The Complete New Yorker: Eighty Years of the Nation's Greatest Magazine. Introduction by David Remnick. Random House, 2005; eight DVD-ROMs enclosed in a 123-page booklet, $100
FROM THE DUST JACKET:
Every page of every issue on eight DVD-ROMs, with a companion book of highlights. A cultural monument, a journalistic gold mine, an essential research tool, an amazing time machine.
What has the New Yorker said about Prohibition, Duke Ellington, the Second World War, Bette Davis, boxing, Winston Churchill, Citizen Kane, the invention of television, the Cold War, baseball, the lunar landing, Willem de Kooning, Madonna, the Internet, and 9/11?
Eighty years of The New Yorker offers a detailed, entertaining history of the life of the city, the nation, and the world since 1925.
Every article, every cartoon, every illustration, every advertisement exactly as it appeared on the printed page, in full color. Flip through full spreads of the magazine to browse headlines, artwork, ads, and cartoons, or zoom in on a single page, for closer viewing. Print any pages or covers you choose, or bookmark pages with your own notes.
Our powerful search environment allows you to home in on the pieces you want to see. Our entire history is catalogued by date, contributor, department, and subject.
4,109 issues. Yours to search and savor.
DVDs for computer use only.
System requirements: Windows 2000 and XP; Mac OS X 10.3 and higher.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:
Hartford Courant: Each page has been photocopied and reproduced in its entirety, ads, cartoons, and all. It's a little like 21st-century microfiche without the laceration dangers. Each disc contains roughly 10 years' worth of magazines. You have to manually load the disc you want to access the issues represented therein. (In other words, unless you are an accomplished geek, you cannot just dump all the contents onto the hard drive.)In a thoughtful and New Yorker -ish touch, you may explore issues by their cover. And, yes, you can limit your browsing to the cartoons only.
Newsday: ...the set displays on one's computer screen crisp scans of every page -- articles and advertisements -- of the magazine's 4,109 issues, from its 1925 inception to its 80th anniversary in February.
The ads alone provide an economic picture, The New Yorker 's current editor David Remnick says, of New York's middle and upper middle class: "What stores are around, what stores aren't around, what advertisers want to present as an ideal woman or man, passing prejudices, things that you would never say now that you could say then."
The software is searchable by author (or cartoon artist), department ("The Talk of the Town," "The Sporting Scene," etc.), year, issue, and cover. A handful of pre-made reading lists sort articles under such topics as "Humor Pieces" and "New York Stories."
Wireless News: ...the project consisted of processing more than half a million color scans, which resulted in highly compressed files that have far better image quality than JPEG. LizardTech's DjVu technology, which was developed in AT&T Research Labs, made more than 4,000 New Yorker issues available in a collection of eight DVDs.
"After extensive research, the only compression software we found that retained the beauty of The New Yorker 's illustrations, cartoons, and covers without distortion was the DjVu technology. In particular, [Lizard's] DjVu technology brilliantly compresses text without any loss of quality at greatly reduced file sizes. We could not have had even come close to the product we have without LizardTech's technology," said The New Yorker 's Edward Klaris.
A CONVERSATION WITH NEW YORKER EDITOR PAMELA MCCARTHY:
I confessed, "Since my copy of The Complete New Yorker arrived, I've not returned telephone calls, the dinner dishes heaped up, the living room carpet took on the look of carpet runners at downtown movie theaters."Ms. McCarthy laughed. "David Remnick [The New Yorker editor] came in on the Monday following our finishing the package, which he had taken home, and said, 'Oh my God, I'm addicted.' He said that he installed it and started looking and reading, and only hours and hours later he surfaced to see his children."
"How beautifully packaged it is! Everything about it is beautiful. I thought I'd never see another advertisement for de Pinna or for Anne Sexton's family's department store, Abraham & Straus."
"We included the book part. It's not a real book as you see, but we did want it to be in bookstores and in the books section and not the software section because the books section is where our readers are, obviously. So we were encouraged to create something book-like, and as we started to do that, I realized that it could be very helpful as a point of entry for people who didn't know the magazine or had some level of discomfort with technology. These people will, I hope, see some of these great old pieces and be seduced into popping the disc into their machine."
"How did you decide to do it?"
"We've wanted to do it for a long, long time -- eight years. There was a moment at which technology and our ability to give it the resources in terms of people and money and copyright law all came together -- December 2003."
"Copyright law must have been a nightmare."
"No, actually it turns out that if you do a re-creation that's page by page, identical to what you did originally, it's alright. The pages themselves are a static document."
"How was the index kept over all these years?"
"There is a library department here. We have two full-time librarians. From the early 1930s, librarians have created abstracts of each story every week. People who started in the early '30s went back and did the years that hadn't been done. It was little enough time so they could catch up. That's a tremendous resource. We've got a library with something in the vicinity of a million cards. It's what we've always used in order to find everything the magazine did by Edmund Wilson or what the magazine did on Iraq during 1990, what's the history there. And we would go to the index, which is so helpful. We've got the history of the better part of a century there, at your fingertips. It's extraordinary."