Where can I find issues of 3-2-1 Contact magazine from the 1980's?
June 6, 2012 1:36 AM   Subscribe

Is there a library or archive that might have issues of 3-2-1 Contact magazine from the 1980's? 3-2-1 Contact Magazine was a kids print magazine in the U.S. from the 1980's onward, related to the PBS show produced by the Children's Television Workshop. The best I've found from casual searches of Internet resources is a 138MB zip of scans, but this archive is too incomplete for my purposes. Is there a library or archive that would have something like this? Or were magazines not considered archive-worthy, and personal collections (eBay, magazine forums) are my only hope?

I'm looking for something specific, namely a mention of my name in the computing section added to the magazine after the magazine Enter was discontinued. The only clue I have is that it's more likely to be in an issue from 1987, but that's not definitive. What's worse is my memory of this may be entirely fictional, and it's bothered me for years that I haven't had confirmation. I'm not losing sleep or anything, but it'd be interesting to know for sure that it's true, that it's false, or that it's infeasible to know.
posted by dan_of_brainlog to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps check with local schools to see if they have any old copies...?
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 2:30 AM on June 6, 2012

You could try this WorldCat search to see which libraries near you may hold it.

Alternatively, try contacting Sesame Workshop (as Children's Television Workshop is now known). They no longer seem to be in the magazine business, but they may still hold the archives or know who holds them now.
posted by Perodicticus potto at 3:15 AM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

Not sure if this will help, but the name of the magazine was changed to Kid City in the early 90s. And the awesome section with BASIC programs was removed...
posted by chiefthe at 3:17 AM on June 6, 2012

I have no idea how it works, but the Library of Congress *should* have a complete collection of everything published in the US on deposit if it operates under the same laws as Australia.

The publisher, if they are still in business in some form will have it too (as might Marvel thanks to Spidey-Man).

Unless you can get to the physical magazines, without an exact date it'll be hard going

The best I've found from casual searches of Internet resources is a 138MB zip of scans, but this archive is too incomplete for my purposes.

Snaffle it, as it seems like you haven't, and rule out those issues.
It may jog your memory, and if not when you contact the publisher they'll be more likely to assign someone to haunt the archives and scan for the details.

Never be afraid to ask. There's usually an intern no one knows what to do with who could use the experience.
posted by Mezentian at 3:59 AM on June 6, 2012

Contact your local university library.
posted by k8t at 4:24 AM on June 6, 2012

Can't vouch for the site or the zip file, but this may be a lead:

You have to thank jbigglesworth for this one he just today sent me a link to a downloadable collection of 3-2-1 Contacts of his http://www.meatfighter.com/321contact/321contact.zip
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:50 AM on June 6, 2012

Lots of libraries archive periodicals, both on microfilm/fiche and in bound volumes, and this particular one, with its relevance to education and whatnot, appears in quite a few library collections (Perodicticus' WorldCat link lists almost 400--though not all of those will have the '87 issues).

This is exactly the kind of thing that interlibrary loan is for. Talk to a librarian. If not a local university library, even a large public library ought to be able to handle it. Note that not all libraries send out periodicals via interlibrary loan or for free, and don't be surprised if you have to spend some time/money/travel on this thing.

(Of course, this is AskMe, and academic libraries can be pretty slow in the summertime, so I wouldn't be shocked if you get a reply from someone who works in a library that has the old issues, either.)
posted by box at 4:50 AM on June 6, 2012

Best answer: I am an ILLL (interlibrary loan librarian) but IANYILLL. I dug through a lot of WorldCat records and here's the bad news -- tons of public libraries used to subscribe but as you suspect, did not deem it archive-worthy. They still have a record listed in WorldCat but I clicked through to about 20-30 catalogs and none of them own it anymore. Here's the good news -- universities that subscribed to it appear to be semi-likely to own it. Loyola University Chicago has most of the run from 1988-1994; Texas Tech still owns a fairly complete set from 1986-1991. If I were you, I would see if you could find a friendly Texas Tech librarian (perhaps through their Ask A Librarian feature) who would check the indexes of the 1987 issues for you and possibly photocopy you a few pages. This is definitely YMMV and depends upon how willing they are to serve non-patrons. If that doesn't work, I suggest you visit your friendly public library and inquire about putting in an ILL request, but depending upon the size, workload, and sleuthing skills of your local ILL department, there is a very good chance they will just send the request out to your area public libraries who have deaccessioned this title and come back telling you it's hopeless.
posted by jabes at 7:04 AM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: @MonkeyToes: That's the 138MB archive I'd already found, but thanks! Pretty good pics if anyone just wants a taste of nostalgia, though it's only the Enter section and not the full mag. The covers make me nostalgic the most. Enter was more pure awesome in this regard, and there are a couple of places online with full scans of Enter.

@box: Somehow it didn't occur to me that libraries would have this particular magazine on microfilm. I'll keep that in mind.

@jabes: Thanks very much! That's better than I was expecting to hear. I was planning on hitting the local library but I wasn't sure whether ILL would be useful for this, given the age and relative unimportance of the magazine. I think for the information I'm looking for, one would have to page through the relevant section of each issue and skim for my name, so I expected the best approach would be to find and visit an archive in person and do it myself.

Thanks all! I'll report back if I have any success. This childhood memory has been haunting me pretty much all my life. I honestly don't know if it actually happened. I have a whole suite of partial memories about it, but no way to verify if I'd manufactured those memories. There's other stuff I remember from my childhood that I eventually concluded could not possibly have happened.
posted by dan_of_brainlog at 8:41 AM on June 6, 2012

I think for the information I'm looking for, one would have to page through the relevant section of each issue and skim for my name, so I expected the best approach would be to find and visit an archive in person and do it myself.

It might be worth trying to find a student or local through Craigslist who would be willing to do this for you. Once you've found a place that's likely to have all the issues you think it might be in, offer 20 bucks or something to page through every 1987 issue. And honestly, you might have luck with ILL. I've gotten requests for extremely random things and will look through whole volumes to try to find it. But I suspect I'm a little more customer-service oriented (and have more free time to do this) than a lot of people in my profession.
posted by jabes at 10:43 AM on June 6, 2012

Response by poster: AskMeFi SUCCESS! A MeFi-ite who asked to remain anonymous found my name in the June 1988 issue of 3-2-1 Contact magazine!

5MB PDF scan: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/264756/3-2-1%20Contact%20June%201988%200001.pdf

I'm excited and relieved to have confirmation of this elusive 25-year-old childhood memory.
posted by dan_of_brainlog at 10:22 AM on June 7, 2012 [5 favorites]

Cheers to anonymous MeFite! Glad you found your answer, dan_of_brainlog!
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:28 AM on June 7, 2012

That is awesome!! Thanks for the update :)
posted by jabes at 11:31 AM on June 7, 2012

posted by tilde at 4:57 PM on June 7, 2012

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