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Ghostbusters PDF eBook Preservation Project

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Sep. 25, 2011 at 11:55 PM , Categories: Ghostbusters 1, Books
Image IT HAS BEGUN! No, not Mortal Kombat - though the awesome 1995 flick did come out on Blu-ray this year - but rather a project I've thought about for years has officially begun here on Spook Central.

Back in 2008 when I was working on The Real Ghostbusters: Complete Collection DVD box set, I scanned in a bunch of my The Real Ghostbusters and Slimer! scripts and assembled the scans into PDF "eBook" files for inclusion in the set and on this site. That gave me the idea of doing the same thing, not only with the other scripts that I own for both movies and Extreme Ghostbusters, but also with the other Ghostbusters books in my collection. Not only would this allow me to share the vintage materials that I own, most of which would cost big bucks to buy the few remaining copies that are still out there, but it would allow me to digitally preserve materials that are no longer being published so that future generations could enjoy them.

As with most everything that I start, the project laid dormant for many years, with The Real Ghostbusters and Slimer! scripts being the only progress made on it. That all changed a month ago when Matthew Jordan (from the Ghostbusters Wiki) used some of the Trioxin he has stored in steel drums in his basement to bring the project back to life. He e-mailed me to say that he was working on making a complete digital copy out of his physical copy of the "Ghostbusters" novel by Richard Mueller, and he was wondering if I'd like to host it on Spook Central. Since I also own that book, and thus it's one of the books I planned on including in my project, I jumped at the chance.

(SIDE NOTE: Matthew's physical copy of the book is in very poor condition. He did a tremendous amount of work to make it look as good as the PDF you'll find on the Ghostbusters Books page. To illustrate just how much work he did, look at this 1600x1400 image he put together that shows the clean-up process. As if that wasn't enough, he also gathered up all of the images strewn throughout the book and collected them into a photo gallery at the end of the PDF. He didn't have to, but he did it anyway because he's cool like that.)

I used this as a chance to lay the groundwork for the entire project by transforming the old "In Print" pages into new "Books" pages for Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II, and The Real Ghostbusters. There are practically no full books available on any of those pages right now, other than the Richard Mueller novel (on the Ghostbusters page, of course), seeing as how I haven't done any scanning myself. I wanted to use the addition of the novel PDF to the site as the opportunity to get things started for future use. Eventually I'll fix up the Comic Books page like this as well, as I would also like to include complete PDF eBooks of every out-of-print Ghostbusters comic.

I downloaded a bunch of page scans for the majority of the Now comic books (I think I have scans of all of Vol. 1), as well as 88MPH's Legion, Now's Ghostbusters II, and one Slimer! and Marvel RGB issue as well. That'll save me the trouble of scanning in my copies, though I still have to fix some of them up, and I want to compare the scans with my physical comics to make sure that no pages are missing. Don't expect for any of that to show up this week. I certainly hope that I'm not biting off more than I can chew with the scope of this project, especially in terms of the amount of file space needed for it all. Maybe I could share the load, by letting another site host the comic PDFs... but that's not something I'll worry about right now.

I would love to get help from those of you who own Ghostbusters books/magazines and can scan them in well (the less image clean-up I have to do, the faster the content will get on the site). Here's what I already have page scans of: GB1 Starburst magazine, Now GB2 issues 1-3, Now RGB vol 1 issues 1-27, Now RGB vol 2 Annual 1992, Now Slimer issue 1, Marvel RGB UK Annual 1990, and 88MPH Legion issues 1-4.

Disclaimer: No copyright infringement is intended with this project. The presentation of full books and articles is done solely to digitally preserve materials that are no longer being published. For that reason, no IDW books will appear on the site until they no longer have the license and the books are out-of-print. The same is true of Cereal:Geek articles, unless James Eatock gives me permission. Nobody should be forced to pay hundreds of dollars to second-hand stores, such as eBay and Amazon Marketplace, just to be able to read one of these books. A lot of these books have been out-of-print for 20+ years. The original copyright owners aren't making one cent in profit off of the copies being sold by sellers at the aforementioned places. Heck, a lot of the copyright owners have long gone out of business. These books will be lost and gone forever if we all don't step forward to properly preserve them.

Also, thanks to Patrick O'Riley and Matthew Jordan, the 8/5/1983 draft of the Ghostbusters script is now available on the Ghostbusters Scripts page. Patrick scanned it in and submitted it, Matthew did clean-up of the images.
23 comments »

23 comments

Comment from: AJ Quick [Visitor] · http://www.GBFans.com/
Sounds like it would be a good addition. For your reference, GBFans.com has hundreds (if not thousands) of pages scanned in from books, magazines and more.
Sep. 26, 2011 @ 03:22
Comment from: Paul Rudoff [Member] Email
I've noticed that, AJ, and tried to link up GB Fans on the Books pages where appropriate.

The page scans you have are good for online reference, but are absolutely useless for the preservation of the books, for someone wanting to read one as a whole book, or to view a book on a portable eBook reader or tablet device (assuming any of them support the PDF format) away from their computer.

That's why I see usefulness for both your page scans and my PDF eBook preservation project.
Sep. 26, 2011 @ 15:16
Comment from: Paul Rudoff [Member] Email
Major thanks to Max from GB Mania for mentioning the project on his site.
Sep. 26, 2011 @ 17:21
Great addition, indeed. These drafts and movie novels are interesting reads if only to see the differences and lines that were omitted or rewritten. At least from this draft, we finally get to know who the Sebouillia were and the details of Ivo Shandor's first demise in the 20's.
Sep. 27, 2011 @ 04:09
Comment from: Richard Roy (Spengs) [Visitor] · http://www.ectocontainment.com
Matthew and Paul: Great idea and long term project. I love when fans can work together and/or share resources if possible. Their was a time I was going to put one of the Ghostbusters novels on the GBI site. As I didn't have my new scanner at the time I could only type it word by word. =O You can imagine how far I got into the project.

Although not currently linked on GBI or Ectocontainment I have the Now RGBs Ghostbusters II pages on my site. A link can be provided if needed. They're not available as PDF files though.

While I know AJ has a lot of the Now RGB comics on GB Fans, I had planned on scanning and possibly cleaning up every issue as necessary to put on Ectocontainment. The plan is also to go beyond that if I get that far into the "project." I concur, the current Ghostbusters comics from IDW will not be available on-line. If I remember correctly they are and will be available in a digital format from IDW anyway.

Of course you're free to do what you want, if I get an issue up, you're free to take the pages and put them up on your site as PDFs. I'd ask for a credit and a link back to Ectocontainment™.
Sep. 29, 2011 @ 16:42
Comment from: Paul Rudoff [Member] Email
Richard

By all means, please add the Now comics to your site. I'll be happy to link to them. As I said in my post, "Maybe I could share the load, by letting another site host the comic PDFs..." So it would be great to have your site be the home for the comic PDFs, which would free up some of my file space for other things.

If you want the scans I downloaded of the Now comics, let me know via e-mail. If you need any help putting them into PDFs, again let me know. I'll be happy to share my techniques and advice with you. Of course, if you're not using Windows, the techniques and advice will be absolutely useless, but the offer is there :-)
Oct. 2, 2011 @ 19:53
Comment from: devilmanozzy [Visitor] Email · http://www.ghostbusters.wikia.com
Richard,
If you need any of comics that you have done turned into pdf's, I'm willing to do it, like I did for the 7 mags.

Also, if you are running into issues, or need a clean up of possible GB:RPG addon stuff, let me know. I can work pretty quickly now on these projects.
Oct. 3, 2011 @ 02:48
Comment from: Richard (Spengs) [Visitor] · http://www.ectocontainment.com
I don't see a problem at this time with hosting the RGB comics scans and pdfs. I don't believe I have a way to make PDFs on my computer. I may have to look into it. I'm a long time Mac user, your techniques and advice might be foreign to me. =p

If I need your scans, I'll get in touch. I'm currently working on another related RGB update for Ectocontainment™. Something I started back in May, but only kicked into high gear this past weekend.
Oct. 3, 2011 @ 19:43
Comment from: Paul Rudoff [Member] Email
Richard

I should also make it known that, with certain exceptions, I don't plan to include children's books and the West End Games RPG books in the preservation project. So if you want to handle those, be my guest.

Matthew/devilmanozzy did bring a GB2 coloring book to my attention that I'll include in the project, and I have one or two GB2 activity/coloring books with movie photos that I'll also include - since some of those photos are from deleted scenes. If I come across any good RGB books based on actual series episodes, I *may* include them, but children's books that aren't based on the movies or tv series episodes really aren't that interesting to me.
Oct. 7, 2011 @ 20:03
Comment from: Richard (Spengs) [Visitor] · http://www.ectocontainment.com
Paul -
Understand and can agree about any children's books. With the exception of one The Real Ghostbuster coloring book (which of course is not a typical book) that is still apart of the old RGB subsite I don't have any The Real Ghostbusters children's books. For the most part they don't interest me. If I ever buy any or I'm sent scans I'd have to think about preservation based on content.

The West End GBI books are still on the GBI® site, not currently linked in the current layout/design. I don't think for the most part they exist in a PDF format. That could change when I "move" them.
Oct. 7, 2011 @ 21:01
Comment from: Ace2020boyd [Visitor]
If it is possible i would love to see these book in the kindle format instead(really would just want this for Ghostbusters The Return) of a pdf but as of right now its fine. Keep up the good work.
Oct. 8, 2011 @ 02:47
Comment from: Paul Rudoff [Member] Email
Ace, that's not possible at all. I'm sure Amazon has their Kindle format encrypted so that only they can use it. Besides, PDF is a much more widely acceptable format. All computer operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux) have PDF readers, and I would bet that most of the handheld devices (like iPad, maybe iPhone and other items of that nature) could read them as well. A quick glance through Google shows that Kindle can read PDFs as well, though maybe just starting with v2 and higher. You'll have to do some more reading to check up on that.

As for Ghostbusters: The Return... even though it isn't a very old book (it came out in 2004), that is definitely one of the books intended for preservation. The publisher, iBooks, went out of business five years ago, and the copies that are out there on eBay and Amazon Marketplace go for $100 or more. I bought my copy back in 2004 and have never read it or cracked the spine, It is as 100% Mint as 100% Mint can be. I bet that I could get a nice amount of money for it, but as hard up for cash as I am - and I will be putting a bunch of items up for sale on this site very soon - that will be one of the last things I will ever sell. I might sell a kidney before I sell that book. Hey, I have two kidneys, but only one copy of the book :-)

Anyway, I am *VERY* hesitant to crack open my copy so that I could scan it in for the project. I'm really hoping that someone else already has a "read" copy that they could scan in. I've been looking for a dirt-cheap used copy to use for scanning, but nothing has shown up anywhere close to the "under $10" price range. No surprise there.
Oct. 8, 2011 @ 03:36
Comment from: devilmanozzy [Visitor] · http://www.ghostbusters.wikia.com
@Ace2020boyd

Looking over this link plus some others, It is a pretty sure thing that we wont be doing Kindle format unless someone actually types out the books. Both ebooks you see are made of image files (final form png format) and from what I've read kindle is text file based reader.
Oct. 8, 2011 @ 05:58
Comment from: Ace2020boyd [Visitor]
@Spookcentral

If you are looking for scans of the book if i remember correctly that UltimateGBfan over at GBfans.com sent me a link to the scans of the book. if you send him a PM over there he could send you the link. I still have the link(if you want it um you can hit me up with a PM at gbfans or i could post it here. Its up to you). He mentioned in a post I originally made here
http://www.gbfans.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=13062

@Devilmanozzy if we did type the book out with all the scans from what UltimateGBfan found. We could make it a huge GB fans project and get the community involved. there from what i know 304 pages have 101 users type 3 pages and we have the book digital for PDF and eReaders. Thats an idea.
Oct. 9, 2011 @ 03:38
Comment from: Ace2020boyd [Visitor]
I forgot to mention this the post i just sent. here is a link i found http://www.unrulyguides.com/2011/04/do-not-use-pdf-for-e-publishing-to-mobi-kindle-epub/

OCR seems like the best why. It scans the for the charectors in the book and make them in to text.
Here is a sample i did with the PDF UltimateGBfan gave me. and its the first page.

THE DANGERS OF
NEW YORK DRIVING

Ray turned to check the traffic, just in time to see a
cloud of black smoke and hear a mechanical roar as
the driver of the cement mixer gunned the engine.
The truck barreled out into the street, tearing across
the busy thoroughfare in reverse.
But the thing that mattered most to Ray was where
the cement mixer was going. It was headed straight
for the side of the Ectomobile.
The driver’s door crumpled as the Ectomobile
jumped with the force of the collision. Egon and Ray
were pelted with a hail of shattered glass, as the
cement chute on the back of the mixer came smashing
through the side window and stopped inches from
their heads.
Ray's first reaction was shock, followed by anger.
But all of that vanished when he saw the glowing,
skeletal arm that waved to him from the cab of the
cement mixer.
“Oh, no...” said Ray.
OCRed with http://newocr.com/
Oct. 9, 2011 @ 04:01
Comment from: Paul Rudoff [Member] Email
Ace, I sent UltimateGBfan a PM about it, but in case he doesn't reply, feel free to post the link here.

I can promise you that neither myself, nor Devilmanozzy (I think it's safe to speak for him on this), are going to do any OCR or plain text transcriptions of book texts. It's WAY too time consuming to not only check the text for errors, but then to format it for the best presentation.

It's a lot easier to scan and clean page images (though there's still a lot of work involved), and it provides a near-100% exact representation of the source material.

Besides that, there are several books that are picture-intensive, which simply will not work as text-only. The Anne Digby GB1 storybook will simply HAVE to be done as image scans.

I checked out the UnrulyGuides.com page you mentioned in your second comment. It doesn't apply to this project as it is more focused on newly-created digital works where a printed hard copy ISN'T the source material. If it helps you to better understand how this project works, look at the GB Fans page scans of the Anne Digby GB1 storybook. We're doing the same thing as that, except higher-quality and as a single file containing all pages of the book. So instead of having 63 individual images, you'll have one PDF file that contains those 63 images inside of it.

On the plus side, as long as a Kindle can read PDFs with images inside them, then eBooks in this project will display 100% the same as any other device that is reading them, as the formatting is hard-coded in the images, and not within text.

By the way, is that text you posted with the header "The Dangers Of New York Driving" from Ghostbusters: The Return?

(Side Note: Since spam comments have been extremely low, I turned off the comment approval system, so that legit user comments are instantly posted. If the spam starts to come back, I'll have to turn on the comment approval system again. I just thought I'd let everyone know about the change.)
Oct. 9, 2011 @ 06:46
Comment from: Ace2020boyd [Visitor]
@spookcentral yes, that is text from Ghostbusters the return. I used the OCR to test it out.

and here is the link Ghostbusters the Return PDF
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=DJ0H1RJ3 (115.16 MB, GBtR.zip)
Oct. 9, 2011 @ 11:44
Comment from: Paul Rudoff [Member] Email
Ace, that PDF is like a gift from the heavens. Although the PDF itself isn't "perfect", and in no way would *I* present it in the shape it's in, what it contains is FAR greater than it's presentation: raw scans of the actual book pages. I can extract these pages back to their native jpg images (no loss as they're stored as jpgs inside the pdf), then have them converted to a lossless format, cropped, cleaned, and reassembled into a much more presentable pdf. That would be perfect for this project. When the new book is added, I will give you credit for providing the source materials. I guess I should probably also give UltimateGBfan credit since if it wasn't for him, you wouldn't have the link/file to then pass along to me.

I did a count and all pages are there, though it should be noted that the page scan containing the title page and the page scan containing the dedication page are reversed. The title scan goes first, the dedication scan goes after it. You can notice this by looking at the bleed-through of the pages on the other sides. Even though there are a few pages where the text is a bit faded, the scans were very well done. Thanks a million for bringing this to our attention.

Since you've been so helpful, I will throw you a bone by giving you something that I think you'll like, though it really isn't suitable for the project. A day or two ago another eBook copy of Ghostbusters: The Return was brought to my attention. It comes from the site Sharebookfree.com (leeched at ebookee.org), but can be downloaded from FileSonic (4.39 MB, sharebookfree.com_915931645.rar). This file contains text-only copies of the book in a few different formats: rtf, pdf, epub, fb2, lit, lrf, mobi, and pdb. I can only view the rtf and pdf copies. The pdf is a mess; the presentation is horrible. If the text in the rtf and pdf are the same as the other versions (and I bet they are), there are a TON of spelling errors. Oh, and it's missing the "The Dangers Of New York Driving" preface and the text about the other novels that iBooks was publishing at the time. The latter would ruin the presentation, so its absence is acceptable, but the former is missed since that text doesn't appear elsewhere in the book.

Just out of curiosity, have you downloaded the PDFs of the Ghostbusters novels by Mueller or Milne from the Ghostbusters Books page and tried to view either on your Kindle. If so, what were the results? If you have a digital camera, could you take some photos of the Kindle's screen showing how they both look on the Kindle?
Oct. 10, 2011 @ 01:30
Comment from: Ace2020boyd [Visitor]
The books with the pictures look good but the Text is really lite. you have to zoom in to really get a good look at the text. But that Return ebook works really well on the kindle. I used the Mobi file and it has text to speech and dictionary use.

Here is milne one
image

mueller
image

and here is a pic of the ebook version of The Return you sent me. I used the Mobi file
image
image
Oct. 10, 2011 @ 16:00
Comment from: Paul Rudoff [Member] Email
Ace, thanks a million for taking those photos. I fixed up the comment's html code so they all display fully, and clicking on the first two will present the full size image in a new window.

The photos, along with your comments about the text, give me a pretty good idea as to why everything looks the way it does. The Kindle obviously loves text, so the mobi file, which is probably just the text and the two cover scans, would definitely display the best. No surprise there.

I am glad to see that it *can* display the PDFs with the "text inside images". I would suspect that the reason the text is lite is because it's text inside of an image instead of pure text. That would explain why the mobi file's text is darker. As for having to zoom in, that is undoubtedly a result of scanning in two novel pages as one image, instead of 1:1 (one page per one image). Obviously all of the novels could be scanned in 1:1, but it's easier on the human doing the work to do two at a time, since two pages fit across the scanner bed. Had we (and the guy who scanned in Ghostbusters: The Return) done the novel scans 1:1, I have no doubt that you wouldn't have to zoom in on them at all, and the text would even be a bit darker.

We have books in the works that are physically larger than the novels, so those books will be scanned in 1:1. I would bet that you will have a much easier time viewing them on the Kindle. Actually, you can test that out right now by downloading a few of The Real Ghostbusters scripts, which are done 1:1 with the actual printed scripts that I own. I'd like for you to specifically try the Second Season Bible and the Robo-buster Rough First Draft. The bible is black and white text scans, while the Robo-buster draft has some color in it, along with black and white text. I'm gonna make a prediction that you will NOT have to zoom in on either of them, and the text will be darker than the novel PDFs. If you can, please post a couple of photos showing each on the Kindle.

In conclusion, I am glad that you can view the novel PDFs on the Kindle, even with the minor annoyance of zooming in.
Oct. 12, 2011 @ 02:14
Comment from: Richard aka Spengs [Visitor] · http://www.ectocontainment.com
From the idea 4 years ago to the the launching of the preservation project to finally this past week. I took issue 1 of The Real Ghostbusters comic books. I've scanned it cover-to-cover and have cleaned it up, pretty much restoring it like we would have seen it in summer 1988.

It's not in a PDF format yet, it could be added to Ectocontainment and/or here in a future update.

Here's the blog entry about it: http://ectocontainment.com/ectocontainment/Blog/Entries/2012/2/22_The_Real_Ghostbusters_Comics.html

Here is my digital preservation of issue 1: http://ectocontainment.com/ectocontainment/Comics/Pages/issue_1.html

As additional issues are added, they can be found at Ectocontainment's Comics section. http://ectocontainment.com/ectocontainment/Comics/Comics.html

I'll be working on issue 2 in the near future.

Richard
Feb. 23, 2012 @ 08:44
Comment from: Abioye Adaeze [Visitor]
I wish for you to reconsider preserving the role playing game files please. There are many scammers and ebay sellers will not send to my country. As I grow older my eyes are worse and I cannot read the scans on the gbfans. When I make them larger they are blurry even my son tells me he cannot reading them. Why the man make them so bad I do not know but is like having the fruit hanging just out of reach but can never eat.
May. 22, 2015 @ 05:40
Comment from: Richard aka Spengs [Visitor]
Abloye

Hello, this is Rich who runs both Ghostbusters Inc. and Ecto-Containment. I have been hosting the Ghostbusters roleplaying game at the former Ghostbusters International, currently Ghostbusters Inc. site for years.

Scans are high resolution. I also am sharing the files for Tobin's Spirit Guide, and two of the RPG supplemental books. I believe they are Hot Rod Of The Gods and Ghost Toasties.

The gaming PDFs, Tobin's PDF, and the books PDFs are free.

https://ghostbustersinc.wordpress.com/media/ghostbusters-the-roleplaying-game/

Hope you and your son have fun with these materials.

Rich
May. 22, 2015 @ 16:58

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