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Almost all the Spectators

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Author Topic: Almost all the Spectators  (Read 267 times)
« on: September 25, 2013, 11:48:31 am »

Some weeks ago (,582.msg13080.html#msg13080 ) a member kindly brought to our attention the new Spectator archive ( ).

It contains almost all numbers (issues) from 1828 to 2008. So I have cobbled together a script which enables the user conveniently to access all the pages from a selected issue (or range of issues) in jpg form, and I hope others will find it as useful as I have. One of the greatest pleasures this brings me is the ability to read a book review in an early number of the Spectator (from as far back as the 1830s say) and then at once turn to the Internet Text Archive ( ) and download a djvu or pdf file of the book in question! There are of course also a large number of reviews of concerts, and much else of interest.

The script takes the form of a Perl file; it is called and may be fetched here:

Two auxiliary programmes need to be installed on your computer:

1) Perl. If you do not already have it, you may get it here ( ) for Windows, or here ( ) for Linux etc.

2) cURL. If you do not already have this, you may get it at

Here then is a description of how to use the script - which should run in an identical way under Windows, Linux, BSD, or anything else:

1) Type perl

2) It will ask you for the first year you wish to retrieve.

3) Then it will ask you for the last year you wish to retrieve.

4) Then it will ask you for the particular issue you wish to retrieve. Just hit enter to retrieve all the issues for a year, otherwise enter the day and the month of the particular issue you are interested in, using the pattern ddth-march, ddnd-april, or the like. To discover the dates of the available issues you will have to go to the web-page ( ) first. (The script is still a little rough and ready.)

5) You will then be given the option of retrieving just that one issue (number), or all the remaining issues of the year in question.

So here is a picture of a sample session in progress:

And here a second sample, this time accessing a single issue:

[Finally please take note of and adhere to the "terms" set out on the Spectator archive web-site: "We grant you a limited, temporary, revocable, and non-exclusive licence to access, browse and use the Site (including the Content and Trade Marks) for your personal and non commercial use only."]
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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2013, 12:28:21 pm »

That's really most helpful indeed; many thanks for taking the trouble to post all of this!
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