MIA: History: USA: Publications: Young Worker: Read Me

Issues concerning this collection of the Young Workers

Notes on the Young Worker digital archive:

1922-1923 See specific notes for that section.

This part of the archive was made by combining some scanning of original issues (including those with red ink as part of the banner and an integral part of the cover art) with scanning Greenwood Reprints (which did not preserve color!) for those issues and pages where I could not scan original paper.

1924, 1925, and 1926 (mostly broadsheet newspaper issues):

I had no access to original paper for any of these (or for subsequent) issues of Young Worker. The scans are entirely from the Greenwood Reprint of this publication. Greenwood Press, in turn, back in 1968, apparently had access to original paper only for some of the issues they were archiving. The rest appear to have been archived from exceptionally badly done microfilm records. These source microfilm records Greenwood Press had to work with appear to have been badly exposed, badly focused, badly lighted, and in many cases made from newspapers that had been bound.

It would appear from the avialable evidence (the final Greenwood Reprint material) that when the source material Greenwood used was first microfilmed, those involved in that project were guilty of inexcusable incompetence for that failure to have the pages unbound laid flat. The result: the microfilm record has entire columns that are unreadable, lost in the curve of the gutter, and beyond being out of focus, faded to white.

On top of all this, Greenwood Press' process for bringing microfilm images to their broadsheet printout appears to have involved making a xerographic print at some stage of the process. Now, xerographic technology back in those early days of the implementation of the process had the serious flaw of being unable to render wide areas of solid black. So most bold large type and most graphic material that had thick black lines or areas of black foreground or background is entirely washed out a millimeter or two from the edges of the black areas.

The very worst cases by far of these incompetent (tho no fault of Greenwood Press!!) renditions is to be found in the following 1926 issues: v4n43, v4n44, v5n4-v5n11, v5n13, and v5n16.

Given what we now know to be a common practice by librarians and/or administrators of libraries at major institutions over the last 4 decades or so, it is likely that that after crippling the efforts to get quality microfilm records by forbidding unbinding the volumes of the newspapers being archived with microfilm, and accepting obviously inadequate microfilm records as an adequate archive, those entrusted with the care of the fragile originals of these issues of Young Worker tossed those "archived" originals in the dumpster. The term "gross and arguably criminal incompetence" just begins to do justice to describing the actions of such individuals.

My own efforts to archive the Greenwood Reprint were somewhat compromised by the fact I could work only with a volume borrowed from a library. To be sure, I am immensely grateful for the fact that I COULD borrow the broadsheet size volume, for there was no way I could bring the 100lb, $10,000 fragile broadsheet scanner at my facility to a library to scan the book: The book had to be brought to the scanner! And in fact, the majority of the libraries who hold this volume WILL NOT allow it to be taken out of the library. Thus, to repeat, I am in the debt of and grateful to the University of Davis Shields Library for making this volume available to me to borrow. That said... it's unfortunately I could not find a copy I could buy, and then unbind to individual pages. It was immensely difficult to get good scans of many of the pages, given the tendency of some of the content to get lost in the gutters. It was a constant struggle and balance between pressing so hard on the scanner as to risk breaking the $1000 pane of glass on it, and failing to keep the shadow of the gutter from the edge of the text. Doing the scanning of this volume took at least 3 times as along, and involved 4 times more arduous work, than it would have taken had I been able to unbind the volume. Fortunately, tho the work was massively unnecessarily hard, the results turned out to be in nearly ever case essentially as good as I would have gotten with individual pages. Note, tho, that some of the more marginal scans, where a little gray begins to impinge on the first column of letters at the edge, were the result of perhaps 5 or 6 repeat scanning efforts to try to get the best possible scan!

Specific idiosyncrasies of the Greenwood Reprint broadsheet record:

1924 Vol 3: Issue v3n23 July 4, 1924 is missing.

1925 Vol 4: Issues v4n22 and v4n23 were missing from the printed volume of the Greenwood Reprint from U C Davis that I was working with. However, Joel Lewis apparently found scans of those two issues in the Greenwood Reprint MICROFILM record, and I have included his scans of those two issues in the 1925 Young Worker archive. He apparently was unable to avail himself of sufficiently low magnification microfilm lenses (and or elected to use higher magnification in order to achieve better resolution), so the scans of those two issues, off microfilm, done by Joel, involve two overlapping (upper and lower) scans per broadsheet page.

1926 Vol 4 and 5:

(a) The numbering of the issues gets a bit wierd for 1926. The first two issues in 1926 are Volume 4 numbers 43 and 44, continuing the numbering from 1925. The next issue presented by Greenwood Press in the volume is "Volume 5, Issue 4". There are no Volume 5 issues 1, 2, or 3 presented in the Greenwood Reprint, and it MAY be those issues never existed.

(b) As noted above, more than half of the issues of 1926 are of execrable quality, probably derived from utterly incompetently made microfilm and further compromised by an early and flawed xerographic process used at some point in the rendering of the images. Entire columns of material are lost. This appears to be the fault of those who made the microfilm that Greenwood Press had to work with as source material. NOT Greenwood Press's fault, and NOT my fault of that of U C Davis library which prevented me from unbinding the volume. The lost material in my scans is exactly as it was in the paper Greenwood Reprint AND in the microfilm Greenwood Press issued.

(c) The final two issues in 1926, v5n20 and v5n21, clearly were tabloid size (in the range of 11 x 17 inches), not the broadsheet size of all the other issues of Vols 3, 4, and 5. These are 8 page issues. They are rendered in this Greenwood Reprint as broadsheet size pages, with the tabloid pages blown up by 25% or more to fill the broadsheet size pages of this monster Greenwood Reprint folio. When I scanned them, I carefully cropped them and reduced the output dimensions size data in the .pdf file, so my scans of them render them as they were, in tabloid size.

Technical Scanning Notes:

The vast majority of these issues were scanned using 400 dpi, 8 bit gray scale, with contrast and brightness manipulated so the resulting image leaned toward aspects of the apperance of an ultra high contrast single bit black and white scan. File sizes for issues tended to be in the range of 29 to 33 megabytes. I then ran minimal (by Adobe Acrobat's settings, anyway) compression on the files ("optimization"), and produced a set of scans that ranged in file size from 2.5 to 5 megabytes. These are what are being offered on the MIA web site. Frankly, their quality is remarkably good, considering the 10 fold reduction in file size that many of them represent. A few of the earliest issues I scanned using single bit black and white scanning (and used no optimization).

I tend to be biased toward use of single bit BW scanning for much of Greenwood Reprints material, but with this material, after some early experiments as I began making this archive, it became clear that contrast-boosted gray scale held certain advantages, so I switched to that and stuck with it. To be sure, based on some further experimentation I did, some of the political cartoons will benefit from conversion to black and white single bit format, if one wanted to blow them up and print them. Others will not.

Martin H. Goodman, M.D.
San Pablo, CA Dec 7, 2013
Director, Riazanov Library digital archive projects
Associated with Holt Labor Library
Associated with Marxist Internet Archive


Last updated on 8 December 2013