6.0427 Rs: Bibliograpies online? (1/67)

Thu, 7 Jan 1993 12:16:59 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 6, No. 0427. Thursday, 7 Jan 1993.

Date: Mon, 4 Jan 1993 10:35:26 +0200 (EET)
Subject: WHY DON'T WE...?

>Why don't we, as researchers interested in computing and the
>humanites, put in common our own bibliographical references. In
>so doing, each and everyone of us would be able to search them
>and contact any HUMANIST member/author to get e-copies of his or
>her e-text(s) by e-mail. This would greatly facilitate the
>dissemination of information among our scientific community.
>Perhaps some of you may have ideas as to how this could be
>concretely achieved. (FTP - BBS?)
>Michel Lenoble
 Interesting. Needs a lot of thought:
1) People keep their bibl. refs. in 50 different formats, from a
   word processor file (WP, Word, NB, etc. etc.) to a variety of
   bibl. programs (Pro-Cite, Papyrus, Library Manager, NB's Ibid,
   and a dozen others we can all name off the tops of our heads).
   A common repository would *either* have to be straight ascii
   *or* use an agreed program. Since we'd be retrieving cites
   through the network, common sense dictates straight ascii but
   in a set format that could be poured into a variety of bibl.
   bibl. formatting programs (does such a format exist?)
2) Someone would need to donate the disk space, and system management
   time.  An existing ftp site sounds like a good idea; the
   procedures for getting into them are standard and widely known.
   I get the impression that a BBS restricts access more; is this
   true, or is it just that most of the ones I know of are commercial
   and I therefore avoid accessing them?
3) People would upload whole bibliographies. How do we update them?
   I can't see myself sending off my entire bibliography on subject
   X whenever I add a citation or two to it (and therefore I can't
   see others doing so either :-)  ). How do we retrieve from them?
   Would people be looking for specific references, or for the
   bibliography amassed by a specific scholar, or for all references
   on a subject, or what?  In other words, should they be kept in
   the repository in the form sent, as separate files, or merged
   into a searchable database?
   I suspect the latter; but then we're not talking ftp or bbs;
   we're talking about library software to run a catalog accessible
   from the internet. That's $$$, even if it's a small program
   run on a PC, and system management time.
Nonetheless it's an intriguing idea. Just imagine having access to
a "catalog" of all the books and articles read over the past n years
by even a selection of the people active in a given field, searchable
by author, title, journal, date, subject, and inputting scholar...
Not to mention a source that includes the work currently in preparation
and available by email from the author, if you know about it.
Now, on a related theme, wouldn't it be nice to have an updated list
of people working in the various fields, searchable by name or by
subject interest (who's working on the Arab-Byzantine coins right
now? Perhaps there's a doctoral student digging up some interesting
information/ideas that s/he won't publish for another 3 years but
would love to discuss; perhaps s/he has published, but in some
obscure numismatic journal that I never see?)
Of course a lot of us like to think that we know all the people in
our own field; what always bothers me is this nagging feeling that
we're wrong...
Judy Koren, Haifa.