QST Archives on CDROM Out of Print?????

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It is my understanding that the League in keeping with it's ever "bottom-line oriented" business philosophy will discontinue offering the earlier QST Archives on CD-ROM as their current stocks are sold.  They recently stated officially that they do not intend on replenishing them although they are considering "alternatives".  There is a running thread on the CCA Mail reflector and I have been following it closely. 

I would like to refer back to an article here in February where the QST CD-ROM Archives are discussed.  It is not my intention to rehash old information but I feel that a recent development regarding these archives has just come up that we all must be made aware.

For those who are not familiar with the February thread here it is:


Someone recently attempted to order the set from the 1950s unsuccessfully and received the following message from Zoe Belliveau, KB1MPK, who lists her job function as a Senior Product Fulfillment Representative:

Dear XXX
Thank you for your message.  I am happy to help today.  As the QST's on CD stock out we will not be replenishing our stock.  The items will be discontinued.  I've included in details below on which CD's are in stock.  Please let know if you have further questions and have a great day.

These are the CD sets that are listed as out of stock.
  a.. QST View CD-ROM 1950-59 #6435 Sold Out! (last of the "Golden Years".
  a.. QST View CD-ROM 1980-84 #5765 Sold Out!
  a.. QST View CD-ROM 1995-99 #8497 Sold Out!
  a.. QST View CD-ROM 2000-2004 #9418 Sold Out!

This is by no means a solicitation to purchase them before they run out.  From what I understand Radio Era Archives of Dallas TX did the scans under contract to the League and I always wondered why the League did not insist that the material be scanned into the Adobe Acrobat format.  The format used, "QST-View" is proprietary and simply doesn't cut it as far as I am concerned.  The scans are mediocre at best, all in black and white.  They were saved as TIFF files which is good because they could be converted to .pdf with some effort.

I am thinking that if indeed the demand for the earlier QST years (prior to 1995) is indeed insufficient to justify another production run perhaps we should demand that the League would place this material in the public domain for the true enthusiasts, both now and of the future.  If you are an ARRL member just e-mail your Division Director and tell him/her what you want.  These valuable historical documents MUST be made freely available to researchers in the future. 

What do YOU think?  Can we persuade them to offer them up to the Public Domain for posterity???


MisterMike, W1RC

PS: This is the response that was sent by Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R , ARRL Sales and Marketing Manager in response to the message sent to Dave Sumner who is off in Geneva at WARC-07.

Dave Sumner shared your message with the ARRL publication sales team. We have received a handful of inquiries from Collins Radio enthusiasts this week seeking background on our decision to discontinue the QST View CD-ROM collections. Most of this CD collection was produced over 10 years ago, includes black-and-white scans, and software that supports a limited search feature to browse articles by title and author. The CDs were produced in sets covering 5 or 10 years of QST magazine, and each set includes multiple CD-ROMs.
  We regret that some of the QST View sets have stocked-out. We had recently investigated options for reproducing the sets, recent customer feedback, demand, and alternative ways to fulfill this digital archive. We learned the following:
  ·         The current demand for QST View will not support the expense associated with re-manufacturing, royalty, carrying costs, and marketing.

  ·         We receive increasing complaints about the resolution-quality of the page-scans.

  ·         Customers have struggled with the product’s limited indexing and search capability (no full-text search).

  ·         QST View is increasingly incompatible with some computer configurations.

We presently fulfill the sets with a separate software engine on CD. Nearly half of all our software support inquiries have been associated with these collections—which is disproportionably high when compared to the little amount of support we manage for our high-demand CDs such as The ARRL Handbook and annually-produced periodical collections.
  While we are sorry to retire the current version of QST View, we will continue to pursue a new path for managing ARRL’s large collection of archived media in an electronic form. Some of our initial research has included web-based solutions—all extremely expensive and requiring substantial upfront investment (new scans, indexing, etc.), for which we’re not sure we’ll recoup in demand. We’re also investigating some on-demand CD/DVD manufacturing and fulfillment options, though this option will still require an entirely new software product or a significant overhaul of the current product.
  We will continue to offer the more popular annually-produced “ARRL Periodicals on CD-ROM” product. These single-year CDs are available for 1995 through present. This product supports a more enduring electronic media format.
  Although the current version of QST View has reached the end of its lifespan, we want to assure our valued ARRL members and customers that our consideration of alternatives is ongoing.
  Sincerely and 73,
  Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R,
  Sales and Marketing Manager

Good point Mike, if the League is not going to support the project any longer, why not release the raw scans?
Otherwise the material is "dead" and no one benefits from it.

I wonder if they have some sort of agreement with the company which scanned it that may prevent this? Perhaps there was a revenue sharing agreement, or some other prohibition. Otherwise, I would think a letter writing/email campaign may shake something loose from the tree.

It does not have to be a complex thing, even if it was simply a web based site, either open to the general public, or accessible for members (the League would love that benefit!), something like this -->  http://www.openlibrary.org/details/visionbyradiorad00jenkrich

On the other hand, just imagine if the League contracted with someone to do a first class scan with new technology, with high quality scans, color images, and the proper marketing, I think the demand would more than be there.

I suspect a large part of what the League may view as "slow sales" could be tied to two factors:

1) The low quality of the scans, and the low grade software interface to access the scans. Color QST covers were not reproduced, the black and white text often appears as gray, not making the easiest reading. Also because of the CDROM format, the set was spread across multiple disks, rather than being burned on a single DVD.

2) At the time of the original release, many were not quite as comfortable living in a "digital world", keeping and viewing photos, music and other media on the computer rather than in hard form. This has changed considerably over the last 5-10 years.

The beauty of releasing the data, or having someone do it again with today's technology is clear. Once it was scanned digitally, then it could be reprinted per article, issue, year, etc. You're correct the old scans and software used is of little value, other than for light reading, its certainly not "arm chair" copy!

Google is doing just this with books currently in the public domain, and they are doing it in the usual Google first rate manner.
See --> http://www.google.com/press/pressrel/print_library.html

Any one know any hams at Google?

73 Bruce W1UJR

I have 1950~1959 if you need a copy burned.

So you scan the files into a data base...how much effort is it to down load a file to a CD. Even a light demand requires almost no effort for the arrl.
1 plug in master CD
2 plug in blank CD
3 copy
4 mail CD
5 return master
6 cash check
Doesn't sound like it takes a rocket designer to do this

Quote from: WA1GFZ on November 10, 2007, 09:24:39 AM

So you scan the files into a data base...how much effort is it to down load a file to a CD. Even a light demand requires almost no effort for the arrl.
1 plug in master CD
2 plug in blank CD
3 copy
4 mail CD
5 return master
6 cash check
Doesn't sound like it takes a rocket designer to do this

You are correct Frank but you left one thing out.  It takes PERMISSION.  And therein lies the trick.  Timing is everything!  Now is the time to ask for it as they obviously undervalue their archives to the point of not producing them any longer which can be used as an argument in our favour..


Any of you ARRL types in the New England Division can e-mail your Vice Director Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF.  His e-mail is: k1twf@arrl.org.  Don't waste your time with the New England Director.  He panders too much to the contesters and the vintage side of things don't interest him!  The rest of you can easily determine who your Director is.  Ask him to please support the archives of QST be placed in the public domain.  Once this is done any improvements and enhancements to the original scans can be freely made.




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