7.0366 Etext CDs (1/193)

Thu, 23 Dec 1993 10:26:20 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 7, No. 0366. Thursday, 23 Dec 1993.

Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1993 16:10:05 +0000 (GMT)
From: Ian Budden <I.D.Budden@sussex.ac.uk>
Subject: Etext CDs

Electronic Texts: Product Descriptions, Suppliers,

A few weeks ago, I sent out a request for information on some
specified etext CD-ROMs. Many thanks to all who replied; I
found the information really helpful. As promised, here is a
summary, addressed both to the lists I sent the original
requests to, and to individuals who particularly asked for a
summary. I've also incorporated information derived from
raiding listserver archives.

Many thanks again.

General points

All the CD ROMs I asked about seem to contain public domain
texts, so there probably aren't too many worries over
downloading material. There are, of course, other ways of
getting hold of electronic texts - commercially on CD (e.g.
the Chadwyck Healey poetry database) or disk (e.g. from
Oxford Electronic Publishing); from the Oxford Text Archive;
over the Internet from Gutenberg, OBI, etc (gopher to
riceinfo.rice.edu, select Information by Subject Area, then
the Literature, electronic books and journals option for a
fairly full display of what's around). With commercial
products there may well, of course, be copyright
restrictions on what can be downloaded, etc.

Some of these products seem to contain digitised music
and/or speech files.

Some possible UK suppliers are:

Unica Limited,
Unica House,
Mowbray Street,
Tel: 061-429-0241
Fax: 061 477 2910

220 Tottenham Court Road,
London W1
Tel: 071-636-2547

Inmac Ltd
Stuart Road,Manor Park,

Premier House,
112 Station Road,

The publishers of Desktop Bookshop also mention a
couple of PD libraries.

The Products

Desktop Bookshop

Quite well recommended. No special software needed, but
"several viewers and search programs for a variety of
platforms" are provided, including the WinSmooth viewer for
Windows. I emailed the producers asking whether it was
networkable over Novell/Optinet ("yes, it will be") and
whether there were any restrictions about downloading texts

Producer: Walnut Creek CDROM,
Suite 260,
1547 Palos Verdes Mall,
Walnut Creek,
CA 94596

Phone: +1 800 786-9907
+1 510 674-0783
Fax: +1 510 674-0821

Email: info@cdrom.com
ftp: ftp.cdrom.com

Great Literature

The CTI Centre for Textual Studies, Oxford, UK are just
getting this; perhaps this indicates they don't think it's too
bad. Someone else who'd got it, though, wasn't that happy with
the selection. Another person says that you can only
print/download one chapter/section at a time, and that the
user interface (on the Mac version) is "horrible". Yet another
described it as having "a somewhat friendlier interface [than
Library of the Future], using the convenient DiscPassage
software". You pays your money ... I have emailed the
producers for futher details, but have yet to be favoured with
a reply.

Producer: Bureau of Electronic Publishing
141 New Road,
NJ 07054

Phone: +1 201 808 2700
+1 800 828 4766

Fax: +1 201 808 2676

Library of the Future, Vol.1

450 titles. No reference to printed originals, no page
references. Some abridgements. Search software provided;
different estimates as to how good it is. Downloading
possible, though on a page by page basis. Overall judgements
vary; majority opinion seems to be that it's useful and fun,
but not primarily directed at scholarly market. Possibly only
installable on drive C: (i.e. not networkable).

Availability: see below

Library of the Future, Vol.2

950 titles (those from vol.1 plus 500 others). Some
improvements on vol.1; for example, downloading can be done
for whole texts rather than on a page by page basis, and it
has a Windows interface (see also Greatest Books Collection,

Producer: World Library Inc.
12894 Haster Street
Garden Grove
CA 92640.
tel: 800-443-0238 or 714-748-7197.
fax: 714-748-7198

Order from:
DAK Industries,
8200 Remmet Avenue,
Canoga Park,
CA 91304.
tel: 800-325-0800
fax: 818-888-2837

Greatest Books Collection

A subset of Library of the Future (see above). Possesses
search software variously described as "a search engine that
allows you to search for words across multiple works", and as
"an appalling retrieval program which requires you to select
various directories from the DOS prompt". (It's probably the
same software as for Library of the Future, Vol 2; like Vol.
2, it allows whole works to be downloaded at once, quite fast
- "Huckleberry Finn took only 50 seconds on a 486X/25".)
Generally described by different correspondents as "not very
good" and "easier still" (than either Library of the Future or
Greatest Literature.

Producer: World Library Inc. (see above).

Project Gutenberg

The Gutenberg texts, 1991-93.

Producer: Project Gutenberg

Complete Bookshop

As this note is intended for family reading, I shall not
reproduce some of the remarks made about this.

Producer: Chestnut (no further details)

Ian Budden,
Information Services,
University of Sussex Library,
United Kingdom,
BN1 5PN.

Tel: 0273 678440
Fax: 0273 678441

Email: i.d.budden@uk.ac.sussex (JANET)
i.d.budden@sussex.ac.uk (INTERNET)