The magazines are all stored in springback binders, one year (usually 12 issues) per binder. Springback binders are basically like a big bulldog clip. By bending back both halves of the cover, the folder with the magazines inside can be carefully removed.
Use a staple remover to carefully remove the staples from the magazine. For the old magazines the staples are generally rusty in any case. Removing staples means that the pages can be made to lie completely flat on the scanner, which is critical for a high quality scan. Make sure that you keep the pages in the correct order!
Scan the pages one at a time, into a multipage PDF.
I use the following settings:
High end office scanners normally default to PDF these days. Normally you have about 60 seconds after you have scanned the previous page to scan the next page, in order to keep it as one document. I find that it takes about 15 seconds/page once you get going.
It may be possible to use the automatic document feeder for more recent magazines. The main risk with using the automatic document feeder is that if something goes wrong, it may damage the pages. However, most of the magazines (anything prior to 1984) are quarto size, not A4, which may make automatic scanning more difficult.
Before you start scanning in earnest, check that the quality of the scan is as high as possible. Spend some time trying various settings to see which works best. Any areas that are not text/pictures should ideally come out white in the scan. Any speckles or colouring reduce the ability to subsequently OCR the documents, as the below examples show.
1. Black and white – text/line art setting
Result of OCR
the lap of luxury. IYOu know", said Frank, "a tourist's life won't be bad." "No", said Snow, "just on the tarn." But we were all looking forward to it!
2. Black and white – text only setting Result of OCR
the lap of luxury. "You know", said Frank, "a tourist's life won't be bad." "No", said Snow, "just on the turn." But we were all looking forward to it!
The margins are not even, so take this into account when you are scanning, and shift the pages one way or the other, otherwise you may lose text off the sides. This is primarily an issue for older magazines which were printed on quarto paper, which is wider than A4. Newer ones are A4 and the text should fit on an A4 page regardless.
I suggest scanning the various cover sections (front cover, inside front cover, back cover, inside back cover) separately. This makes it cheaper and easier to OCR. For the cover (and any advertisement pages), I use a low density setting, as otherwise it comes out very dark. Again, some trial and error may be needed to get good results.
Save the magazine with the following names:
In a lot of cases, the same inside covers and back cover are used over a year. You only need to scan it once. Name them:
More recent magazines may not have issue numbers, in which case you can leave it out eg 198701.pdf
I can compile the various sections back into a magazine for the website. If you make a mistake (eg a page scans badly, page out of order) make a note of it and just keep scanning. For badly scanned pages, either rescan the page straight away, or scan it separately afterwards. I have software which can manipulate/insert/remove pages after the fact. This is usually easier than starting again.
Zip sets of PDF files together (max of about 10MB per zip file) and email them. Include a note explaining any errors that need to be corrected or pages rearranged.
Insert the magazines back inside the springback binder. Don't restaple them – we'll look for a better method of archiving that doesn't mark the magazines.