to history.
I agree wholeheartedly Simo.
The inertia on the part of Haymarket to do something about the PDFs is a dreadful waste. We've had men on the moon for goodness' sake! Adding a watermark to PDFs cannot be beyond the wit of man!
As you rightly say, looking at the illustrations and advertisements was one of the great joys. While it's nice to have the archive in any form, I'd much prefer to see a yellowed-with-age original page than an error-riddled OCR attempt extolling the delights of Karl 130hm&s Meistersinger von Niirbergt, indeed who could forget Hans Kiiapertsbusch on the podium or in the Decca control room, the legendary John Cuisbaw? Give me a break!
"All else is gaslight" Karajan on the advent of digital recording techniques.
Using Google Image to find a picture of a 1959 Bush Radiogram (SRG86), my heart leapt when I got a hit from The Gramophone archive:
"Oh my goodness," I thought, "the archive PDFs are back online!"
I was wrong, though, wasn't I? How disappointing.
Instead of pining over long-dead pdfs let us petition the staff to arrange a volunteer working group for OCR improvement. Probably they might share those christing pdfs with members of the team for proofreading purposes. Having correct searchable text on the site (and in search engine) is always better than downloading packs of copyrighted pics, I reckon.
P.S. As for 5-year-old OCR I strongly suspect it was some dirt cheap I.R.I.S. algorithm which is no FineReader, of course.