Mudcat Café message #2691795 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #122599   Message #2691795
Posted By: Howard Kaplan
01-Aug-09 - 04:16 PM
Thread Name: Wanted: Broadside 1960-1965
Subject: RE: Wanted: Broadside 1960-1965
I wish I could be more positive about the site, because it's trying to do something important. Unfortunately, there are some severe technical problems with the .pdf files.

The .pdf quality is simply too low to reliably show the text. This is not a limitation of the .pdf format, because I scanned a page from my own hardcopy of one of the issues, converted it to .pdf, and produced a much better result (although with a larger file size). I cannot tell whether all of these problems or only some of them are the cause of the poor quality, but here are the prime suspects:
- Scanning the pages at too low a resolution
- Storing the original scans as .jpgs rather than in a lossless format, such as .gif, before converting them to .pdf
- Setting the .pdf graphics resolution at a level coarser than that available in the original scan
- Having the .pdf files created with the default .jpg compression, generally inappropriate for text, rather than with the .zip compression that is also available

When I enlarge a page from a downloaded issue, the artifacts I see are similar to those typically produced by .jpg compression. I don't know where in the chain the problem arises, but it's definitely present in the final product.

In addition, there is an important error in the issue list. Although the site states that Broadside stopped with issue #186, I have a hardcopy of issue #187. This suggests that the people responsible for the site didn't do their homework well enough.