The Best of Sherlock Holmes


Tips on Using The Complete BSM on CD


By Randall Stock


The Complete Baker Street Miscellanea on CD-ROM is an outstanding resource for Sherlockian research, and the following suggestions may help you to use it more efficiently. I think you'll find them useful. If you have tips you'd like to share or corrections to this page, please contact me.





Copy the CD Contents onto your Hard Disk


By copying the CD files onto your hard disk, you will get faster access to all the issues. The files are always available for quick reference and you don't have to find and load a CD when you want to consult an issue of BSM. In addition, you'll be using a backup/working copy of the files, so you don't have to worry about accidentally damaging the original CD or placing excessive wear on your CD drive.


It's slightly faster to view pages in a single issue and noticeably faster to move between issues, especially when using the "Search" feature to locate all instances of a keyword. Adobe Reader allows you to search multiple Acrobat catalog indexes at one time (e.g., the BSJ, SHJ, and BSM) and this works much better when all your sources are on your hard disk.

Please note that the CD material is copyrighted and you should only make a backup/working copy from an original CD that you own. You can buy a copy for a very reasonable price direct from the publisher Donald Pollock.


You will need about 200 MB of free space on your hard disk. Create a new folder/directory on your hard disk and copy all of the files and folders from the CD.


Hot Tip: Put this folder in a location that is not subject to backup. You don't want to waste time backing up the BSM files since you already have them on CD.


Hot Tip: Don't put this folder in My Documents. I often use the "Find Files or Folders" search utility to locate a document that I created. The utility will search through all subfolders. By putting the BSM files somewhere else, the utility will not waste time searching through these files when I have it search all of "My Documents."


Hot Tip: If you also have the BSJ or SHJ files on your hard disk, don't use the same folder for the BSM files. It might work, but it is simpler and safer to use separate folders.

I suggest creating the following: C:\xBSMcd


After copying the files to your hard disk, you will need to manually select the Acrobat catalog search index.


Select the Acrobat Catalog Search Index


If you use Adobe Reader or Acrobat to view your PDF files, you should set the software to use the BSM catalog search index. After you've set this once, it is easy to select/de-select it on an as-needed basis. (But see my Addendum for caveats.)


The following instructions are for Adobe Reader v. 8, but other versions work in a similar way. If you have copied your CD to your hard disk (recommended), be sure to use the BSM files that are now on your hard drive and not the originals on your CD.


a) Open any issue of BSM.


b) Use Edit > Search to open the Search window.


c) In the Search window, use the "Look In" drop-down and choose Select Index.


d) In the Index Selection dialog box, click the Add button.


e) In the Open Index File dialog box, navigate to the folder where your BSM files are located.


f) Select the file "BSM-index.pdx" and click Open.


You have now set Adobe Reader to know about the BSM catalog search index. It will appear in the Index Selection dialog box and have a checkmark next to it. The checkmark means that this catalog index will be used for searches. You can have more than one catalog search index selected at a time (e.g., you could have BSJ, SHJ, and BSM catalog indexes selected so that you searched all three simultaneously.)


Full-text Searches using the Acrobat Catalog Index


Adobe Reader has both a basic find feature and a more powerful and efficient "Full Reader Search" feature. This search option can use an Acrobat catalog index file (BSM-index.pdx) to quickly locate matching text across all issues. Be sure to use this catalog index approach rather than forcing Reader to check through every file. (But see my Addendum for caveats.)


Using the Search function (in Adobe Reader v. 8)


a) Open any issue of BSM.


b) Use Edit > Search to open the Search window.


c) In the Search window, use the "Look In" drop-down and choose Select Index.


d) In the Index Selection dialog box, make sure there is a checkmark next to "BSM Index" and click OK.

Tip: If you don't see BSM index, learn how to select a search index.

Tip: You can choose multiple indexes (e.g, BSJ, SHJ, and BSM) and search all these magazines at one time


e) In the Search window, enter your word or phrase

To get the most hits, use a short word or phrase. Shorter words/phrases are less likely to miss matches due to OCR errors. You can also use an asterisk ("*") wildcard at the end of a word or phrase. For example, you will get many more matches using "Beet*" than using "Beeton's" because it matches Beeton, Beetons', Beeton's, Beeten's and other mis-spellings.


f) When the search is done, choose "Sort By" Filename in the dropdown below the results area.

This will sort your results chronologically, which can often be useful. If you are simultaneously search the BSJ and SHJ it will also separate the results by magazine.


f) Preview your matches by clicking on the plus sign ("+") next to any issue's filename.

You'll see a snippet of text surrounding your search term. If you want to view the full page, just mouse over the snippet and click on the snippet.


Hot Tip: If you have a large display, consider setting the Adobe Reader window to open smaller so you can see both the Search window and the Adobe Reader window on your screen at the same time. (To resize the windows, use the buttons in the corner near the red X, and then drag on the right and bottom edges of the window to adjust width and height.) When you can see both windows it become much faster to click on the next snippet and have the next match appear in the Reader document window.


Subject Searches in the BSM


Although there are title and author indexes to some issues of BSM, there is no subject index. However, many of the articles are noted in The Universal Sherlock Holmes by Ronald Burt De Waal, which is available in both print and CD-ROM editions from George Vanderburgh's Battered Silicon Dispatch Box website.  Another electronic version of this work is available online from the University of Minnesota.


Your other option is to perform a full-text search on the Complete BSM for a keyword or phrase related to your topic. The Search function matches text in all the BSM issues.  It works best when your subject articles all have a few critical, distinctive words.  "Sherlock" appears in all the issues, while "Beeton's Christmas Annual" is only found in a few.  Unfortunately, text-scanning errors can cause the Search function to miss some references. For the fastest and most efficient searches, be sure to use the BSM Acrobat catalog index.


Go to a Specific Page in an Issue


Keyword searches will typically link directly to the page with the word. However, if you have an article citation want to locate it manually, once you've opened an issue you will need to move to a specific page from the original magazine. While you can Page Down or scroll through the file, it's faster to enter a page number and jump directly to that page.


Most issues of BSM start with the front cover as PDF page one and the inside front cover as PDF page two. Simply add "2" to the original issue's page number to get the corresponding PDF page number.


To jump to that page:

a) Enter the number in the toolbar box showing the current PDF page number, and press Enter on your keyboard




b) Choose View > Go To > Page, and enter the PDF number you want.


Recording the Article Citation


The Complete BSM makes it easy to always know which issue you are viewing. This is especially useful when you are using the Search function and are jumping between documents as you view search matches. (But see my Addendum for caveats.)


Tip: The issue number and date are always visible in the title bar of the Adobe Reader window. BSM did not have volume numbers.


The original magazine page number is usually visible in the document area. If you don't see it zoom out, or scroll, or click the Fit One Page button in the toolbar.


More Tips


You'll find a few other tips listed in the Usability section of my review.




More BSM Information


The Complete BSM Product Description


An In-Depth Review of the Complete Baker Street Miscellanea on CD


Errata for the Complete BSM (including some tips and workarounds)


You can buy the Complete BSM direct from Donald Pollock, the publisher.



Related Topics


Review of the Sherlock Holmes Journal on CD


Other Electronic Sherlockian Journals






Vers. 2.0ax-RN Original work
Copyright 2016  Randall Stock. All Rights Reserved.