3.1211 electronic texts (101)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Sun, 25 Mar 90 18:01:56 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 1211. Sunday, 25 Mar 1990.

(1) Date: Sat, 24 Mar 90 01:25:52 EST (66 lines)
From: "Michael S. Hart" <HART@UIUCVMD>
Subject: Re: 3.1208 super-scanning and its costs (137)

(2) Date: Sun, 25 Mar 90 01:39:00 EST (15 lines)
Subject: RE: 3.1205 queries on a Friday night (119)

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Sat, 24 Mar 90 01:25:52 EST
From: "Michael S. Hart" <HART@UIUCVMD>
Subject: Re: 3.1208 super-scanning and its costs (137)

re: Flannagan's comments concerning upgrades of etexts.

I wholeheartedly support Roy Flannagan's comments concerning the editing
of errors in etext, it is one of the strongest reasons for having etext.
Roy, as I happen to know, is at least somewhat of a collector of edition
volumes, sometimes first editions of major works. While, I DO have some
first editions, they usually have some empirical or sentimental value or
have come into my hands so inexpensively as to ask "Why not?" However I
am sure I speak for many, and hopefully even Roy (who usually gives me a
poke or two about nearly anything I say) when I state that it would be a
sad state of affairs indeed, if the 25th edition (or printing) contained
many, most or all of the errors contained in the first. With the advent
of etext, it requires minimal effort, time, or expense to log in to that
computer which contains the master text to correct an error, which those
copies made subsequently would each contain the upgrade without muss and
fuss, with the version number perhaps upgraded by .001 to identify these
variant editions for the purists.

As for the comments of Robert Amsler, I must take exception. First on a
basis of the effort required to created a library of etexts. I, myself,
in my spare time, have TYPED in several thousand pages, on the order of,
say three pages per day, for extended periods of time. At the end of an
appropriate period, I run the speller and do a couple proofreadings, and
then it is farmed out to others for a final proofread before the Project
Gutenberg members see it. My standards are not ridiculously high as per
accuracy, given the views I have expressed above. However, I would hope
to have attained a rated of 1 error per page by that time. At Intelex a
rate of 1 error per six pages is reported by Mark Rooks. However, these
errors should easily be corrected, in the majority, after a few outsider
readings. In the case of the Electronic Text Corporation (ETC) a reward
IS offered for suggestions, usually the reward is a free text, and it is
probable that such a reward would require drawing their attention toward
a significant quality or quantity of errors.

As there are over 100,000 libraries in the U.S. and undoubted as many in
the rest of the English speaking world, it is surely possible for a few,
or more than a few, of those involved to create a thousand pages of text
per year per person, even if they just type them in as I did. However I
must admit that the last major volume I did was done on a scanner, and I
spent only 20 days on it, whereas the previous volumes, slightly larger,
took 20 months for the same quality results. Nevertheless, without this
new scanning technology, one or two hundred thousand books could arrive,
each and every year, if only one book were produced by each library.

As far as the cost being $10,000 per book, I must admit that, being some
kind of idealist, I would happily, gladly, ecstatically put my work in a
pool from which I could draw out the other works in return even counting
the cost of transmission and media. I wonder how many people will think
I am silly, or a dreamer, for considering such a thing within the realms
of consideration. For several years I have placed my work on the market
at what I considered ridiculously low prices, and I must report the loss
in a financial sense, to you, even if not to the IRS. However, the fact
that I have received a number of texts in return is the profit I sought.
However, there ARE those who HAVE made a profit, and I salute those whom
I regard, properly as capitalists (which they do not deny), and chastise
those who charge high prices while claiming to be non-profit. Having an
electronic library of the proportions described above should be a reward
of more than sufficient stature to those of sufficient enough stature to
appreciate such a thing, if there are enough roots to grow the grasses.

I thank you for you patience, as I have reached my self-imposed limit of
one printed page.
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------22----
Date: Sun, 25 Mar 90 01:39:00 EST
Subject: RE: 3.1205 queries on a Friday night (119)

Answer to (5) ----------------------------------
e-Shakespeare wanted.

I would suggest a few clues to find e-Shakespeare besides
Spevack and T.H. Howard Hill. Dolores M. Burton studied W.S. with the
help of a grammatical concordance (at least Richard II and Anthony and
Cleopatra), B. Brainerd studied several aspects of W.S. such as
pronouns and genre, chronology of W.S. plays. Daniel Drayton studied his
sonnets. They all resorted to computer criticism... so that there
must be e-texts in their archives.