Here are some more reader comments on the new digital archive of The Numismatist. -Editor
Saving a Lot of Work
Dave Lange writes:
I read the reviews of the ANA's online archive of The Numismatist and found that the comments offered by others mirror my
own. One thing I can add, however, is that I wish the old issues had become available just a couple months earlier, as it would have
saved me a lot of extra work. Included in the last issue of The E-Sylum was an announcement that my book on The Coin & Currency
Institute and its various publications had already been laid out, and that was certainly true. The downside is that searching through the
new archive turned up so much additional information that I had to spend this past weekend performing extensive rewrites of two chapters.
These are now off to my book designer with my apologies, as I was certain we were done with them! Nevertheless, I congratulate the ANA on
providing us with a terrific research tool that complements the work being done by Eric Newman's team.
Wanted: Others Ways to Access Numismatist Issues
Les Citrome writes:
I enjoyed the reviews of The Numismatist Digital Archive. The deal-breaker for me is the inability to download the complete
issue (s) in one step. Currently it is only possible to download one page at a time to PDF format.
I do not always have easy internet access and prefer to keep local copies of my reading and research materials. I was also hoping that
the ANA would make available a DVD or memory card version of the archives for purchase, as some other hobby organizations have done.
Great idea! But man, that's a whopper of an archive. -Editor
Reputation: Q. David Bowers October 1955 Ad
Dave Bowers was pleased to find and print a copy of his October 1955 ad. Great words to live by (and build a business).
Tom DeLorey's Report
Logging on to the ANA website I found a scrolling banner with a link to the new feature.
I clicked on it and found the Getting Started box. Clicked on that and found that there were no directions and/or link to the Exact
Editions Registration page. Clicked around at random and eventually got there. (Note: a clear link to the Registration page has since been
Went there and was confronted with a request for my “Subscription Reference,” which seemed to be my ANA number. Entered “LMxxxx” and the
other information it requested and hit enter. Got a message “Your subscription details were not recognized.” Tried “LM-xxxx” and still no
go. Emailed Exact Editions and requested help. Because they are in Great Britain and I am in Colorado they were, of course, closed for the
So, I emailed the ANA Membership Director, Cary Hardy, who quickly explained that I had to leave off the “LM.” I said thank you, and
suggested that a note to this effect be added to the registration page. To his great credit I see that this has indeed been done, with
“Subscription Reference” changed to “Membership Number” with a note to leave off the prefix letters. I suspect that he also made the link
change above which I also suggested.
I then went back and registered. Once in the site I looked up a particular issue that I knew the date of because I wanted to recheck an
article I had once made note of. The images are fantastic, and I printed out the pages using the “printable pdf” option. Excellent
Then, just as an experiment, I tried the “print text” feature, and the technology crashed and burned. The service uses OCR technology to
scan the text so that the search engine can find particular words, but the OCR scanner tends to ignore oversized letters, such as are
sometimes used as the first letter of a lead paragraph. Also, in a subhead “Sovereign fakes,” it ignored the S, g, f and k, presumably
because they rose above or fell below the height of the common letters. The subhead came out as “Overei n a es”
The worst failure was that this particular article had images placed between various columns, the columns indented on either sides of
the images with the cutlines below. When scanning the column to the left of the image, it scanned the cutline as well up to the point that
the column normally ended at, intermingling the cutline fragments in with the body text, and when scanning the column to the right of the
image it scanned that part of the cutline inside the left border of the normal margin, again intermingling cutline fragments in among the
body text. Other layout anomalies created similar scanning gibberish.
I then did a global scan for “Elder,” and got 25 pages of results. The default arrangement is by “Best Match,” though I do not see how
the machine arrives at this ranking since many of the hits were simply Elder’s name within an advertisement. Fortunately one can rearrange
the results in chronological order, with either the newest or oldest first. This is helpful in avoiding the many hits that resulted from my
1980 Elder article, as I was looking for something contemporary to him.
For my second search I did Lincoln AND gold AND token. Here the best match feature did do its job, as the hits with those words in a
line or close together did appear before the later hits with the key words scattered randomly on a page.
There were a few inevitable scanning errors, such as one instance where the word “holder” tripped the search engine’s alarm. That was
understandable, as the “o” might have been a bit smudged. However, in another hit the word “skillful” came up with the underlined letters
highlighted. Tis a puzzlement.
The highlighting of the results is very useful in quickly finding the reference and seeing whether or not it is useful to you, as I have
seen too many search engines that just give you a raw page and leave you on your own to find the relevant word.
Of course the scanning errors could cause you to miss an important reference, but such is life. The system is still going to be accurate
most of the time, and save you looking through endless pages of text. For what it has given us, we should all be thankful to the ANA.
I'm glad to hear the archive has been so useful. How could it NOT be? Digitized content is a researcher's goldmine. It can still
take some work to get what you want, but it can be a tremendous timesaver overall, enabling new research avenues that would not have been
practical before. -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
RESEARCHERS WELCOME THE NUMISMATIST DIGITAL ARCHIVE
UPDATE ON DAVID LANGE'S RESEARCH PROJECTS
Wayne Homren, Editor
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