Yesterday, after several months of work, The Wire magazine on the Exact Editions platform entered a new phase in which all the back issues are available to all the subscribers as a searchable and browseable resource. If you are an iPad user you need to pick up the freemium app here. It allows users to search all the content for free, and shows the search results in snippet form.
As a digital magazine, The Wire packs a staggering amount of information access into its £29.99 annual digital subscription. There are 353 issues now in the archive, so a very keen reader could just about get through the whole thing in a year. But that is not the way we are now reading stuff digitally. The current version of the Exact Editions platform (version 7.0) is giving more weight to tools which encourage the different style of reading that we are all learning to use with digital publications. I think of them as the three “S’s”: searching, syncing and sharing.
For example, the latest issue of the Wire has an article about a cool sounding musician Ryoko Akama. Having read the article, I turned to the array of back issues and searched for by name through all the back issues. It turns out that the Wire has been writing about her since 2009 and it is easy for me to then sync and save all the pages on which she is mentioned. Once I have these search results sync-ed they show up on my Bookmarks.
Searches for Ryoko Akama saved and bookmarked for future reference
Since these pages have now been located and are held on the device I can tweet, message or email a reference to any page that I know will appeal to my friends who share an interest in electroacoustic music.
At the top end of the magazine market, publications of real quality are seen as valuable and prestigious publications, either because they are very elegantly and carefully designed and edited, or because they are sources of real expertise on the subjects that they cover. Some magazines are both beautiful and authoritative and those are the magazines that have most to gain from going to a full archive and to choose digital solutions that encourage deep reading.