New Humanist Archive — A Feat of Preservation

Every issue of the New Humanist and its predecessors dating back to 1885 is now available through the state-of-the-art digital edition developed in partnership with Exact Editions. We like to think that those historical issues have now moved into the ‘safe pile’. In their digital format, they will stride forth into the future to be read by new generations of readers and thinkers.

What makes this archive special is that it contains a full set of periodicals, from Watts’s Literary Guide through to New Humanist, as well as journals such as the Agnostic Annual and Question. This is the first time these periodicals have been collectively organised into a digital database and this illustrates how not-in-print publications can be revived to see new usage. Alongside the latest issue of New Humanist, subscribers will also be able to travel back to trace the development of the atheist, humanist and rationalist movements since the RA was founded in 1885. Before this intervention, those older issues may have been gathering dust on a shelf, now they will play an active role in the studies of academics around the world.

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The development of covers over the years

Building digital archives to preserve valuable voices and historical content is an integral element of maintaining a connection to our past, which is just as important as our future. As information providers, magazines are unique in the sense that they are often focused on a particular topic, providing readers with detailed, high-quality and reliable commentary. Not only that but they are exhibitions of the design methods and stylistic choices used by different generations. Exact Editions takes great pride in preserving every page of every issue, including advertisements, letters from readers and even expired special offers! The New Humanist archive is a perfect example of this as you can watch the magazine develop over several generations. From the early days of black and white text, to the tentative uses of coloured covers in the 30s and 40s, followed by the use of photographs to attract attention from the 60s to the 90s, and then from 2000 onwards we can observe the prominence of graphic design and illustration. It is through digital preservation that we are able to track these developments so readily.

We are sometimes asked, “How can you guarantee that these magazines will survive the technological development of the next 10 or 50 years?” Realistically, it is difficult to predict how technology is going to shift even in the next 5 years, but we are acutely aware of what is at stake. Take, for example, VR or AR (Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality). These technologies look as though they may be real and widespread by 2024, it is still too early to say how they will work with our cultural heritage, but we believe that the emphasis will be on preserving the exact look and feel of the magazines. Magazines are defined by their pages and content, that has not, and will not, change. We stick to our guns when we say that magazines are in a strong position for survival. Read our article on the Future of Magazines for more insight into this claim.

To finish, a thought experiment — imagine Augmented Reality tools interacting with magazines in 2024. Do you think those virtual, digital objects for the AR headsets will be manipulating something that feels like an ebook, or a stream of XML? Or will we be virtually playing with something that looks like a print magazine? Of course, if magazines become streams of XML from the user point of experience, then that is what we should be preserving. But for now, we should aim to preserve the content in the form in which we experience it and use digital formats that look as though they might last a long time. PDFs, JPEGs and ASCII all have that aura of reasonable longevity and our work with companies such as Portico ensures the content is safeguarded for future generations.

Explore the Archive

Through the years, the Rationalist Association has published cutting-edge articles on an array of topics such as religion, poetry and history. To celebrate the World Digital Preservation Day, we have opened up some of the best articles in the archive for readers to enjoy.

George Bernard Shaw, “What is my Religious Faith?” — Rationalist Annual, 1945.

Bertrand Russell, “Are the World’s Troubles due to Decay of Faith?” — Rationalist Annual, 1954.

Philip Larkin, “This be the Verse.” — The Humanist, August 1971.

Richard Dawkins, “Lions 10, Christians nil.” — New Humanist, June 1992.

Philip Pullman, “The Cuckoo’s Nest.” — New Humanist, Winter 2014.

Exact Editions 2017 — It’s a Wrap!

First set

With a new year on the horizon, now is the perfect time to kick back, relax and bunker down for winter. But before you do that, it’s worth thinking about how much you’ve achieved this year and what you can do better next year.

Exact Editions can look back at 2017 fondly as a record-breaking number of libraries around the world are now accessing magazines and their archives using the platform. We have been exceptionally busy from January to December; acquiring a plethora of new and diverse titles (which we’re showing off in this post), developing extensive archives, adding useful technical features; and, of course, starting this new blog stream for librarians!

Second set

As you can see, there has been an increased focus on engagement with our users and improving the user experience. For example, check out our blog detailing the best ways to make the most of your Exact Editions subscription: The Holy Grail.

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Some of our 2017 highlights:

  • Perpetual Access — Several more magazines are now available to purchase with Perpetual Access. Exact Editions offer a uniquely comprehensive product for libraries, with purchases including the complete archive of the magazine as well as all future issues.
    The full list of participating publishers can be found here: https://institutions.exacteditions.com/showcases/perpetual
  • Library Board — This year, Exact Editions have enlisted the wisdom of several leading librarians and industry experts, who will be consulted on a bi-annual basis to offer thoughts on two or three important topics.
    You can read the introductory blog post here.
  • K-Bart — With improved metadata offerings, Exact Editions are continuously working to ensure that our content is becoming increasingly straightforward to find within library management systems. We’re doing whatever we can to make your lives just that little bit easier!

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So, what’s in the pipeline for 2018?

  • MARC Records — MARC Records are available for all our titles and can be requested from the start of 2018. This should improve Exact Editions’ catalogue compatibility and discoverability, which in turn should raise usage statistics and content visibility.
  • COUNTER Compliant Usage Statistics — Speaking of usage, another primary goal of 2018 will be to make our stats available on COUNTER. We are aware this is a favoured platform for librarians, and we are keen to migrate our statistics over to COUNTER so that we can offer as much transparency as possible.
  • Library Q&A thread — We will be conducting brief interviews with librarians to talk about periodicals, the growth of digital resources and what they hope for in the future. Would you like to participate? Get in touch with us to give your opinions on the industry.
  • RA21 — Exact Editions very recently attended a conference about the RA21 project, which aims to optimise institutional access to online resources, with a particular focus on remote usage. We will continue to keep updated with potential alternatives to IP-authentication in 2018 and will post any news on our blog.
    Read more about RA21 here: https://ra21.org/index.php/what-is-ra21/
  • Content Acquisition — As always there will be a strong drive for new content on the site across a variety of subjects. If there’s a particular magazine you’d like to see on the platform in 2018, why not recommend it to us via: institutions@exacteditions.com.

We’ll be back in 2018 with regular updates.

From everyone at Exact Editions, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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Make the most of your Exact Editions subscription

Hi, so you’ve started your Exact Editions subscription, what next? The platform is packed with useful features created to help you explore the magazine, here are some tips on how to get started:

IP Authenticated Access
Exact Editions institutional subscriptions work using IP authenticated access, so viewing magazines is as simple as clicking a link. Make sure to share this link with your users so they can access the magazine, ideally this should be highly visible on your site to encourage usage. If you are unsure about which link you need for the resource, or would like some advice on increasing usage, please contact us via: institutions@exacteditions.com

Searching and Browsing
Perhaps the most powerful feature of the Exact Editions platform is the ability to search complete archives by keyword, as well as supporting Boolean search. The search function of Exact Editions is designed to enhance the content of the magazines, providing a superb research tool for specific research topics.

To search a magazine, simply type in your term on the search bar and let the magic happen. For example; a reader of Creative Review may want to search for the influence of technology in the world of art. As you can see in the screenshot below, there are over 200 results for technology in the archive, which you can sort by relevance or date.

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Search results for ‘Technology’ in the complete Creative Review archive

You can then click the entry which you wish to view, and the word you searched for will be highlighted in the text, see example below:

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Search results for ‘Technology’ in Creative Review, February 2005, Page 40

Issue Stacking
The Exact Editions platform automatically stacks issues into chronological format, organised by the year in which they were published. This may seem like a small feature, but don’t be fooled — looking for sources on a specific era of music, historical event or artistic movement has never been easier.

The stacking feature combines perfectly with the searching function as users can search for specific terms across the entire archive, specific decades, years and issues.

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Issue stacking for Sight & Sound from the 2000’s

Referencing

Another excellent feature of the Exact Editions platform is that every page has its own unique URL, meaning that it couldn’t possibly be easier for students to cite their sources (so now they have no excuse!). Unique URLs also mean it is possible for users to bookmark specific pages for future browsing — which could be useful for academic research or for using the resource in a seminar/presentation.

The toolbar located at the bottom of every page offers several options to share pages by email or through Social Media channels, as well as the ability to save individual pages in PDF format for offline use.

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Image showing the Unique URL, and the toolbar which is visible on every Exact Editions page

The Exact Editions App
All magazine subscriptions are available to view on Web, iOS and Android devices. This can be done by downloading the Exactly app and connecting to the institutional wi-fi. If the user is within the IP ranges provided by the institution then the magazine will appear automatically without any need to login.

The app allows users to save entire issues for offline use, making Exact Editions magazines highly portable and accessible wherever you are. Pages can be bookmarked and the search function works in the same way as the Web versions.

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iPad version of Granta, including the in-app toolbar

So there you have it — a whistle stop tour of Exact Editions!

If you have any questions our subscriptions team are available at: institutions@exacteditions.com

Use our Search Technology to get the most out of your Subscription

Did you know that your Exact Editions subscription includes unlimited and free access to unique searching tools both online and in the Apps? Ideal for academic research, the technology allows you to quickly locate topics throughout a magazine’s archive. This can be particularly useful for Universities and Libraries, with each of the various functions specifically designed to help readers get the most out of the available content.

To get started, just sign in using your Exact Editions account details and select the title in which you wish to search. To narrow down a search when using one of the Apps, you can select a ‘stack’ to limit results to a particular decade or year. Also using the App, you can try out the search functions before buying a subscription.

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To make search results more precise, the technology incorporates three of the primary Boolean search operators (explained below). Click here to learn about Boolean search and here for a  more comprehensive list of Boolean functions.

1. Search for a Single Word or Combination of Words

This is as straight forward as it sounds; simply enter words into the field in the top right hand corner of the screen and click ‘Search’. This provides you with a complete list of results within the selected issue, title or time frame. Entering more than one word will bring up all pages that include each of the entered words, for example all pages that include London AND Concerto AND Orchestra:

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2. Search Using a Dash to Exclude Words

By placing a dash symbol directly before the second word of a search, your results will show all archive pages that display the first word but not the second. For example, entering Philharmonic -Orchestra will bring up all pages that include the word Philharmonic but not the word Orchestra:

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3. Either or Both: Search Using a Vertical Bar

Entering vertical bars, or ‘pipe’ symbols, into your search activates the “Either or Both” search function. To do this, place the symbol directly before all entered words. For example, searching for |Philharmonic |Concerto will provide you with all pages that include EITHER Philharmonic or Concerto or BOTH of these words.

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Using a Combination of Boolean Search Functions

If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, you can narrow down your search even further by combining the three functions explained above. For example, combine the Standard Search with the Dash & Vertical Bar functions:

London |Philharmonic |Concerto -Orchestra

Pages MUST include London, EITHER Philharmonic or Concerto or BOTH, EXCLUDES Orchestra

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Search Using Quotation Marks

Just like searching on Google, you can also use the technology to track down a specific term or phrase mentioned anywhere in the archive by placing the words in the correct order between quotation marks. This function is perfect for finding topic-specific terms instantly:

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Use the App to Save your Searches as Bookmarks

Finally, once you have completed your search and found what you are looking for, you can save the results as bookmarks for future reference. To save individual pages, simply click on the Actions button in the top left hand corner of the screen, followed by the Bookmarks Icon. This will bring up a new window entitled ‘Add Bookmark’, giving you the possibility to assign it a name and save it. Once this is done, your new Bookmark will appear under the Bookmarks tab for speedy access:

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To save all search results as Bookmarks, select the option “Bookmark All” which appears at the top of the Search Results window. This will automatically create a new folder within the Bookmarks tab containing your search results:

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The “Bookmark All” function is particularly useful when, as shown above, a very large number of results is returned. By using this function, you can easily check through and refer back to previous research without having to repeat the process.

Why not take a look at the extensive archives offered by some of our publishing partners? Click on the banners below to visit our Institutional Shop:

1121 back issues:

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411 back issues:

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389 back issues: 

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To learn more about getting the most out of an archive or database when carrying out research, we suggest consulting this informative piece on Searching Article Databases

If you have any questions about searching in an archive, or if you have any feedback about the functions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by sending an email to support@exacteditions.com.

Happy searching!

March 2015

Transition Free Press joins the Apple Newsstand

We’re thrilled to announce that Transition Free Press has joined the Exact Editions webstore, and is now making it’s debut in the Apple Newsstand.

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Transition Free Press is a quarterly newspaper, built around the idea of sustainable communities and towns, with emphasis on the environment and community spirit. The focus is always on solutions, so if you’re looking for a positive and inspiring break from the standard doom-and-gloom press, this is the title for you!

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The app incorporates all the features you’ve come to expect from Exact Editions (comprehensive search, offline bookmarked content and social media sharing, to name a few) and also comes with ground-breaking ByPlace™ technology enabled.

Available on the App Store