With the advent and prevalence of the Internet, accessing back issues online is easier than ever, and always up to date.
That the CD exists is entirely down to Ian Tresman. When he rang me some while ago and suggested transferring Lobster to a CD my reaction was totally negative. I only had issues 19 onwards on disk – and many of them on old Amstrad PCW disks at that; the rest in hard copy only; and of those issues 1-8 had been printed A5 on an old Gestener off-set litho machine, literally held together with elastic bands, and simply would not scan properly. I didn’t have the money to pay a typist to re-keyboard issues 1-8; and, with a residual case of RSI in both forearms waiting to be reactivated by a load of keyboarding, I certainly wasn’t about to do it myself. So: thanks but no thanks. What did Ian do? He simply ignored me and carried on as if I had said ‘Yes’.
The other major contributor has been Jane Affleck who has done I hate to think how many hundred hours proof-reading the texts.
Without Ian and Jane there would be no CD.
The CD-Rom project was first suggested in 1997, it’s aim being to computerise all issues of Lobster, and make the texts full searchable. The project was started in the middle of 1998:
- The first 17 issues of Lobster were not available in computerised format, so they required computerising:
- Using a scanner to create images of these publication (each page takes about 1 minute)
- Using optical character recognition (OCR) software to try and create editable text from the scanned images. Unfortunately this process has varying degrees of success from complete failure to a couple of errors per page.
- Proof-reading the editable text, or typing it in from scratch if the OCR failed
- Adding formatting where necessary, such as bold, italics, underline, etc
- Lobster Issues 19 to 25 were produced on an old Amstrad PC, and the text saved onto old 3-inch (not 3½-inch) disks:
- A service bureau transfered the files into standard PC-formated 3½-inch disks
- The service bureau also converted the files from Amstrad PCW format to MS Word 4.0
Example of Amstrad PCW Formated file:
<nr43><ps10,10><c>Notes# +/ <nr41><ps6.5,7.5><l> 1.<en> The "New Right' and those around Keith Joseph and Thatcher worked hard to portray the
- Lobster issues 26 onwards were produced in Macintosh Claris Works, and required converting to PC-formated files:
- Macintosh 3½-inch diskettes are read on a PC using a utily called TransMac from Acute Systems (www.asy.com)
- Claris Works files on a Mac can be exported into PC-friendly file formats such as MS Word
- Versions of Claris Works exist for PCs, but my demo version did not allow Saving, nor cutting and pasting of text, so I had to resort to either:
- “printing” the text using either Microsoft’s HTML Printer Driver
- “pritning” the text using Adobe Acrobat and then cutting and pasting from Acrobat.
- More recent issues of Lobster were produced in MS Word.
- Files in a convenient PC format then needed converting into HTML (suitable for Web pages). However, MS Word does not produce “clean” HTML, but HTML with Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) and XML formatting. However, it was found that by saving a file in MS Write 3.1 format, and re-loading into MS Word, removed much unnecessary formatting. Finally, the text was exported at Compact HTML using the Office 2000 HTML Filter 2.0, details at
- Then Funduc Software’s Search and Replace utlity was used extensive to search for various HTML markings, and replaced far simpler markups. Details at www.searchandreplace.com
- Tidying up pages into a form suitable for this project, ie:
- remove page number out of the body of the text
- move footnotes to a more suitable location
- Redo tables and charts
- Add text enhancements to the text, including: bold text, italics, underlines, subscripts and superscripts, headers
- Handle graphics: images, photographs, illustrations, and charts that can not be reproduced in text alone.
- Create contents pages, and link to each article
- Adding cross-references
- Generating Word Contents
- Generating Full Text Index
This project has proved quite time consuming with some 40 journals, converting into some 630 articles, and over 290,000 words of text.
CD-Rom Version History
- v1.82.12 (Dec 2021): Added Lobster issue 82 (Ongoing)
- v1.82.09 (Sep 2021): Added Lobster issue 82 (Ongoing)
- v1.81.06 (Jun 2021): Added Lobster issue 81 (Completed)
- v1.81.01 (Jan 2021): Added Lobster issue 80 (Completed) & 81 (ongoing)
- v1.80.08 (Aug 2020): Added Lobster issue 79 (Completed) & 80 (ongoing)
- v1.78.02 (Dec 2019): Added Lobster issue 78 (Completed)
- v1.78.01 (Oct 2019): Added Lobster issue 78 (On-going)
- v1.77.02 (Feb 2019): Added Lobster issue 77 (Completed)
- v1.75.09 (Sep 2018): Added Lobster issue 76 (Completed)
- v1.75.08 (Aug 2018): Added Lobster issue 75 (Completed)
- v1.74.10 (Oct 2017): Added Lobster issue 73 & 74 (Completed)
- v1.72.12 (Dec 2016): Added Lobster issue 72 (Completed)
- v1.72.9(Sep 2016): Added Lobster issue 72 articles
- v1.7c (Dec 2015): Added Lobster issue 71
- v1.7b (Dec 2015): Added Lobster issue 70
- v1.7 (June 2015): Added Lobster issues 65 to 70
- v1.6.2 (Apr 2013): Added Lobster issues 62 to 64.
Added Lobster reviews (via Home Page)
- v1.6.2 (Jul 2012): Added Lobster issues 61
- v1.6.0 (June 2011):
- Added Lobster issues 53 to 60.
- Replaced the 10-year-old Java search engine with the new faster PHP-based “Zoom” search engine.
- Removed the Word Index.
- v1.5.0 (July 2007): Added Lobster issues 51 and 52.
- v1.4.0: Added Lobster issues 49 and 50.
- v1.3.0: Added Lobster issues 47 and 48.
- v1.2.0: Added Lobster Issues 41, 42, 43, 44, 45 and 46.
- v1.0.1: Added an alternative Home Page as the Java search applet was causing problems to some Macs.
- v1.0.0: First edition including Lobster Issues 1 through to 40, plus the Clandestine Caucus.