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Scan the Past!
(Digitize the Magazines) 

January 2011 update:

We all know that not everything survives, especially in its original form. The Museum's most vulnerable historic items are the vintage magazines that were printed on the least expensive and least durable paper; in fact, most of what are now considered historic magazines were printed on very poor quality paper. The history and information contained in those early issues of model car magazines cannot be lost: Coverage of the early events in the hobby, together with the great models created by early craftsmen, would be lost forever if each magazine crumbled into dust. We've noticed some deterioration in the magazines even though the Salt Lake City climate is nearly ideal for preserving vintage books and magazines.

Clearly, the loss of coverage of historic model car events and feature articles isn't acceptable, and the Museum decided several years ago that it couldn't tolerate such an inevitable result without doing something to preserve the images and information! Trustee Mark Benton developed a scanning protocol, and we invited interested and computer-savvy hobbyists to help us. For several years, dedicated hobbyists have been busily scanning vintage magazines and transferring those digital images onto DVDs. When finished with a label, those DVDs are shipped to the Museum and stored here. Scanned at 300 dpi per page, a full size magazine typically requires two DVDs. We know that, eventually, new storage technologies will develop, but right now we're in a foot race to get our magazines scanned while we can.

It's a time-consuming effort and gives evidence to the great dedication of our scanners. Right now, Dave Cura, Dave Best and Dave King have been scanning dozens of magazines for the Museum. In fact, it's difficult at times to keep these great guys supplied with the vintage magazines from the magazine collections.

As of October 2010, dozens of magazines had been digitalized and the almost entire run of Model Car Science magazines have been saved, with Car Model coming along nicely. As each disk is received from our dedicated scanners, we breathe a little easier knowing that the information on one more historic magazine is saved from oblivion.

If you have a good scanner, the capability to scan and transfer images to a DVD, and if you care about helping us preserve the past before it is lost forever, please contact Mark S. Gustavson at: msgsl@xmission.com

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The CDs on which each magazine is scanned are stored on two shelves in the library, arranged by title and then chronologically.

Scan The Past: Secure The Future
By Dave Best

Standing there outside the contest hall at GSL XXII, I never knew it would be so easy to make a guy happy. I mean, gee whiz, all I did was offer to scan a few magazines for the museum's Scan The Past program and there he was, blubbering with appreciation. OK, so I embellished on the "blubbering" thing, but those eyes were mighty sincere in saying "thank you." Mark Gustavson may be a pit bull in the courtroom, but he's a big old softie when it comes to the Museum!

So, why DID I offer to help out with this important project? I never really thought about it much until Mark asked me to write a little something for the newsletter. Well, it's simple really. Of course, it's about helping to preserve the history of the hobby we love so much. But, perhaps more importantly, it's about building a solid foundation of achievement and information for the up-and-coming youth. History provides a backdrop against which all future activity stands, so an appreciation for it can only enhance the experience. Who knows what the future will bring, but we do know that today's smaller community of modeling youth is swimming against the tide of video games, the Internet, and reality television when they choose to build something. Aside from actually going out and building models with the kids, this is another way we can encourage youth participation and contribute to the future health of this hobby – by providing the backdrop of history.

Truth of the matter is, I don't know why more guys don't raise their hand to help out with this project. You don't need a doctorate in Computer Science to get involved – just a PC, scanner and a willingness to help. The process itself is fairly straightforward, and we'll be happy to guide you through it. I usually just scan a couple of pages while I'm checking email, or waiting for paint to dry, so it's not like you have to sit there all day and do it.

And besides, the more folks we can get to help out, the quicker the day will come when it's all finished. That will be quite a day – we might even get MG to blubber a bit !

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Here's me sitting at my scanner saving a magazine. I encourage everyone to help!

 

April 2006 update:

Joining the historic scanners, three "new" guys - Terry Rollins, Dave Cura and Andy Kellock – have been prodigiously producing DVDs of historic magazines. We have decided to "triage" which magazines get scanned first, with vintage single-issue magazines (Model Kars, Model Champions, AMT Model Car Handbook) and pre -1967 issues of Model Car Science and Car Model. When received, Trustee Mark Brown catalogues the same, and cross-checks the Scanned Magazine Chart, and places each disk (or set of disks) into special racks. Our deepest thanks to the hard-working scanners and to Mark Brown! Very soon (hopefully by next year), the Museum will feature specific downloadable articles from selected issues.

We all know that not everything survives, especially in its original form. The Museum's most vulnerable historic items are the vintage magazines that were printed on the least expensive and least durable paper. The history and information contained in those early issues of model car magazines cannot be lost: Coverage of the early events in the hobby, together with the great models created by early craftsmen, would be lost forever if each magazine crumbled into dust. We've noticed some deterioration in the magazines even though the Salt Lake City climate is nearly ideal for preserving vintage books and magazines. The Museum also expresses its appreciation to Museum Trustee Mark Brown who has taken over the job of arranging and storing the DVDs at the Museum (with Trustee Phil Gladstone's help, Mark is also updating the inventory of the vintage magazines in our collection).

The magazines in the Museum's collection are old and fragile. Each magazine is sleeved in archival plastic, and can't be casually enjoyed by visitors.

Clearly, the loss of coverage of historic model car events and feature articles isn't acceptable, and the Museum decided a few years ago that it couldn't tolerate such an inevitable result without doing something to preserve the images and information! Trustee Mark Benton developed a scanning protocol, and we invited interested and computer-savy hobbyists to help us. For several years, dedicated hobbyists have been busily scanning vintage magazines and transferring those digital images onto DVDs. When finished with a label, those DVDs are shipped to the Museum and stored here. Scanned at 300 dpi per page, a full size magazine often requires three full DVDs. We know that, eventually, new storage technologies will develop, but right now we're in a foot race to get our magazines scanned while we can.

It's a time-consuming effort and gives evidence to the great dedication of our scanners. Right now, Terry Rollins, Dave Cura, Andy Kellock and Tim Burkhardt are working exceptionally hard to scan magazines, and Scott Hess has just signed up. In fact, it's difficult at times to keep these great guys supplied with the vintage magazines from the magazine collections. These fellows join earlier scanners (Roger Yu, Elmore Craig, John Sharisky, Claes Ericsson, Jim Olson, Lindley Ruddick, Dave Mikrut, Dean Eubanks and Mike Swan) who have contributed so much for this important Museum program.

These dedicated hobbyists have made great progress. As of late October 2005, dozens of magazines had been digitized. As each disk is received from our dedicated scanners, we breathe a little easier knowing that the information on one more historic magazine is saved from oblivion.

Dozens of issues of Car Model, Model Car Science and other early, often one-off, magazines have been scanned. What a way to preserve the great information and history contained in those early publications!

If you have a good scanner, the capability to scan and transfer images to a DVD, and if you care about helping us preserve the past before it is lost forever, please contact Mark S. Gustavson.

Finally, here's a brief note from scanner Andy Kellock: "To me the model car hobby has just as much historical worth as the 1:1 car hobby. In fact, the model car hobby closely tracks the real car world. As I dig back through old magazines I am amazed by what was accomplished in the early 60's without all the fancy stuff modelers have available today. And as more and more of the modelers from this time are sadly passing on, we only have their models and magazine articles about them to refer to. Since paper is such a fragile archival medium I think the Museum's efforts to Scan the Past onto CD's is an incredibly useful way to not only preserve, but also to distribute to a new audience. Many more people can have access to these wonderful old magazines than ever before by simply placing a CD into their computer, without having to worry about damaging the original magazines."

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As you know, the Museum has an extensive magazine collection, starting with publications from the early Fifties.  Never printed on quality paper in the vast majority of cases, our splendid collection is starting to deteriorate even in the very hospitable environment of Salt Lake City (exceptionally low humidity). Of particular concern have been the Car Model and Model Car Science collections which appear to have been printed on marginal paper. These, and selected other magazines, have started to crack and fissure as they are handled. Since GSL-XVIII, we have now restricted visitors from handling any magazine published before 1970. 

Still, hobbyists need access to the terrific information and historic perspectives that these magazines provide.  Contemporary, and future, researchers and historians will want to learn about the information in those magazines and they won't be able to do so if the magazines are just dust in plastic sleeves. 

In response to notes posted on the Hobby Heaven and Model Car List discussion boards, the Museum received offers to help with the Scan the Past program. At one time or the other, the following generous hobbyists have assisted in this project:

  • John Antczak  
  • Tim Burkhardt
  • Paul Canney  
  • C. Elmore Craig 
  • Claes Ericsson  
  • Dean Eubanks
  • Mike Harmyk  
  • Mark Holland
  • David Lee
  • Dave Mikrut   
  • Ron Norman  
  • Jim Olson
  • Lindley Ruddick 
  • John Sharisky  
  • Dave Tucker
  • Floyd K. Wever
  • Roger Yu

Each magazine is scanned at 300 dpi according to a protocol designed by Trustee Mark J. Benton, with each magazine page as a separate entry on the disk.  So far, nearly a dozen disks have been filled and sent to the Museum. Many more additional magazines are now being scanned as this is being written, with many more scheduled by the end of the year.  Check out the accompanying photo of just a few of the labeled disks that our scanners have produced:

 

In late 2004, Tim Rollins, Dave Cura and Andy Kellock have been incredibly helpful by scanning nearly two dozen magazines!

 
Roger Yu has really caught the spirit of this Museum program. The cover of the issue covered on the disk has been scanned and placed on the CD ROM. The quality and clarity of the pages are remarkably good. Thanks, Rog! 

These binders are filled with magazines - and there are more not in the photo!

 

 

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