Complete New Yorker Offers 80 Years of Insight into American Life

Magazine Now Poised for Growth in a Digital Age


Since its first issue in February 1925, The New Yorker has evolved from a publication into a cultural monument. Its prize-winning cartoons, fiction and non-fiction essays, profiles and even advertisements offer a goldmine of information about current issues of the past as recorded by writers, editors and illustrators.

Upon the publication’s 80th anniversary, the magazine’s publishers created an eight DVD set of the book, along with a companion book of highlights. A key part of this endeavor was to offer a fully searchable version, one that readers could look through for commentary on social issues, rendering it an invaluable tool for researchers and reinforcing The New Yorker’s standing as a leading publication covering political, social and artistic trends.

In producing a weekly publication over 80 years, however, The New Yorker had amassed 4,109 issues, containing a half-million pages of content. To provide the best view of the content, it was important to present it in its original context by faithfully reproducing each page of each issue in PDF format. While this would provide high quality images of the pages, the format would add up to dozens of compact disks of data that would be too difficult to search.


With that much content, the New Yorker team realized that making the Complete New Yorker as easy to search as possible would significantly enhance its value to readers. As a first step, however, they needed to capture information from more than 1.5 million index cards created by the magazine’s staffers.

To achieve that goal economically, however, they needed to work with a partner that could capture the information accurately and efficiently, in a format that could easily be uploaded for the final product. Enter Innodata . With its extensive experience capturing data on a number of large data conversion and digitization projects, Innodata offered the right mix of skills and expertise The New Yorker.


As the Innodata team captured data from the index cards, they funneled the information back to the team building the database that would allow readers to sort through material by date, contributor, department and subject. Early issues contained only partial tables of contents, so the Innodata team also had to ensure that all content was tagged correctly. The final result was an electronic “card catalog” that featured more than 1.5 million “index cards” of citations and cross references to the articles.

When the resulting image files were too numerous to fit onto compact disks, The New Yorker transferred the content to DdVDds, which enabled the 80 years of publications to be stored on only eight disks. The first disk contains the data base of the content and directs users to subsequent disks that contain the stories and illustrations they wish to read.


Librarians, researchers and avid readers can now read 80 years of The New Yorker page by page or search it by topic, including its world-class comics, in the comfort of their offices or homes. Popularizing the archive cements the magazine’s standing as a relevant journal on daily life and political, social and artistic trends.



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