Plans to digitise the Alpine Journal arose towards the end of 2008, through conversations at the Club between Editor Steve Goodwin, Area Notes Editor Paul Knott and John Town.
The project has been implemented by John Town, with the guidance and encouragement of Steve Goodwin. This began with trial runs on the 1970 and 1992-93 volumes during January 2009. The initial goal was to digitise the last 40 years of the Alpine Journal and make them available to AJ members and the public. The first stage, the 19 volumes from 1990-91 to 2008, was completed just before Christmas 2009.
An initial version of the website, offering access to articles by mountain area and by volume, was completed by mid-February 2010. Work then proceeded on scanning the remainder of the volumes from 1969 -1989-90, and implementing a full text search facility using the Wrensoft Zoom search engine. Further development of the website included sections on the history of of the AJ and the 2009 edition. An interim version of the site was launched at the Alpine Club meeting on the 8th June but work was not completed on the current version until the end of August 2010. The 40 volumes from 1969 to 2008 comprise a total of 2,029 articles by 724 different authors, running to about 14,000 pages. A number of minor bugs and inconsistencies are still being dealt with. Expedition commitments meant that a formal launch announcements was delayed until mid-October 2010.
During the autumn of 2010 the Club collaborated with the universitie of Cambridge and Zurich in making a bid to the UK Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) to fund the digitization of earlier volumes of the Journal. Sadly this was unsuccessful and a lower key approach has been taken. John's availability was limited by his appointment as Honorary Secretary of the Club but AC member Ned Kelly volunteered to assist and the load has increasingly passed into his capable hands. As at September 2011, digitization of the 1960s has been completed and the 1950s embarked upon. Once these are complete they will be mounted on the site, as will the 2009 edition.
The site was built using Dreamweaver CS3, Photoshop CS3 and the Zend Studio editor, with the assistance of iWeb in the initial stages. AJ pages were scanned into Photoshop using a second-hand Epson GT-15000 A3 scanner with sheetfeeder. A series of adjustments were made to the resulting tiffs and these were then assembled into facsimile pdfs, corresponding to articles or sections of the journal, using Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional. The text of the article was translated into computer-readable form using Acrobat Professional's OCR facility. Most of the processing was carried out using two ageing dual-core Apple Power Mac G5s running OS X 10.4. Indexing and implementation of the full text search facility was carried out using an Acer Aspire X3810 running Windows 7.