Model Magazine Index - a proposal

I used to refer to the Model Railroad Magazine Index frequently and found it to be valuable beyond estimation. I miss it too much for
words. Here is my proposal:
The modellers themselves should recreate the database. I personally have a collection including the following: Model Railroader 1934 to 2010 complete Railroad Model Craftsman 1940 to 2010 incl. some earlier previous magazines Canadian Railway Modeller 1990 to 2010 Model Railroading 1979 to 2004 with a few missing Mainline Modeler 1980 to 1991 with a few later issues NMRA Bulletin 1987 to 1995 Ontario Society of HO Model Engineers (OSHOME) all 42 issues Rail Model (Canadian) only 6 issues printed - 1970/71 as well as a few of the lesser known magazines
There must be some among us who can set up a searchable database and I'm willing to contribute as much time and information processing as I can to help re-establish this data source. The resulting collection of information could be donated to the NMRA, and updated by the modellers themselves.
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This being worked on but quite a project. Join the below Group. The fellow that started this group and free on line railroad magazine was a publisher to Kalmbach at one time. You can subscribe to an email notification when the next download is ready. PDF format download. The magazine includes videos of some articles also.
http://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/discountinued_mag_index
r
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On 11/22/2010 3:20 PM Rich spake thus:

You posted a link to the magazine, not a group.
> The fellow that started this group and free on

Top of page says "The index is gone ...". So where is this project?
--
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I just clicked on the link and the site came up. I get a redirect message first. Model Railroad Hobbyist Magazine. The subject of the forum is Discontinued Magazine Index. It is right in the beginning of the discussion. On the right side, click on discussion Forums.
If you need hand holding, go to the below link.
I can do this with my Vista PC and Linux PCC.
http://model-railroad-hobbyist.com /
r
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On 11/22/2010 7:11 PM Rich spake thus:

You misunderstand me.
I got to the site fine; it's just that I don't see anything about the project you claim is being "worked on". It just says that the index is gone, as I stated above, followed by a bunch of comments. I have little interest in reading through all these comments. So can you tell us where this project (the discontinued magazine index) is?
--
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with the flaunting of well-defined muscle, wrapped in flags.
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Thanks Rich. I've joined that group and look forward to contributing whatever I am able to. In the meantime, I should note that Kalmbach replied to an email I sent yesterday regarding the index....and it doesn't look too promising from their perspective and I don't think they will make it available to the NMRA. We will have to do it ourselves. The index really saved time in that I could go to my storage warehouse with a prepared list and find the articles I needed right away.
Dear Ian
Thank you for contacting us regarding our decision to remove the Model Train Index from the Trains.com website. We realize that the index is a valuable resource to our customers, and we regret the disappointment this causes.
Our decision was not taken lightly, as the Model Railroader staff and others here at Kalmbach use the index as a research tool as well. The index was removed due to security concerns raised with the database. It is important to us to provide a secure environment for you each time you visit our website.
Due to the design of the database and the language in which it was written, there are no plans to sell or contract the program to an outside party. Again, we regret the disappointment this causes and thank you for expressing your concerns.
If we may be of further assistance, please email snipped-for-privacy@kalmbach.com, phone 1-800-533-6644 or fax 262-796-1615. Thank you.
Sincerely,
Janelle Customer Sales & Service Kalmbach Publishing Company - KPC 21027 Crossroads Circle PO Box 1612 Waukesha WI 53187-1612
Visit us on the web at www.kalmbachstore.com
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On 11/22/2010 11:13 PM philippesdad spake thus:

That last paragraph is pretty much bullshit.
If they cared to, it would be pretty easy for them to give anyone wanting to construct their own database just the *data* (say in comma-delimited format, or as an Excel workbook). The data is totally separate from the *database*, no matter what "language" it was written in, and there are no security considerations (at least assuming they want you to have the information).
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Exactly!
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If your name is No, I voted for you - more than once ...


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I'm not a computer guy, so I wouldn't know, but from past threads I know that both of you guys *do*, and it fits right in with the other self-serving lies that Kalmbach has told over the last few years.
~Pete
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On 11/23/2010 10:54 AM Twibil spake thus:

>> me said: >>

Here's the short version:
There are two parts to any database, roughly speaking: the database software, and the data stored in the database.
In this case all we want (that is, those of us who'd like to make the back-issue information available again) is the data, not the database software. The database may be written in Poofty Zingerese [1], which is totally proprietary and secret, but we don't want that. All we want is the data, which *could* easily be provided in any number of common formats used for transferring data between computers. That is, if Kalmbach cared to provide it.
Apparently they're not interested in anyone else having that information.
[1] Made-up name for amusement.
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On Tue, 23 Nov 2010 16:29:09 -0800, David Nebenzahl wrote:

I think you're probably right as to their motivation, but it could be that there's nobody left that knows how to get the data out. I worked with databases from IDS in the '60s until I retired about 10 years ago and I can recall some pretty esoteric ways of storing data. For example, what about a network or hierarchic model with linked sets where the schema and associated docs no longer exist?
Some of the magazines provide their subscribers with an annual index. I wonder if any of those could be gotten in a machine readable form?
--
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw

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On 11/23/2010 6:36 PM, Larry Blanchard wrote:

IIRC from previous threads about the time the index was pulled from Kalmbach's web site, the software and the data were embedded and encrypted as a single program. The original programmer didn't want his data being taken and used by other people after all his development work. That's what makes extracting the data problematic. And after he sold the program to Kalmbach he washed his hands of it and refuses to help in extracting the data out again for anybody else to use.
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On 11/23/2010 4:36 PM Larry Blanchard spake thus:

I'm sure someone at Kalmbach has access to a running copy of the database (or could dig it out of their archives), which could be used to "dump" the entire database to some common format (like CSV).
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The data was accessible in text format, right? There are hundreds of thousands of ways to store webpage output, and if the format uses plain text it's just a matter of using a Perl script to extract the output. (That's one of the things Perl is good at. Other languages can do it too.)
Just query everything out of the program and insert it into a real database. Now all that's needed is a front end...
It's not a difficult technological problem to solve, it'll just take a lot of time to write, separate, and insert the data. Then you've got to make sure it's correct some how.
Puckdropper
--
Never teach your apprentice everything you know.

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On 23/11/2010 20:28, Puckdropper wrote:

Not necessarily. Display format is not the same as storage format. Vide HTML, which is a plain text format, but which displays a lot more than plain text.
[...]
wolf k.
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Reading the storage format would probably be the ideal way to do it. However, if you have to read the display format instead, then write a program that'll run through the queries and extract the results from the display format.
I suspect most HTML involving recalled data (file, database, operator input) is the same except where the data changes, so all you have to do is eliminate the common parts. Anything that is different is the data.
Puckdropper
--
Never teach your apprentice everything you know.

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Up until the day before they shut it down, the data was coming OUT in response to queries!
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So I have already done what you are describing...the URL for this is
Http://www.rrmagindex.org /
This is on a friend's server, but we will move it to the nmra server next year.
If you'd like to participate in the editing/updating steps, there's a link to send me an email, from the website.
You'll find the data there has a lot of missing info, and that all needs fixing..
Anyone is welcome to use it, although if you could avoid it during the daytime, my friend's server is not a huge one.
I have approximately 150 thousand entries, with additional thousands more either coming soon. This is far more than the previous index ever had.
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The new Model Railroad Magazine Index is now live on its current home server (temporary, we hope)
http://www.rrmagindex.org /
Right now, as a casual user, you can do:
1) simple searches for words in story titles, author/photographer names, tags. 2) look at all issues for all magazines 3) look at all issues for ONE magazine 4) look at all stories for one issue 5) flag an issue as having a problem/error (like incorrect data, typos, missing stories...) 6) leave a message for me 7) click links for author, photographer, tag/labels, magazine name...and occasionally something spiffy like "click here to read this issue right now" if I have a link to a PDF (there are a few, but not many).
Please try it out sometime soon, and let me know if you have a problem, a question, a suggestion. If it is unresponsive when you try it, like late evening, wait a moment, there's good chance I've just restarted it with some new behavior (only takes a few seconds, probably only once a day, at most).
I do change the server behavior every day or two, adding little things here or there. There will be a large-ish change coming in November, and then a much larger change next year when this gets moved over onto NMRA's server (right now it's on a friend's machine, where I have far greater control, and can fix software problems very quickly).
There are folks who are going to be correcting issue/story entries, and filling in the gaps.
Things I need to know:
what magazines are missing? (example: there are ZERO NMRA Region/ Division magazines, except the singleton I entered)
what other little features should the index have, either in data, or visuals
My data has come from multiple sources:
1) the NMRA dataset (85 thousand entries) 2) Gazette online listings (5 thousand entries) 3) OST data (1000 entries) 4) NSRR, etc, some other places
there are a lot of gaps in all these datasets. I cannot possibly fix them myself, and I am not even interested in trying--this needs your help.
-- clint hyde, MER
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WELL DONE! I'll see what I can do to help.
--
If your name is No, I voted for you - more than once ...


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