Landing : Athabascau University

Why Index the Ads?

One of the decisions I made about how to indexOn Our Backswas not to do it selectively. This was because the limited number of issues indexed in LGBT Life have been done selectively in a way that makes the politcs of selection very obvious: they didn't index any of the porn in the magazine, but instead just listed a few news stories from a few issues. It gives a very skewed picture of whatOOBis about.

So I decided to index everything, including the ads. The downside is that indexing is all manual labour -- there`s no automating the data entry. I`ve noticed a few things about the ads as I go:

  1. Spring 1988 appears to be the first issue with an out-of-state ad in the first few pages of the magazine (where placing an ad would have cost a bundle). The ad is for a leather store in New Orleans. Before this the ads were all (unless I missed something. Good thing I can double-check my index!) from California, and mostly from San Francisco.
  2. Blush Entertainment Group owned the magazine (in the early years) and a good chunk of its advertisers. Quite a few more advertisers were staff atOOB/Blush.
  3. If a product is discussed or reviewed in a column -- in a review or advice column, featured in fiction, excerpts from books, still from videos, author interviews -- you can bet it will be advertised in the next several issues. Likewise, regular advertisers show up in the non-advertising magazine content before long. This was the case with the hanky code: mentioned in an article and then surprise!OOBis selling coloured hankies.
  4. But before we decideOOBis nothing but a forum for the creation of lesbian consumers, there's this: the ads are the entries where I'm inputting the most personal names. That is, the names of individual lesbians who are not authors or photographers, who are featured or discussed in the magazine. These are names of business owners: dildo makers, leather crafts, writers, piercers, tatto artists, massage providers, escorts, dominatrices, hotel owners, etc. If you were a lesbian or SM business owner (or could pretend to be for long enough to take some gay money),OOBwas where you advertised.

I'll probably leave the "personal names" field off the online index because it's a bit weird to out a bunch of sex-related business owners who submitted ads to the way-less-searchable magazine 20 years ago (and the CLGA probably wouldn't publish the names anyway, for liability reasons), but it's a neat little bonus to the mind-numbing tedium of indexing the same 40 or so ads as they appear over and over in every issue of the magazine.