Holy PG PDF with bookmarks, Batman!!!

This evening I found a copy of a PDF of volume 56 (works of Chrysostom, vol. 6) of Migne’s Patrologia Graeca edition on my desktop.  I paged down a bit, and looked at the table of contents. 

Then it occurred to me; shouldn’t the PDF have bookmarks?  Rather than forcing me to guess, each time, just which PDF page is “column 514” (or whatever), so that I can inspect the particular work that I really had in mind?

It’s the sort of idea that instantly runs away with you, isn’t it?  To do one PDF would take a bit of time; but to do several, never mind all, would be impossible for one man.

Yet it could be crowd-sourced.  The end result would be a bunch of PDF’s which were useful to everyone.

Of course you need Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro, to edit the PDF files.  That cuts down the contributors.

I’m not going to do it.  But it’s very tempting!

7 thoughts on “Holy PG PDF with bookmarks, Batman!!!

  1. Indeed, such would be quite useful! At least on the Mac side, the PDF viewer included with the latest version of OSX can add notes and bookmarks to PDFs. I imagine there’s a free counterpart on Windows, but I just don’t know what’s there. Heck, I can even do it on my iPad.

    It’s unfortunate that the Migne volumes are still so clunky to deal with. Heck, sometimes a Greek minuscule hand is easier to read than a page scan! Granted, it would be a Herculean task to do much of use.

    Hélas! Maybe someone will.

  2. Hmm… It might not be too difficult to do (especially if you were willing to settle for every tenth column/section rather than every section). When I’ve done large works, I’ve usually done something along that line. Still it’s a HUGE corpus to work on…

  3. Wait… why not just write a perl script that runs through all the pdfs? There is open source pdf modules, they can index then save it out as a new file… if they are images then it might take a bit longer, but still possible…

  4. The problem is precisely that: the PDFs are image scans, and so there’s no way to determine dynamically short of running OCR (which I can’t imagine working very well). Still, I suppose it would be possible to whip up a small GUI into which one could feed the table of contents, a few other parameters, which would then write out a bookmarked PDF. (Perhaps that’s what you’re suggesting). Something like that wouldn’t be too difficult, and it would make bookmarking them a good deal easier.

  5. Sorta like Documenta Catholica Omnia, except with bookmarks instead of chopping books into separate image files for each work.

  6. My ambitions were fairly humble; just open the PDF in an editor, and manually add bookmarks to major sections of the text; the things listed in Migne’s table of contents.

    One certainly couldn’t OCR Migne; the quality is wretched. No, this would have to be manual.

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