Creating e-Clippings

Cover of sample article e-clipping:


One of my banes, as a writer, is that I often write for publications that don’t feature an online edition of their issues. Among other things, this makes it difficult to have small moments of “writer’s pride” by sending someone a link to a new story. A parallel bane is that I’ve accumulated a large number of clippings and magazines I’ve appeared in, and I have no way to share them.

It occurred to me, as I’m sure it has to others, that this problem could be addressed by making digital photocopies available via a scanner, using PDF format. These can be posted online as examples of my writing, with the added benefit that PDF’s print well when I want a hard copy.

It only took a small leap for me to realize that if I had the entire magazine, I could also photocopy its front cover to provide a visual reference context to the article, the way Amazon includes an image of the cover of a book.

There may be some rights issues embedded in this method of exhibiting my work, but I suspect it’s largely theoretical. I can think of few publishers or advertisers who would mind their artwork or ads getting a bit more viewing by readers. It’s what they strive for.

After a number of experiments, here’s what I’ve developed as an approach:

1. Scan the magazine pages at 150 dpi (dots per inch) in jpeg format. 300 dpi looked good but made for very large files and downloads. 75 dpi looked scruffy both on screen and on printouts.

2. Create a cover page in a word processor that can also handle graphics. I use NeoOffice on the Mac, a variant of Open Office. Word should work just as well.

3. Insert the scanned jpeg images, each on a newly created empty page.

4. Save the original word-processing file, then export the file to PDF.

5. Place the PDF on your website so you can send out links. Preferrably, include a titles page on your site so those looking at your credentials as a writer can check out some of your work.

That’s it. Well not quite. Back up your files to other media. Take one copy offsite for additional protection.

You can sample my first online test of concept here: Digital Reading.

If you have additional ideas about creating e-clippings and e-reprints, I’d love to hear about it. Contact me at