President’s Column – September 2002

Title: RMAG and Digital Publications

Author: John Robinson

Publication: The Outcrop, September 2002, p. 3

The RMAG Publications Committee, over the last several years, has been investigating ways to scan all RMAG publications and make them available on the RMAG website. Donna Anderson did a page count and determined that there are 5,845 pages of Mountain Geologists from 1964-2000, and 12,849 pages of Guidebooks, dating from 1937. A grand total of 18,694 pages! A subcommittee was recently formed to find the best arrangement, in terms of price and quality, to scan the materials. The subcommittee will benefit from the experience of member Bob Cluff, who was involved in a similar project with SPWLA publications. The committee already has a set of materials to “sacrifice” to the scanning process.

The publications will be scanned as Adobe Acrobat (PDF) files. Discussions within the Publications Committee have suggested that individual downloads would be available on the website, but 10-year compilations may also be sold by RMAG at cost. Some of the recent Guidebooks are already available on CD. Scanning will likely start with the most recent publications, then go backwards.

Funding for the scanning effort has been slow to start because of the uncertainties of the costs. The Digital Publications Subcommittee will hopefully settle this issue. Separately, RMAG Webmaster Stew Squires initiated a fund raising effort to upgrade the website. Part of the money raised by Stew and the Web Committee will go toward initiating the scanning effort and getting it on the web. RMAG probably can’t raise enough money to do the entire project this year, or next, but over successive years we will get it done.

The August issue of the AAPG Explorer has an article that discusses efforts by an “Aggregate” of societies to create a centralized and compatible system of digital data that can be accessed by AAPG members. Robbie Gries outlined this program at the start of her Presidential Lecture. RMAG was contacted by AAPG to join the “Aggregate,” which would entail giving all of our publications to AAPG. Following a Publications Committee recommendation, the RMAG Board of Directors has chosen not to join the ‘Aggregate” at this time and will pursue the initiatives discussed above.