Worm Breeder's Gazette 12(2): 11 (January 1, 1992)

These abstracts should not be cited in bibliographies. Material contained herein should be treated as personal communication and should be cited as such only with the consent of the author.

The Electronic Gazette

Kevin Powell, Bruce Schatz

Community Systems Laboratory, Life Sciences South, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721

The Worm Breeder's Gazette (WBG) is now available in electronic format as part of the Worm Community System (WCS). See the accompanying article for WCS availability. We have converted the contents of the WBG into electronic form, including all articles from Vol 1 No 1, published in December 1975, to the latest Vol 12 No 1. The intention was to provide a complete archive so that every page was converted, except for material otherwise available electronically, such as the genome map and the bibliography. Rather than scan in images of the pages, the text was character recognized and marked up so that it can be searched using key words and displayed in a uniform (pretty) format. This makes the information more readily available at the cost of losing the historical variation of submitted printed formats. The figures were scanned and resized for readability. Thus, when using WCS, you can retrieve all WBG articles referencing a given phrase and quickly display their complete text with figures.

The process for generating the electronic version was as follows. A paper copy of each issue was scanned using a Hewlett-Packard ScanJet Plus with a sheet feeder running the DeskScan software. This was connected to an Apple Macintosh II FX, where the conversion took place. For text pages, the Omnipage software was used to convert the digitalization to a Microsoft Word document. Surprisingly, most pages were recognized accurately with only a few errors. Word was then used to perform spelling correction to catch scanner errors and to mark up the text in pseudo-SGML to specify location of the title, author, and special words such as gene names. The proofreading was done by an undergraduate biology major. For figure pages (or for figures within pages), the DeskScan software was used to generate a TIFF file. The bitmaps were then resized and cleaned up using Adobe Photoshop. After conversion, the text and image files were downloaded to our Sun file server.

The display software converts the marked-up text into its own internal format. It displays the title and author in large boldface followed by the rest of the text in pretty format. It is written in C for Unix machines under X-windows. The figures if any are displayed in adjacent windows from the TIFF format. There are currently some 1450 articles; a typical size is 6000 bytes for a text page and 20 kbytes for a figure image. The recommended usage is to obtain WCS and use the functionality therein. If there is sufficient interest, we will also make the raw files available (please note they contain formatting codes). There is also a stand alone Unix program which displays a table of contents for all issues, and allows you to read them.

This project was carried out in about six months, using clerical help and undergraduate students. Special thanks are due to Eric Boyer, Lindy Fletcher, and Clay Sales. Thanks are also due to Samuel Ward, who donated his collection of WBGs as well as serving as the test user and to Mark Edgley, who provided missing copies.