Mad magazine collection searchability

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Thu Nov 18 04:01:22 UTC 2010

I've got it. It's essentially a collection of PDF files, one per issue.
There is no global search function, although you can use the PDF search
capability to search within individual issues. The PDF search does not
support wildcards, but isn't case sensitive. The OCR underlying the search
capability appears to be pretty good, but I haven't tested it extensively.
The image quality isn't the greatest, but it is legible and reasonably
clear, although some of the marginal illustrations are difficult to make

As a tool for lexical research it isn't the greatest (mainly because of the
limitations on search), but for entertainment or cultural value it is pretty
good. The chief advantage is that you get the entire magazine, cover to
cover, from Mr. Neumann on the front to the fold-in joke on the back, with
the mise-en-page preserved.

There's no DRM, so you can download the disks to your hard drive. Total size
is around 7 GB.

It's well worth twenty bucks.

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Garson O'Toole
Sent: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 9:56 PM
Subject: Mad magazine collection searchability

Jon wrote:
> Larry, I'll search my complete digitized collection.  But I won't be able
> get to it till tomorrow.

Mad magazine was an important cultural touchstone in previous decades,
so I think it is reasonable to ask about the digital collection
publicly on the mailing list instead of privately.

Apparently the 50 year collection has been released in two different
versions: on CDs and on DVDs. The DVD version is available on Amazon
currently for $19.00. I have a question for Jon or anyone else who has
this collection.

Could you describe the search interface and capabilities: Is there a
global search? Is there a wildcard capability? If OCR is used is it
reliable? Do they attempt to digitally capture all the text? Is there
a text overlay on the PDFs? Could you add anything else relevant to
evaluating the utility of this collection as a tool for research (and

The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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