01 February, 2010

Burda archives

Those proverbially ultra-efficient German engineers at Burda must never have heard the ditty "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". The recent changes are, IMO, not just change for the sake of change alone. The result is a big loss of transparency and navigational headaches. The German pages are now completely unlike all the other-language ones (English, French, Italian, and Russian). As members of multilingual EU, surely the Germans realize that individuals can, and some of us even do, speak more than one language, and have reason on occasion to visit the other-language pages? heck, we like to visit them just for no reason! Oui, ici on parle franglais, c'est peut-etre vrai, mais - avec des tres grands efforts, naturalement - on se debrouille en francais aussi, de temps en temps.

To me, the biggest loss thanks to the German page changes is the disappearance of the early issues from the archives. Used to be, you could peruse them quite far back; now all you get is the cover photo for all pre-April 2009 issues. The clickable links for most of 2009 are very limited as well.

Other archives vary.

Russian: 8/2006 to 1/2010, and one might assume that this will continue to be updated with more recent issues. Also, the unavailable 1/2006 to 7/2006 are usefully grayed out.

English: 1/2006 and then 9/2006 to 12/2009. 2/2006 to 8/2006 are unavailable, but you have to click on them to discover that. Unlike the Russian archive, the unavailable issues are not grayed out.

: 9/2006 to 1/2010. Unavailable issues in 2006 are not grayed out.

Italian: 1/2007 to 11/2009. Go figure. Italianas are evidently so fashion forward they wouldn't dream of sewing up a design that's more than 3 years old. Bravissimas! Vintage-shmintage.

So there you go. I wanted to find a particular issue from 2005, or it might even have been 2004, with a side-panel kimono sleeve jacket, and now I can't any more. And since I can't, I can't look for a second hand issue, since I don't know which issue had it. Kimono sleeved jackets with no side seam don't show up all that frequently. Might be time for Burda to republish that one.

I can find full-text science journal articles going back to the early 20th century sometimes, and JSTOR has pdf images of scholarly articles from the century before! So why is it that Burda's IT engineers can't go back a measly decade?

OK, I'm off the soapbox for the moment.

ETA: I wanted to see what sort of a resource cost having a decade's worth of patterns archive might reasonably require, so I did a quickie calculation. The fashion photos & tech drawings are approximately 20 kb each, so it's 60 kb per pattern. I grabbed one of my issues at random, counted 45 patterns in it - counting each variation as an individual one. That's 2.7 Mb storage space per issue. Times 12 per year times 10 years: 324 Mb. Laughable. Even rounding it up to 400 Mb for all the different language texts, hyperlinks etc, that's a mere 10% of what my camera chip holds.

So, what are blogger's rules on making (and posting to one's public blog) pdf copyrighted material?


  1. Their website has really been difficult to navigate lately. So annoying!!

  2. I totally agree with you - I had the German archives bookmarked since they went back to about 2004. Now all the links on PR are broken. I sent them an e-mail. Guess what? No reply, no acknowledgement. Haven't they heard of customer service?

  3. Currently, the Burda websites are just a mess! I'm am hanging on to the hope that eventually all of the Burda websites will return to their former glory.