Where to find old magazine issues online?
November 20, 2017 1:26 PM   Subscribe

Thanks to Google Books Magazines and OpenLibrary, I've been enjoying a number of vintage magazines. But is there a place online to get whole issues (not the odd scanned page) of 1980s/1990s women's/teen magazines to read?

I know about ProQuest, but it doesn't seem to be open to the general public (and I'm not in the US - there are some UK academic institutions with access but I'm not a member, bah). I also don't want to buy issues off eBay as it's cost and space prohibitive - I want something I can put on my tablet for a little hit of nostalgia on my commute.
posted by mippy to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Not an answer, but a hurdle: 1980s/90s is still very much under copyright (U.S.: works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years; other countries: generally life +
50 or 70 years
), so posting such material online is technically illegal, unless the publisher decided to post materials online, which could still be contested by the content makers (writers and artists).
posted by filthy light thief at 1:34 PM on November 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

That's interesting - because there are so many 80s computer magazines on OpenLibrary, I assumed this was a case of defunct publishers releasing archives online. The New York Magazine archive on Google Books only goes up to 1997, and there are a few issues missing, so I wonder if that is a rights claim issue. (They have, for some reason, two or three years of some magazines, and full runs of others.)
posted by mippy at 1:40 PM on November 20, 2017

I assumed this was a case of defunct publishers releasing archives online.

I used to work at Open Library. It is very much a situation of asking for forgiveness and not permission. Which is not to say that some magazines haven't decided to put some of their content online, just that it's the exception rather than the rule. You might find better coverage for some magazines via The Internet Archive because i'm not sure content that is being scanned is getting linked in Open Library the way it used to be. You can start at The Magazine Rack. Have you checked Wikipedia's list of online magazines? Many people in the US have access to libraries which have ProQuest subscriptions so you might want to see if you have friends stateside who have this sort of access and maybe you can send them some chocolate bars or something (I am a librarian and I am here to say this is the approved way to handle these transactions)?
posted by jessamyn at 2:08 PM on November 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Shocking Pink magazine. It looks as if 15 of the 16 issues are online as PDF scans. Image quality is not great. And if you haven't come across Shocking Pink before, here's some context: the anti-Jackie.
posted by paduasoy at 2:11 PM on November 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Jessamyn - I meant The Magazine Rack, thank you! I see there are some issues of Redbook and Seventeen on there, but not as far back as my interests lie. If I wanted computer magazines, there's pretty much everything on there, but they don't pique my nostalgia/sociological interest in quite the same way.

It looks like you can access ProQuest mainly through academic institutions/Athens in the UK, which isn't an option for me at the moment. I'm not sure I do know anyone with access (although I do have chocolate bars).
posted by mippy at 2:25 PM on November 20, 2017

The British Library has made the entire catalogue of Spare Rib magazine free to search and browse.
posted by jeudi at 10:48 AM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

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