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Non-Gaming Magazines


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I realise that this was the subject on an April Fool's Day post a few years ago, but I have a sincere question -- are there any sites that systematically scan non-gaming magazines?


Aside from older video games, I very much enjoy reading about history. The publishers of Canada's History Magazine (formerly known as The Beaver) have made an almost complete run available online: https://canadashistory.partica.online/canadas-history/the-beaver-autumn-1970/flipbook/1/  Numerous Canadian academic journals have made back issues available online, too, but these target a specialist audience. 


I have also found some scattered issues of BBC History and National Geographic History, and the occasional random issue of other historical titles, but nothing systematic. Almost all of these publications are quite recent, too, so they would not qualify for hosting under Retromag's guidelines.  Sadly, historical magazines turn-up at thrift shops only slightly more frequently than gaming magazines.  

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  • Retromags Curator

The Internet Archive has an entire sub-section called "The Magazine Rack" which hosts nearly 200,000 scanned magazines across a massive variety of categories and languages. Much of what they have there is computer/gaming/tech related, but there are also fashion, cooking, art, news, politics, and other stuff. It's a lot of wade through, but this might be your best bet for starting out. :)

Google Books also has a fairly large repository of magazines scanned from various library collections across the globe. Some of them are duplicated on Archive.org, but some are not. :) 

College libraries often have digital archives of newspapers, photographs, video, and other important historical items they're trying to give wider/easier access; Google the name of the college + library and you should be able to find a link that will take you to any online-accessible portions of their collection. Most of this will be relevant to students, alumni, and local history, but it should all be free to browse. :)


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7 hours ago, KiwiArcader said:

Just don't necessarily expect content at  archive.org to have a good level of quality of scans over there as they don't even have a baseline on what is considered a minimum acceptable level. Retromags they are not!!!   

This is true, however, it is also true that the only reason Retromags has to uphold high quality standards is to earn the approval of nitpicky magazine publishers, writers and copyright holders who sometimes get antsy if their products are being illegally shared under less than ideal presentation conditions.  By making everything pretty, we insulate ourselves somewhat from their ire, and indeed, many of them are even pleased with and supportive of our efforts.  (The Internet Archive is insulated from the law because they have more money than god or something like that.  Do a google search and find countless stories from struggling authors trying in vain to get their copyrighted material taken down from the IA - it can't be done unless you also have more money than god and can threaten with legal action and have the finances to back it up - like how Nintendo got their Nintendo Powers removed...well, for a while, anyway, till someone else just uploaded them all again...)

We don't make our scans beautiful for the benefit of the downloading masses, since no one has ever once complained about the condition of a mag.  Nor does anyone ever thank us for the work that goes into making stuff look nice.  The thanks we get are simply for making things available to download/read, and are not concerned whatsoever with the quality of the scanning or editing.  Leechers don't care, so long as it's readable, and that's the truth. 

And there's nothing wrong with that.  I would never download a low quality rip of a movie or TV show, since there are HD rips available, and I would be pissed if I accidentally downloaded a bad scan of a comic, since there are likely perfect digital editions out there as well.   But multiple versions of the same magazine scan are incredibly rare, and so this hobby proves the cliche that beggars can't be choosers.  We take whatever we can get and are happy with it.😉

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Thanks for the suggestions; I am familiar with the Internet Archive. There is masses of content, all of it poorly organized and not readily searchable. (I am a Librarian by profession, so we really like consistently (and correctly) spelled titles -- amongst other things). The language filters are useful if they are correct, but I have seen British gaming magazines flagged as being in Polish!  


I have found other random sources for historical magazines -- sometimes complete or (substantially so) runs -- but there does not seem to be anyone systematically collecting them in one place. 


To me, the quality of the scan is secondary to legibility. For example, the 1990s Canadian publication The Computer Paper has been scanned (almost entirely), but the quality is so very poor that most of the text is unreadable. It was printed on cheap, acidic newsprint-like paper and it is oversize, so I doubt that a complete run has survived in either private or institutional collections where it could be properly re-scanned.  The scanned issues are close to useless. 


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