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New Platform For Scott Catalogue Digital Version. Mixed Feelings

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Posted 03/22/2022   12:09 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Don,
Thank you.
That would be a very exciting option for me.
There are monographs I have scanned to *.pdf
and my Turkiye Birkens.
Sometimes I have 3 open on 3 monitors,
and fly between each on the office chair.

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Posted 03/22/2022   12:10 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I hate 'renting' software. The bottom line is Amos is not preventing anything by using this model. If you can display a page on your screen, you can simply capture the screen and then compile your own PDF. Yes, it is some work but far better than forking over an annual subscription fee. They are basically saving folks the work of scanning everything.

I think Dan is right, publishers need to know how to charge for features, not charge for the basic content. Thye have to make the value in being able to deliver just specific countries or add filtering/searching capabilities that the average user would not bother to do. We have had this discussion many times before going back at least 15 years. Clinging to 'our content is king' is a sure way for a publisher to wither on the vine. They have milked that model for decades, so I am sure it is a hard sell internally. Moving to a simple subscription model was something that they should have done about 20 years ago. Today they should be far beyond this model and be offering more advanced and useful delivery of that content (which is now widely available online in many other formats).
Don
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Posted 03/22/2022   12:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Cjd to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
rod222, if your PDF files are already searchable, then Adobe Reader's Advanced Search function may already work for you.

Go to Edit | Advanced Search and navigate to the folder containing the PDF files.
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Posted 03/22/2022   12:14 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
What cjd is correct but it is incredibly slow when you have a lot of PDFs. It has to literally open each PDF and search each one by one.

It is far better to build an index and then whenever you need to search the pre-built index instead.
Don
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Posted 03/22/2022   12:28 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ptbob to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Scott has been a database-denier for many years, mired in an unsustainable business model, which has stifled the hobby's ability to move into the digital era and attract needed newcomers. As they exploit their perceived monopoly, the Internet has spawned a democratization of philately with new digital philatelic platforms. **Not here to promote your stuff*** I'm increasingly leaving Scott behind as I use digital tools out of modern necessity.
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Posted 03/22/2022   12:50 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks Collin for your suggestion.
I use Sumatra not adobe.
Sumatra did not seem to have such an option across multiple *.pdf's in "advanced"
I was going to have a play with that.

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Posted 03/22/2022   2:37 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Germania to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I don't want to beat the dead horse of Windows vs. Mac but with my Macbook I can key in a search term and it will find every file on the hard drive - pdf, Word, Excel - that has the term. And when you open up one of those files it highlights every instance of the term. New files are automatically indexed. It's all built into the operating system, no additional software to download.

Don't even get me started on how bad Search is on my corporate Windows PC.
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Posted 03/22/2022   2:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jleb1979 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I wonder how many "captive" buyers Amos has, among public libraries and other institutions, along with dealers that buy at least every other year, if not yearly? Amos may feel that they'll lose most of those "guaranteed" hard-copy sales to a too-cheap $200/yr subscription? Many libraries have fully embraced digital versions of their holdings.



I found CJD's question about whether libraries form a captive market for the Scott catalogues interesting and thought I would poke around a little at that. Based on what I can see through Worldcat and then what I observe in my home county, not many libraries are subscribing at all regularly to the print catalogues. [ ed. to add: Not much evidence of online library subscriptions (and I would be interested to hear of any)]

My home county union catalog covers 26 libraries serving over 500,000 population. Quite a few isolated holdings where one library or another have all of the 2002 or the 2009 and nothing more. No pattern of coordinated buying. The wealthiest suburb's library holds a 2010 Scott and the 2020. Just one out of the 26 have a 2020 edition or the 2021. It's actually much worse than I thought.

Serial records can be tough to get accurate holdings on, but Worldcat along with followup into some institutional catalogues suggests to me that very few academic libraries have current or even near current Scott catalogues outside of the very biggest like New York Public. The well-heeled Univ. of Pennsylvania has 1992, 1997 and 2005 editions. The Philadelphia Free Library central Parkway facility has the 2009. Some neighborhood Philadelphia Free Library branches have patterns like my county. Again, worse that I had expected.

So I do not believe that libraries are a significant market for the Scott catalogues, and if they did, they would negotiate to have perpetual access to the back file of the last year of the active subscription which would be a standard negotiating demand during licensing.

This all reminds me of the failure of Encyclopaedia Brittannica when it tried to move to an online offering back in the 1990s. Even before significant competition from Wikipedia, they set too high a price point and tried to restrict perpetual access to the last subscribed version and as a result, their company crumbled.

They're floundering IMHO.
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Edited by jleb1979 - 03/22/2022 3:01 pm
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Posted 03/22/2022   3:10 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
What new content does an annual catalog provide? I can think of only three things; new stamp issues, previously unlisted varieties, and updated values.

Update values are hardly worth spending large sums of money each year. First, anyone who has been in the hobby more than 6 months has figured out the catalog values are not actual market values. But there are apparently some collectors who will buy catalog each year to make themselves feel better. During periods of inflation I assume that catalog publishers love it since the increased catalog values REALLY makes collectors feel good about what they spend on stamps and covers. But many (majority?) folks see through this and understand that catalog values are not really worth much, certainly not worth spending hundreds of dollars each year. Dealers and libraries create some demand but is this a good enough sales volume?

The addition of new varieties also has its limits. There is certainly a group of collectors who seek these out and consider getting a discovery into a catalog as important. But I think many collectors, especially casual collectors, do not place a lot of value on chasing varieties. They do not want to reorganize their album pages nor purchase costly annual catalogs to keep up with them.

Lastly there is new stamp issues. Experienced collectors know that new issues tend to make for ephemeral catalog entries. Assignment of catalog numbers is often sketchy until a few years have past and the issues and series become clearer. So buying new annual catalogs may not make much sense; new issues can easily be looked up online.

Given the above, what percentage of new content is there in a set of catalogs? Is this percentage enough to justify spending hundreds of dollars? If anyone can take a 5-year-old set of catalogs and add XX% across the board for catalog values, buying a new set seems silly. I think we often see this advice in this community; 'don't buy this year's catalog, just find an older set'.

A digital publisher understands that selling basic content, especially redundant annual content, is not really feasible in this day and age. Not only are their many alternative online resources which provide free access (want to ID a stamp? Simply post an image in this community and get it IDed in minutes and for free), but more and more users expectations are to be able to find content without cost. So what can a publisher do if they can no longer sell basic content? Sell time. In other words, sell things which saves time for users. If it is much easier, much faster, or much better to use an online resource than you can monetize it. In todays world the question is not about being able to access the information you seek, it is about being able to quickly find and access the information you seek.
Don
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Posted 03/22/2022   3:46 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Mainer to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I agree with the sense of the discussion here. I bought the digital versions of the GB and Canada country catalogs (which they'll continue to provide access to) and imagined I wouldn't buy another one for those two countries for sometime, if ever. The price was decent I thought, $14.99 each.

I don't begrudge the vendor this business model, Microsoft has done the same thing with Office - you don't buy a version you actually own, you pay an ongoing rental fee. But I can't see myself paying for that or for the Scott subscription. Like the different streaming services, these things add up.

As Yogi Berra once said "the future ain't what it used to be..."
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Posted 03/22/2022   4:07 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Cjd to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The Scott Classic Specialized adds new areas of coverage every year. If it didn't, I'd probably still be happy with the first one that went largely color, more than fifteen years ago.

I used to buy the full sets periodically, from a dealer who replaced his sets annually, but I haven't done that now in probably ten years, and I never look at the ones I have. I'm pretty sure that the new areas of content that go into the Classic don't generally trickle down to the main catalogue.

jleb1979, I'm surprised to hear that libraries are no longer buying Scott, generally speaking. (I assume worldcat lists everything, reference and circulating?)
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Posted 03/22/2022   4:16 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I don't want to beat the dead horse of Windows vs. Mac but with my Macbook I can key in a search term and it will find every file on the hard drive - pdf, Word, Excel - that has the term. And when you open up one of those files it highlights every instance of the term. New files are automatically indexed. It's all built into the operating system, no additional software to download.

Don't even get me started on how bad Search is on my corporate Windows PC.


Windows does this too (for years) but not by default, to index PDFs you have to tell Windows to include PDFs.
Head to Control Panel > Indexing Options and click on Advanced.
Select the File Types tab on the following screen and look for pdf in the list.
Tick-mark the box for pdf.
Then enable the Index Properties and File Contents option and click on OK.

The trouble with a computer wide search is that you are burning time and clock cycles looking through an index of every file on your computer. A specific PDF index is blazing fast and specific to my philatelic library.
Don
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Posted 03/22/2022   4:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gmot to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting discussion.

Re changes between editions, I did a spot check of a few hundred listings between the 2016 and 2021 Classic Specialized last year, specifically looking for changes and around 98% was unchanged in any respect over 5 years - including values. Yes there were some good additions (e.g. Tunisia perforated postage dues) but the vast majority was the same. And those additions - as mentioned - were mostly not added to the regular Scott catalogues. Haven't done a comparison between regular Scott editions, but would be surprised if - with the exception of new issues - it isn't the same situation.

Not sure how many dealers, except the largest, actually buy new editions of the full Scott every year, given how little it actually changes. Unless you deal in new issues, every several years would seem to be sufficient.

The price certainly seems way out of line with their competitors for an annual subscription model. Their alphabetical volume approach, which is annoying enough for the printed versions, gets even sillier with this annual sub offering - the approach of other publishers with regional volumes is much more sensible.

If Scott offered a subscription model with a well-designed, regularly updated, easily searchable online database, to which you could subscribe just for the countries/periods of interest, I'd gladly pay and use extensively. I love nice printed catalogues but the Scott volumes are not high quality compared to the ones published by most European publishers, and contain loads of newer issues I have no interest in and don't collect or sell.

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Posted 03/22/2022   4:42 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jleb1979 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
cjd -- OCLC Worldcat https://www.worldcat.org/is a bibliographic utility which is the closest thing to a North American union catalog there is, but it does have drawbacks for various sorts of inquiries. First, not everyone uses it although most bigger public libraries do, and virtually all academic libraries and research libraries. There are several major European libraries that also uploaded records. It would include items that have been catalogued through OCLC whether they sit in a circulating collection or reference or in a rare book room.

Pretty good for finding out what libraries hold single title books although sometimes there is duplication due to multiple slight variations in the bibliographic records used. But one can quickly find out if 900 libraries hold someone's book or just 10. And where are those libraries, near or far.

For serial publications, Worldcat is only a starting point because most libraries do not upload or enter serial holdings, they only linked to the OCLC bibliographic record once. So with Scotts, the bib record for the serials has a date range "1973- [present]" because that's when the current specific title was adopted. That date range means nothing more. One has to then click on the specific holding library and look in their local catalog to see what their local catalog says they hold. Penn for example. The Worldcat bib record says "1973- " but Penn only holds three scattered years when you enter their local catalog. I only did that second level dive for a small group sample in the midatlantic. Results were not encouraging....


This is likely getting too deep in the weeds of the library back-office. Plenty of librarians don't even fully grasp the mess that is Worldcat, but it is the best starting point tool we have...





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Posted 03/22/2022   4:50 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Germania to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks, Don. I will have to get IT to make that change; an Administrator is required.
I'm pretty sure a Mac does the indexing; but search is pretty much instantaneous for my 670,447 files (according to Disk Utility).
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