13.0362 Octavo Editions & related matters

From: Humanist Discussion Group (willard@lists.village.virginia.edu)
Date: Wed Jan 26 2000 - 13:08:10 CUT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 13, No. 362.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 13:03:47 +0000
             From: Thierry van Steenberghe <100342.254@compuserve.com>
             Subject: Re: 13.0360 new on WWW: updated directory

    [The following extracted from a note sent to me. --WM]
    It's about a company named Octavo Editions operating only on the Web, and
    dedicated to the electronic publishing of antiquarian rare books, including
    manuscripts. They actually partner with librairies and private collectors
    anywhere to get the books on loan, photograph every page (even the cover)
    with very high resolution, with the due precautions for conservation, and
    then publish the complete work (including sometimes a translated text or
    more, and searching facilities) in PDF format on CD-ROMs which they sell
    for rather reasonable prices. The Octavo site is at http;//www.octavo.com/

    I have absolutely no links with them, but I was delighted to discover them,
    and I think book lovers like myself would be happy to know the place and
    give it a look.

    After thoughts:
    Shouldn't librairies (at least the large national and academic ones) get
    copies of these kind of electronic books, and actually of any kind of
    e-books? But what about the problem of permanency? I don't necessarily
    refer to the durability of the CD-ROM media (often discussed), but rather
    to that of its technology dependent format, and that of the PDF format
    itself (version whatever), and the supporting operating systems? Do (large)
    librairies have policies of maintaining the means to ensure such resources
    will keep legible in the long term? For example by planning ahead the
    transfer of the resources onto new media as they appear, or by collecting
    and conserving the adequate tools (viewers, operating systems, computers)?
    Is it not imaginable that any large library could have a room with shelves
    filled with one (or several?) portable computer of a current type at the
    moment and with the current software (OS, viewers, etc.), with CD-ROM drive
    and most importantly the possibility to be fed directly from the grid,
    without a battery (to avoid at least this permanency problem!)? After all,
    a portable computer is about the size a book, and is certainly less
    expensive that a single rare book or manuscript...

    With my very best regards,


    Thierry van Steenberghe
    Bruxelles - Belgium

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