Oxford Electronic Shakespeare, etc., cont. (84)

Sun, 12 Mar 89 23:47:34 EST

Humanist Mailing List, Vol. 2, No. 708. Sunday, 12 Mar 1989.

(1) Date: Fri, 10 Mar 89 19:21 EDT (33 lines)
From: Ivy Anderson <ANDERSON@brandeis.bitnet>
Subject: RE: Oxford Electronic Shakespeare, cont. (150)

(2) Date: Sun, 12 Mar 89 11:58 EDT (32 lines)
From: Joe Giampapa <GIAMPAPA@brandeis.bitnet>

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 89 19:21 EDT
From: Ivy Anderson <ANDERSON@brandeis.bitnet>
Subject: RE: Oxford Electronic Shakespeare, cont. (150)

I seem to have missed the offending message from Sebastian Rahtz that has
engendered such controversy, but I do find the references to the high cost
of the Oxford Electronic Shakespeare rather odd. If I read the price correctly
as $300 US, and $1000 for a site license, then for a library (which is what I
represent) the cost is quite reasonable when compared with other commercial
electronic products that one is considering. The question I have is, of what
use would the electronic Shakespeare be in the library if we chose to acquire
it? How exactly would it be used? It isn't the type of consult and lookup
database that most of our other forays into electronic acquisition are, e.g.
abstracting and indexing services, statistical databases, encyclopedias, etc.,
nor would you be likely to curl up in a study carrel with it. I would be
interested in receiving comments on this. Or would we simply acquire it for
those of our users (not ours, probably, but other institutions') who are
doing computer-aided textual analysis? Forgive me if any of this has been
hashed out in the electronic library discussions, I am fairly new on HUMANIST
and haven't managed to read that material yet.

Also, here's a reply to the question on Current Contents: this publication
(actually a series of publications) is available as an online database (series
of databases) via the Dialog and BRS search services. These services are
available at most academic libraries, most of whom charge back the cost
of the search to their patrons. The online time is not cheap. One can also
purchase these databases in other forms, e.g. tapes that can be
mounted on an institution's local system (for a hefty fee), weekly diskette
subscriptions, etc. As to circling the article and having it delivered the
next day, you must have had a very accommodating and well-staffed library!
But most libraries are happy to assist you in acquiring articles you need.
The publisher of Current Contents is Institute for Scientific Information
(ISI), 3501 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------36----
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 89 11:58 EDT
From: Joe Giampapa <GIAMPAPA@brandeis.bitnet>

In response to Elli Mylonas' Friday posting, "Charging for Data", I thought that
I would add some incidental evidence for support of two of her claims.

> It seems that electronic material is often priced according to the perceptions
> of what people who own computers, or who are in a particular area of
> computing, are expected to pay.

An article written by the "80-Micro" (TRS-80 microcomputer magazine) editor
explained his dilemma in pricing the supplementary disks of "neat and useful"
programs, including soon-to-be highly marketable games.
" ... We wanted to encourage the dissemination of utilities and games, and
therefore only thought it fair to charge a couple of dollars above the cost
of materials and shipping. However, we discovered that we did not get nearly
as favorable a response as we had hoped. People seemed to think that paying
$25-$30 for one commercial game was preferrable to spending $10-$15 for a
disk of several non-commercial games of comparable quality. Rather than lose
money by selling these programs at the cost we thought they were worth, we
had to sell them at the cost the market expected."

> there is a huge market of non-specialists who would love to get their hands
> on the text of Shakespeare, the Bible, Greek Lit, or whatever they read
> after work.

I do not know how "huge" this market may be, but I can name at least four
people who fit this category. One such person, a graduate student in Bio-
chemistry, has been working on typing in entries from the Oxford English
Dictionary just so that he can get his etymology programs working. He has
been doing this in his spare time for the past year and a half.