How do you digitise a magazine archive?

                                                                                A selection of Opera back issues.

This year brings us the first International Digital Preservation Day — a celebration of materials preserved by digital conservation. Exact Editions aims to mark the day by exhibiting notable pages from 12 of their most ambitious archive projects. Explore original writings by young American novelists in a 1979 issue of Granta, or view the world through a lens of pre-war wanderlust, in the first ever issue of Geographical (1935). These back issues are wonderfully preserved, simulating the original print format, including original advertisements, covers, and yet the aim of Exact Editions extends beyond preservation. Their platform is refined, providing auxiliary benefits for users and researchers alike, including comprehensive search functions, and social media integration, as well as the opportunity for publishers to host pictures and videos alongside their magazines.

So how are these digital archives created? The Exact Editions Production team works with both publishing and scanning partners to bring archives to fruition; the first step — to assess how many print back issues will need to be scanned. Exact Editions currently works with two scanning partners: Cleardata Document Scanning Services, for destructible scanning projects (i.e. print issues that can be cut down the spine), and The British Library for publications that need to remain intact, or as a resource to find otherwise extinct back issues. For example, the scanning of Creative Review, a recent project launched earlier this year, was conducted entirely by the British Library, and most of its back issues sourced within the library itself.

                                                                        A selection of Creative Review back issues.

Once Exact Editions has received the scanned files for a particular archive, the Production team undergoes an extensive process of quality control. This involves ensuring that the pagination of each issue is correct, that pages are cropped and all advertisements and covers, including back covers, are present — Exact Editions likes to replicate the original print format wherever possible. The Production department also ensures that all files are fully OCR’d (i.e. the text recognised) so that the archive will lend itself to advanced search tools and linking facilities. Once uploaded to our platform, the Production team processes each issue individually, ensuring that contents pages are linked, and arranging the issues chronologically.

When it comes to launching an archive, Exact Editions organises an integrated digital push, comprised of several key promotional activities. These include an initial press release, distributed to an extensive list of contacts within the publishing community, as well as a push through social media channels, aimed at both the consumer and library markets. Exact Editions also provides a marketing resource pack for publishers, including promotional images, and demo video, as well as offering copywriting advice for publisher websites, newsletters or email marketing. The Marketing team later initiates a comprehensive email marketing campaign, in order to drive up subscriptions, and generate sales for the publisher.

From its print conception, to digital launch, the Exact Editions team ensures that a magazine’s archive is preserved to the highest standard, meeting the demand, particularly in the library market, for digital historical content. Exact Editions is a unique company, it’s aims twofold: to preserve the original “look” and format of a magazine’s archive, and to improve a user’s reading experience with advanced digital features. It is in this vein that Exact Editions celebrates Digital Preservation Day 2017.

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