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This post may well be piling Pelion on Ossa in view of previous posts, but I really must echo almost everything that's been said. The 'Archive' is, for all practical purposes, useless to any serious Gramophone reader - and that must surely describe everyone who wishes to use it. I have just tried a search on 'Tennstedt' only to come up with no results! This may be a temporary aberration, but I strongly doubt it. Even if - a rather big if - the pdf problem is ever solved it is a sorry substitute for the disappearance of Gramofile, the existence of which was the deciding factor in my disposing of 40 years' copies of Gramophone magazine.
Is there any prospect whatever of Gramofile (or a usable equivalent) being reintroduced? I assume, in rather jaundiced fashion, that the reply will be along the usual anodyne lines of 'we are looking at this carefully', but would be very happy to be proved wrong.
Whilst the following has no direct bearing on the above, it does, I think, further illustrate the declining standards of the magazine's administration.Having bought Gramophone every month without fail for 40 years, I was pleased to be given the 'gift' of a subscription last Christmas. The first two months' copies did not arrive and the subscription office had to be called repeatedly. Delivery eventually started, but the introductory offer - heavily trumpeted every month - did not. There is no advantage that I can see in subscribing when I can pop into WH Smith and pick up a copy.
I appreciate this has been something of a personal rant, but I'm sure that it, and previous contributors, amply illustrate that what was previously a magazine which was regarded as an institution now looks as though it is being run from one.
It seems that it's either silence or spin from the administration on this one which is very disappointing to all of us long term readers and collectors. Apart from not being able to look at some issues at all (for instance, try to look up the original review of Britten's own recording of the War Requiem - the whole issue isn't available!) the search facility is hopelessly inadequate. I still find myself resorting to a 1984 copy of the Gramophone Classical Catalogue as a starting point for many older recordings. Luckily I didn't get round to clearing out my collection which is complete back to 1967.
The archive page STILL says "able to read original pages as PDFs".
Is nobody taking note of this forum?
Let me make this as simple as possible: I am a subscriber and therefore pay for the content of the magazine ( and am very happy to do so).So why can't I have unfettered access to the archive as pdf's? Other publishers do this.
You still don't have any idea whether solutions that have worked for other publications will satisfy the rights-holders you are trying to appease? Really? Have you tried actually to get some idea about it? It really does sound from all the posts from people at Gramophone that, basically, behind the scenes the website has been such a compounded disaster that your team has fallen apart from the pressure of having inadequate resources even to attempt to fix the fundamental problems and so you can't even do any work anymore or something. I mean why maintain the website at all when, without the pdfs, it just doesn't even work, in practical terms? If you don't have a decent amount of funding to do anything, at least just admit it and take the whole failed project off the web as a cost-savings that might (theoretically) allow you to spend some money on something worthwhile -- like getting a Gramofile 2.0 up and running! That's what everybody wants, not this broken, comprehensive failure of a website. Goodness knows it's a bitter pill to swallow but just get back on track already! Please! I think everybody is starting to get the sense that the magazine itself is dying (as in numerous comments in other threads about collapsed editorial quality in recent years), not just the website. If that isn't actually the case, you're shooting yourselves unnecessarily in the foot, prestige-wise, and that can create real problems for you if people give up on the Gramophone "brand" entirely - as I'm starting to do, for example.
While you would expect me to say this, I really am not sure I understand what you're referring to with regards to a failed project and the site not working. The Archive PDF function is one - though I appreciate well-liked - aspect of a large website, on which a substantial number of news stories, blog entries, features, reviews and a new chart are added every week. You may also have seen the recent launch of the Gramophone Player - bringing music in high sound quality to the site for the first time, a really very substantial project for us. All of this is the work of a number of dedicated colleagues and freelancers. That one aspect may have caused us, and you, unexpected and unfortunate disappointment (in the short term, as I and colleagues have stressed) is a shame, but I hardly think it constitutes the claims you are making, and might I also point out the Archive is - and remains for now - free.
Editor and Publisher, Gramophone
This site does seem to attract a disproportionate amount of angry negativity over relatively minor issues or comments. I myself made the mistake of expressing a little enthusiasm a while back and you would have thought I was advocating higher bonuses for bankers judging by the reaction.
No, chill guys. Listening to music helps. (On the high bitrate Gramophone Player for instance).
Re JD's post ( #40), I realise the difficulty of content rights when a) a title has been in publication for a long time and b) has had a change of ownership along the way. And, yes, I do know how long it takes to properly scan and integrate material into a website- and time is money. Nevertheless, I would have thought that perhaps the last 10 years could be available which roughly equates to when Haymarket purchased Gramophone!
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.
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