Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Project Blue Book and Fold3

While chatting with Barry Greenwood on the radio version of A Different Perspective, we got around to talking about Fold3. This is a web site that houses tens of thousands if not millions of documents that have historic and military information. Most of the Project Blue Book files are included and those interested can “join” the web site for free to have access to those files. Other aspects of the site require a paid membership, but the Blue Book files are there for free.

Greenwood said that the site was sometimes a little difficult to navigate and I know that I’d had trouble with I before. The way it had been designed displayed everything one page at a time with buttons that allowed you to move one page or five pages forward or backward. It was unhandy and sometimes confusing, especially if you were searching for something in particular but didn’t have precise information.

But I’ve had reason to use the site again recently and it has changed. It allows you to type in the specific case and takes you to it. Rather than having to navigate through a long file, especially those that contain multiple copies the AF Form 117, which is that long UFO sighting report form that seems to go on forever, a search canould be quite trying. But now, the whole file is displayed in small pages on the right side of the screen that allows you to jump to the documents you want.

The point is that the whole thing has been redesigned for ease of use. So, while it was once painfully slow, everything has been sped up. The new design (though it might not be all that new) is more user friendly and makes searching for specific cases simpler. At one time, I could say that I had a complete set of the Blue Book files on microfilm at my house. Now, everyone can make that claim because of Fold3 and the Internet.


Steve Sawyer said...

There may be a new effort afoot to take the original 35mm version of the PBB microfilm reels and do a high-level, low-K per file OCR scan to produce, finally, an easy to read, low-volume version of all of the PBB files for distribution from a free online, easily searchable database via the net within the year.

NARA only sells / distributes 16mm microfilm reels of PBB now, so the original 35mm microfilm should scan much better than what you can do with 16mm by comparison.

That should help alleviate some of the scanning and access problems that both Fold 3 and Rebecca Wise' PBB file site presently being complained about have -- they both could be improved immensely, but this new effort promises to be better than either the Wise's collection or Fold 3, which would be great for researchers.

I'm loaning my entire PBB original 35mm microfilm reels to the man who's planning to implement this. Stay tuned... 8^}

Isaac Koi said...

@Steve Sawyer - There is more than one such effort afoot.

As usual within ufology, the amount of co-ordination between the various efforts is, um, limited.

To tie up some loose ends, I'm writing a further (final?) item sharing several collections of material (which looks likely to involve _far_ more material than I've previously shared) and will be covering this.

Steve Sawyer said...

Email sent, Isaac, to offer coordination and cooperation in this effort -- no need to reinvent the wheel, yet again. 8^}

Lance said...

I applaud the efforts mentioned above.


John Coule said...

Have you ever seen those CIA docs that were released to the public not to long ago, in particular, the uranium mine UFO encounter? I was curious your thoughts on this event and your thoughts on why the CIA would ever even release something like that.