Gramofile - please can we have it back?

52 posts / 0 new
Last post
RE: Gramofile - please can we have it back?

I agree that the search functionality of the Gramophone archive is surprisingly light years behind that offered by Gramofile. I do not understand why the search functionality of the archive cannot be enhanced to achieve this then we would have the best of both worlds plus, hopefully, a much improved ability to search through other aspects of the archive which Gramofile did not offer.

RE: Gramofile - please can we have it back?

The Archive was released way before being ready for "prime time". The searches usually stall out on me (and I'm on a very high speed internet connection) and when I do find something it's oten garbled. Trying to "browse" a Gramophone issue is a joke. I can't believe with its reputation Gramophone would send something like this out into the web. Take a look at the beautiful job the New Yorker magazine does with its digital version -- going back to the 1920s! The Archive is a great idea and would be a wonderful resource for those of us who do not want or are not able to save years of back issues. Take it down and start over, please!

RE: Gramofile - please can we have it back?

Yes, can we please have it back? It was a wonderful resource, as the Archive, frustratingly, is not, is not, is not. Bring back Gramofile!!!! Have I made my opinion sufficiently clear?

RE: Gramofile - please can we have it back?

As a relative newcomer to the website, I have never used Gramofile; but I do find the Archive very un-user friendly when tracking down reviews.  First of all, the awful typos - presumably some poor soul had to transcribe the originals manually?  (My favourite so far is Bach's 'Easier Oratorio'.  I laughed out loud at that one.)  I often have to open the Acrobat version of the page to make sense of some particular piece of gibberish, only to find, for example, that the text under a photograph or an embedded quotation has been incorporated in the transcription.  Secondly, I have often been unable to find a particular review which I know must be there, because it has been mentioned in another review, for example, or in the Editor's Choice section, although it doesn't come up in the search.  When I eventually manage to find the page in the relevant issue the transcription usually tells me "There are no articles on this page" when there clearly are, as I discover when I click on 'View as Acrobat'.  It's pretty shambolic.  

rogere
RE: Home

Absolutely agree @ gordonmd: "The index & search are painful because the OCR has so many errors. Searching seems to be a crude AND of terms, and poor OCR means you don't know what has been missed, as well as many false hits (Mahler's Symphony 86, anyone?)"

The OCR implementation is little short of abysmal. I've lost count of the number of searches I've made – looking for a review or an article that I knew existed, but could not remember the exact location – that have come up empty of the desired result ... only to discover, after lengthy and frustrating "manual" browsing through numerous issues, that the OCR had garbled the relevant keywords.

Even if more refined search features were introduced (OR and BUT NOT, for a start), there does not seem any obvious way to fix the OCR deficiencies in the current archive – the errors are too numerous, and short of inspecting every online issue cover to cover, how would one know whether they had all been caught?

For this reason, while the Archive has its (limited) uses, only a return of Gramofile would allow a real Review search functionality. Please bring it back as soon as possible. 

RE: Gramofile - please can we have it back?

I agree entirely! Gramofile did what it needed to, specifically and unambiguously. I have no doubt that the archive has all the same information, somewhere....... But why make it so difficult to find exactly what one needs. Please bring back Gramofile as an alternative.

RE: Gramofile - please can we have it back?

I absolutely agree. Bring it back asap.

RE: Gramofile - please can we have it back?

I'd like to respond to the many posts here about the Archive and Gramofile. Tackling the first, the honest but unhelpful answer would be that I do understand. As I mentioned elsewhere in this forum yesterday, digitising all our magazines dating back to 1923, printed in many decades' worth of fonts and styles, was a massive task, and the OCR (optical character recognition) technology available to us did bring with it a margin of error. While a small margin, it seems to have made quite a difference to the search (a particular problem is words with foreign characters, for example). It is something we are correcting as we go along (and I would encourage people to report errors they spot), but also something we may need to look at again. When it comes to reading the articles themselves, there is always the option to download the original page as a pdf if it seems too full of errors. And when searching, do use the item type (article, review etc), and date range menus, in the Advanced Search option.   

Now, Gramofile. The reason this was a much more accurate search facility is that it used metadata - composers, artists, works etc. The Archive doesn't use metadata, and instead 'reads' the whole text - it has to, as of course interviews, news stories and so on do not have any disc data as such. However, I should point out that the Archive was never built as a replacement for Gramofile - it was done as a separate project, out of our desire to make 85+ years of musical heritage available to the classical community online, and never intended to be searched as a reviews database. It was meant as a complement to Gramofile, which in any case only contained reviews back to 1983. However, this came to an end last summer when our old site - of which Gramofile was a part, and which was built in the '90s - finally succumbed to the hacks and viruses to which it had become increasingly vulnerable over the years. We had to take it down to protect the security both of our database, and of our site visitors. There are plans to return a reviews database to Gramophone - we are currently exploring how best to build it and to make it available to you. Your emphatic vote of support for its return has been noted, but for now I beg your patience.

Very few magazines of Gramophone's long heritage have taken the step of digitising everything and putting it online. So while we know our Archive is not a perfect offering at present, we still think it's a very exciting one, and we have had sufficient positive feedback to know that many people make extensive and rewarding use of it.

And as for Awards issues, there is a technical issue relating to a number of the Awards back issues. We hope to resolve it soon, but until it is, they can't appear online I'm afraid.

Martin

Editor and Publisher, Gramophone

RE: Gramofile - please can we have it back?

I do agree. Please restore Gramofile - or give a convincing reason why not!

RE: Gramofile - please can we have it back?

Martin Cullingford wrote:

... the OCR (optical character recognition) technology available to us did bring with it a margin of error.

Thank you to the ever-helpful Mr Cullingford for his honest reply.

One of the main issues when searching is the way that Gramophone uses superscripts in the headings of their reviews. This is of course very useful when reading the review, but it hinders searching.

For example, if you perform a search on the phrase "London Oratory School Choir", it gives no results. This is not a scanning error - you have to search on "aLondon Oratory School Choir" to find them!

There are nine other examples in this review alone, and reporting them individually is not really practical.

Pages

Log in or register to post comments

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£67/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2019