3.889 MLA's bibliography and $$$ (64)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Mon, 1 Jan 90 19:01:54 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 889. Monday, 1 Jan 1990.

Date: Sat, 23 Dec 89 10:39:01 EST
From: "Michael S. Hart" <HART@UIUCVMD>
Subject: Re: 3.881 complaints about $$$ (39)

re: the comments by Marian Sperberg-McQueen about MLA pricing, etc.

When other products are being released at prices which make the MLA
listings, OED, OTA, etc. seem ridiculously expensive, then comments
regarding the price differential are very much in order, especially
when profit making operations sell the least expensive products and
non-profit operations sell some of the most expensive.

Shakespeare On Disk is being sold for $300 for the complete works!! This
is without copy protection of any kind, and the license allows for all
members of a college to make legitimate copies, whether for study or for
theatrical presentation. For a University such as the University of
Illinois at Chicago, from whence Marian Sperberg-McQueen sent her note,
this would require approximately one cent per person.

If Shakespeare On Disk can produce these texts, KEYBOARDED BY HAND,
proofread by Shakespearian experts, AND MAKE A PROFIT, then I must,
however gently, suggest that the Oxford Text Archive, which charges
$30 for the first file, and $5 thereafter till the disk is full, is
not being equally concientious concerning its pricing, since prices
there would total over $300 for the complete works even if they all
could be placed on one disk. Not to mention that the OTA requires,
in advance, a signed users' declaration which severely limits these
files in terms of copying, and requires the users to obtain similar
signed statements from all who use the files.

Both Shakespeare on Disk and Riverside Shakespeare are available at
$300 and are proofread on a continuing basis. The OTA declarations
expressly deny any responsibilities for the accuracy of their texts
as they consider themselves a repository rather than a producer. I
have further information on the topic of proofreading and updating,
if interest is shown. By the way, the Riverside Shakespeare, which
is made available by the Electronic Text Corp (ETC) is available on
the CD-ROM which is to be unveiled at Midwinter ALA, and which will
cost $249 for approximately 300 megabytes of material, of which the
Shakespeare will occupy about 5 megabytes.

All the materials listed above are copyrighted, even though in some
cases there is a liberal copying policy. This is not the case with
the OED (excepting the letter U and portions of W which won't be in
the public domain for several more years because they were finished
so late). However, the OED on CD-ROM is priced at around $1,000, a
bit more expensive than the Compton's Multimedia Encyclopedia which
includes an hour of audio, color maps, charts and graphs, "On-Line"
dictionary, etc, for $895. The Compton's is about the same size of
9 million words as is the Grolier's, which was introduced in 1985 a
bit ahead of its time.

This reply is now approaching one typewritten page which is a self-
imposed limit for my contributions so as not to jam the mailer. If
more information is desired, it is available. mh