Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 13, No. 375.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Date: Fri, 04 Feb 2000 21:36:55 +0000
Subject: Re: 13.0362 Octavo Editions & related matters
CD-ROM disks drive librarians crazy. Large libraris have hundreds if not
thousands of them. They all have different software and they all must be
installed. Some can run on networks; some can't. They are _much_ more
dificult to deal with than printed books for these reasons.
Large libraries are beginning to consider the problem of the preservation
of digital materials, both digitized and born digital. No one has a good
solution, although two basic strategies have been proposed: (1) migration;
(2) emulation. In the former data are kept separate, to the extent
possible, from a specific hardware and software environment, so that they
can be migrated from that environment to whatever comes next. In the
latter, new hardware and software environments would provide software that
would emulate the environment of previous generations (a common strategy
in he computer industry).
This is a HUGE problem, and no one is close to solving it.
In re Octavo, PDF is not a non-proprietary standard, which would be
preferable, but it's pretty close. Also Octavo will provide mapping tools
to allow conversion from PDF into SGML.
Charles Faulhaber Department of Spanish UC Berkeley, CA 94720-2590
(510) 642-3782 FAX (510) 642-7589 email@example.com
On Wed, 26 Jan 2000, Humanist Discussion Group wrote:
> 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> [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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