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HYMAG needs you, YOU need HYMAG; will you be a HYMAG hero and save history?

HYMAG, 'The World's Largest Collection of Magazines' is currently under threat of closure, exacerbated by Covid's global disruption of business and daily living. James Hyman appeals for your help.

By James Hyman

HYMAG needs you, YOU need HYMAG; will you be a HYMAG hero and save history?
"A national treasure, invaluable to generations of journalists and researchers."

If HYMAG ceases to operate, then, one of the most important, unique collections of text & image is gone, if so, a serious casualty to the arts, culture and education sectors.

Not only will the publishing industry suffer but there will be a knock on effect to the creative industries and academia, who daily request research material from HYMAG.

Journalists, authors, students, designers, stylists, brands, marketeers, advertisers, broadcasters, photographers, basically a global audience who need and value rich reference material would all be deprived further access to one of the most indispensable resources of content in the world; a cultural crime against research and education!

HYMAG is the greatest magazine resource in the country… it's an incredibly important cultural centre… it's incredibly important that you give a lot of money to keep it going.

Dylan Jones OBE

HYMAG contains over 5,000 different publications, 150,000 magazines, zines, pamphlets and ephemera from 1850 to present day, many of which are not held elsewhere; when our inventory was last audited, 55% of HYMAG's publications were shown to not be held by the British Library.

HYMAG also presides over some other remarkable collections: Colin McDowell’s archive, Chatham House’s cuttings archive (Jan 1972-July 1997), Felix Dennis’s publishing house archive and the remarkable Edda Tasiemka archive of over 10 million press cuttings (files on every conceivable person and subject matter!)

Edda's collection alone is a national treasure, invaluable to generations of journalists and researchers. Eddy Shah and Robert Maxwell offered millions for it (the former wanted 51% ownership, which Edda refused to give), again, were Edda's cuttings to disappear, this would be a cultural crime!

If HYMAG disappears, so too does its potential global offering to creative industries and academia to be able to dig deep into over 200 hundred years of print, still the most palatable enduring media format.

One must remember everything is not there on Google, and what is there can be hard to find; HYMAG covers a 20th Century black hole of content (plenty of it pre-internet), waiting to be digitised and tagged with cutting edge A.I. tools, to provide a next level user experience when it comes to research.

If HYMAG's target is reached, the money will go towards the maintenance, conservation, storage of the 150,000+ magazines, 10 million cuttings from the archive of Edda Tasiemka (aka 'The Human Google') plus other operational costs that can enable reduced fees for students and those on low income to continue to visit and research at the archive.

Any stretched surplus target will also help HYMAG continue to focus on its digitising, which has already begun. Exclusive to HYMAG's digital platform, and set to launch early 2021 is the original, definitive style magazine, 'The Face', already digitised, though, again if the crowdfund target is not met, that opportunity vanishes.

Without funding, HYMAG's potential to be a 'Spotify / Netflix of magazines & Print', adding far more to the user experience than just a simple Google search is, yes, gone.

Social media (particularly Instagram) swarms with support for HYMAG's content and many industry luminaries constantly validate its importance, for example:

  • David Hepworth (Editorial Director: Smash Hits, Just Seventeen, Q, Mojo, Empire, Heat): "You don’t just read the content, you also read the context. And that’s why it’s really important that magazines be preserved and digitised by HYMAG, so that future generations read that content and context at the same time."
  • Meghan MacDowell (Vogue Business): "Losing this entire archive would be like losing the Library of Alexandria all over again."
  • Jeremy Leslie (MagCulture): “In order to understand the value of the HYMAG, you have to understand the value of magazines above and beyond their contemporary purpose,” he said. “There is a canon of great magazines that is forming, but actually when you look through even magazines that are central to that canon, you see the pages you don’t get shown. There are so many subplots to this bigger picture that don’t get spotted unless you have the whole thing.”
  • Clara Strunck (Features Writer / Journalist): "HYMAG’s importance as a reference point for the fashion industry (which, in the UK, is worth about £32 billion) makes the archive much more than just a passion project. It’s a valuable resource and a testament to the significance of print publishing"
  • Miles Goslett (Journalist): "The Hans Tasiemka Archive (owned by HYMAG) is one of the most important sources of the past 150 years of general interest journalism in the world"
  • Barry McIlheney (Former PPA CEO): "HYMAG is a great cultural treasure for our nation as a whole. At a time when the creative industries are increasingly important to the UK economy, this wonderful repository of magazines adds real value as a priceless showcase for our magazine industry, a sector worth an estimated £4 billion."

However, the harsh reality is 'likes', heart emojis and shares don't always translate to money and that is simply needed right now for HYMAG to prosper and survive.

Say 20,000 people globally were willing to sacrifice a few coffees a week or some similar minor expense, HYMAG would be saved and it could move forward in its quest to preserve the archive physically and then digitally. It would be on track with its mission to allow the whole world to be able to access the past, present and future of printed magazines, as well as Edda Tasiemka's phenomenal cuttings collection; tagged text and images that let you search, correlate and analyse the photos, brands, design found in art, sport, politics, music, film, fashion, lifestyle etc.

HYMAG needs you though you need HYMAG; will you be a hero and save history?

You can support HYMAG via its Crowdfunder page.

Facebook: @hymanarchive

Twitter: @hymag_

Instagram: @hymag_

HYMAG contains over 5,000 different publications.