S&T Seven Decade DVD Collection

Tony Flanders

We have received many questions about the recently announced Complete Sky & Telescope: Seven Decade Collection. Click on one of the frequently asked questions below to see the answer.

Stay tuned for more information; we will modify this article as needed if additional questions come to light.


Does the archive run both on PCs and Macs?

Yes, the archive runs on any computer with a DVD drive and a Flash-enabled web browser. You don’t need anything else, and you don’t need to install any software on your computer. The system is completely independent of computer platform, operating system, and web browser (as long as the browser can display Flash content, which virtually all desktop, laptop, and netbook computers can, though you’ll need an external DVD drive to view the archive with netbooks). The archive was not designed for e-readers.


Is it in color?

The entire collection was imaged and is displayed in color, even the early issues that were only black and white — if color was there (such as the covers) you’ll see it in the archive. The original imaging was optimized to show detail in photographs printed in the magazine, and I’m impressed with the subtle detail that’s visible. One byproduct of this optimization, however, is that the text does not appear in extreme black-and-white contrast; the background is a little gray, but I’d rather see that than high-contrast pictures that look like they were reproduced on a lousy photocopier.


Can I print the articles?

Yes, you can print a page or a range of pages to any printer of your choice, so you can make copies of pages to take out to the telescope, etc.


What format are the files?

There’s no simple answer to the question about the file format for the S&T DVD archive. The DVDs do not have neat little self-contained files of individual issues. Rather, the archive comprises a variety of file types that work in concert with one another. For example, the image of the page you see on your monitor is generated from a JPEG file, but it’s running along with “underlying” file formats that contain the machine-readable text, etc.


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