3.142 MLA bibliography, cont. (97)

Mon, 19 Jun 89 20:58:46 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 142. Monday, 19 Jun 1989.

(1) Date: Sun, 18 Jun 89 22:51:54 EDT (19 lines)
From: "A. Ralph Papakhian" <PAPAKHI@IUBVM.bitnet>
Subject: Re: 3.139 MLA bibliography, cont. (24)

(2) Date: Mon, 19 Jun 89 13:50:00 EDT (59 lines)
From: MLAOD@CUVMB.bitnet
Subject: MLA Bibliography

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Sun, 18 Jun 89 22:51:54 EDT
From: "A. Ralph Papakhian" <PAPAKHI@IUBVM.bitnet>
Subject: Re: 3.139 MLA bibliography, cont. (24)

In reply to Hollander's comments on the MLA bibliography:
Indeed there is another organization further behind MLA. The Music Index,
behind several years in its printed version (though computer produced),
provides no access online in any form. It is not available through any
of the traditional sources such as Dialog or BRS, nor is it available
for local purchase and access. So, you see, it could be worse.
N.B. Music Index is not affiliated in any way with the Music Library
Association. It is a private concern.

Cordially, *****
**** *** **** MUSIC
** *** **
A. Ralph Papakhian, Music Library ** ******* ** LIBRARY
Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405 ***
(812) 855-2970 *****
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------66----
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 89 13:50:00 EDT
From: MLAOD@CUVMB.bitnet
Subject: MLA Bibliography

I had hoped that mention of the MLA Bibliography on Bitnet might
instigate considered criticism of this complex and useful bibliographic
tool, and you have not disappointed me.

In Charles Faulhaber's communique, he made a number of interesting
observations, one of which is that the electronic versions of the MLA
Bibliography do not follow the bibliographic style recommended in the
MLA Handbook. This is correct. The electronic Bibliography conforms to
the data display structures of whichever host system it is residing on:
DIALOG, Wilsonline, or Wilsondisc. All three systems permit downloading
(technically permit it, that is; there are certain legal limits to
downloading which I'd be happy to discuss at another time), and I'm
sorry if anyone has experience difficulty in doing so. Please call me
if this is the case, and I'll try to help you resolve whatever technical
problems you are experiencing.

Faulhaber and Walter Piovesan further suggested that the MLA should
offer site licenses for the electronic Bibliography. I agree, and I
hope that we will soon have a tape version available for use by

The question of pricing is a difficult one to address. The Bibliography
is expensive to produce, and while it is produced as a service to MLA
members and to the scholarly community at large, the MLA must try to
recover its costs as best it can. Because we currently distribute the
electronic versions of the Bibliography through Dialog Information
Systems and the H. W. Wilson Company, rather than distributing it our-
selves directly to purchasers, the Association receives only a small per-
centage of the total revenue generated by such sales. One way to lower
costs might be to distribute the electronic Bibliography directly, as we
hope to do with the tape version.

As for the suggestion that we "cut a deal" with CD-ROM drive manufac-
turers to produce a cheaper, more user-friendly machine, I'm afraid that
you overestimate our influence on this industry. Cheaper they are
certain to become, in time; user-friendliness is a function of the soft-
ware, not the drive itself.

I'm sorry that Bob Hollander cannot think of another organization which
has been worse about making valuable data available online. The MLA was
one of the first humanities databases available online; hence our low
DIALOG file number (71) which marks us as pioneers of a sort, and hence
some of our current problems which derive from being pioneers in a field
which has evolved and improved faster than our ability to conform to the
latest improvements. I am always happy to try to address questions con-
cerning use of the MLA Bibliography. Believing, as Mae West said, that
it is better to be looked over than overlooked, I welcome further Bitnet
constructive criticism on this topic.

Daniel Uchitelle<MLAOD@CUVMB>
Modern Language Association