Since 1977, Maximum Rocknroll has been producing a radio show, publishing a monthly magazine, releasing records, organizing shows, and supporting worldwide punk projects. In 2016, we began fundraising for an ambitious project to rehouse and care for tens of thousands of records at our San Francisco headquarters, digitize every back issue of the magazine, and create an online catalog of our music holdings.
Thanks to the generosity and support of our readers, we raised enough to fund these projects, and we’re nearly ready to share the first phase.
In the coming months, we will be launching a digital archive of the complete print run of the magazine, dating back to 1982. Each issue is meticulously catalogued to the article level and presented as a high-quality searchable PDF, completely free of charge. MRR has been instrumental in punk history and historiography, and the magazine archive will be an essential resource for record collectors, historians, and anyone interested in punk, hardcore, and garage rock. Whether you want to relive seeing your band’s record reviewed in punk’s paper of record or research the history of punk in the former Soviet Union, the MRR back issues archive has you covered.
The MRR Archive Project has the twin goals of long-term viability for our physical collections and digital access to our collections. Our San Francisco office is home to over 50,000 records, countless rare and unheard demo tapes, zines, photographs, one-of-a-kind record covers designed by Tim Yohannan, and flyers dating back to the genre’s inception. With funds raised for this project, we have been able to rehouse and conserve crucial artifacts. We’ve put a protective poly bag on every single LP in the compound, and we’ve purchased new shelving to alleviate overcrowding on our existing shelves. The record collection has room to breathe and grow for the first time in ages. We’ve invested in technology to sustain the magazine and the archive well into the future, and we’ve developed a core of archive volunteers whose tireless work on this project has been indispensable.
Later phases of the MRR Archive Project will see a catalog of our music holdings go live. Users will be able to search for individual records in our collection and read what MRR had to say about it. We’ll be rolling out collections of magazine articles and interviews selected by past and current contributors, and sharing some of our favorite historical flyers and photographs. Stay tuned for more updates on future phases of the archive project.
ARCHIVE PROJECT UPDATE September 2018:
In 2016, we started our archive project with the goal of digitizing every back issue of MRR. We partnered with a digitization company, NA Publishing, who we had contracted to deliver interactive PDFs with detailed metadata. They intended to build up and run a portal for other music magazines, which would be available for sale to the academic library market as an e-resource.
Delivery of the PDFs was delayed from the get-go. After much persistence, we were able to pry 161 issues from them, with a promise to obtain the others. However, while waiting for the remaining issues (and returned phone calls and emails), the company went into financial duress and ceased operations. We weren’t alerted by the company or our contact, much to our shock and surprise. We’ve had contact with the CEO of the company, but haven’t had an update about another company buying NA Publishing and their assets (i.e., our back issues).
This situation has been immensely frustrating to deal with, especially as we have a clear workflow to get the back issues set up on our new website. Furthermore, the PDFs they did provide us have major issues with page orientation and readability. Right now, we don’t have an estimated date for our archive launch. We’re just as bummed as you, if not more. Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do about the PDFs from NA Publishing while they’re working out a buyer. We do have many born-digital issues that we will be using instead of the missing issues.
At this time, we are working on getting the issues we have up on the archive site. We plan a graduated rollout of those, so stay tuned for that. We can use specific help in PDF joining/editing. If this is your area of expertise, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, hang tight. We are still really excited about this project and want to bring the ultimate punk resource to you ASAP.
Thank you for your support and patience.
Maximum Rocknroll is and will always be a volunteer-run operation. We welcome Bay Area punks who want to help out in any capacity — just drop us a line! We especially need volunteers for inventorying the collection and helping with preservation work. To volunteer, email email@example.com.