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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: December ::
LION
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2275  Tuesday, 2 December 2003

[1]     From:   David Lindley <
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        Date:   Monday, 1 Dec 2003 13:14:52 GMT0BST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2267 LION

[2]     From:   Bill Lloyd <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 2 Dec 2003 08:06:13 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2267 LION

[3]     From:   Fran Teague <
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        Date:   Monday, 1 Dec 2003 11:00:09 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2267 LION

[4]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 02 Dec 2003 02:19:43 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2267 LION

[5]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 2 Dec 2003 11:49:54 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2267 LION


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Lindley <
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Date:           Monday, 1 Dec 2003 13:14:52 GMT0BST
Subject: 14.2267 LION
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2267 LION

I think it's important to register the fact the LION has some
significant deficiencies. In particular, if one is attempting
word-searches on old-spelling texts, it is an arduous business to be
sure that one has caught all the variants - and all too easy too rush to
false conclusions when one hasn't.  More frustratingly still, when the
database was first issued on CD-ROM it was possible to construct complex
searches which included spelling variants for each of the terms.  One
could enter, for example: (soft or softe) f[ollowed]b[y] (music or
musick or musicke); in the web version you simply have to repeat the
search over and over entering the possible variants one by one.  In this
case that is 6 searches - add further possibilities and the number goes
up and up!

I raised this with representatives from Chadwyck Healy when the web
version was launched - and was told it's simply a function of web
technology.

David Lindley
University of Leeds

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Lloyd <
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Date:           Tuesday, 2 Dec 2003 08:06:13 EST
Subject: 14.2267 LION
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2267 LION

I'd like to clarify: frustrated as I am, I don't advocate illegally
accessing LION, EEBO, etc, nor was I asking how to do so. I guess I was
hoping there was some organization or resource, as yet unknown to me,
that would allow me legitimate access.  As un-sniffy as the BL or CUL
may be about access, since I don't live nearby it's no good to me. I
can't fly to England every time I want to look something up. And it's
not clear to me whether, as I'm not a Cambridge student or teacher, CUL
would allow me access. Are there any university libraries that make
these databases available to people who are not currently registered and
do not has a current university log-on?

There must be thousands of independent scholars out there who would
benefit [and one hopes that hereby humanity would benefit] from access
to these and similar databases. It doesn't make sense that only those
teaching at or currently attending certain universities [or living near
the BL] be the only ones to have access. My understanding is that LION
is not interested in selling access to individuals, only to
institutions.  If I were a millionaire I could found the Lloyd Institute
for Haughton Studies and subscribe. But I'm not...

Perhaps Chadwyck-Healey could be persuaded to institute some sort of
limited or temporary access subscription service within the means of
ordinary mortals?  Or perhaps some organization-- like the Shakespeare
Association of America-- could subscribe and make it available to
members at reasonable fees?

And excuse my ig'nance-- whuz the SND and DOST?

Bill Lloyd
Director of Chettle Studies
The Haughton Institute

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Fran Teague <
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Date:           Monday, 1 Dec 2003 11:00:09 -0500
Subject: 14.2267 LION
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2267 LION

Although it lacks many of the features that LION or EEBO have, I've been
surprised at how often Books Online turns up texts I need.  Its URL is
http://digital.library.upenn.edu/books/ and very simple.

Fran Teague
http://www.english.uga.edu/~fteague

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Tuesday, 02 Dec 2003 02:19:43 -0500
Subject: 14.2267 LION
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2267 LION

>I've often been baffled by the high subscription costs of LION and
>EEBO.  All of the texts are out of copyright, so the only real costs
>involved for the company are typing them up - which is a simple
>data-processing job and involves a one-off costs for each text -- and
>maintaining the servers, which is actually not strictly necessary for,
>impressive as it sounds, 350000 texts could comfortably sit on my hard
>drive and could certainly be downloaded onto institutional networks
>without the need for a connection to the LION servers.

If this is so, the obvious solution is to establish a competing
database.  With no noisome royalties to pay (the works are in the public
domain) and inputting labour (say in India and Bangladesh) dirt cheap,
we should be able to undercut LION's fees by a substantial margin and
still turn a neat profit.

This thread illustrates the difference between the Haves and the Have
Nots.  The latter send each other whining emails, while the Haves figure
out how to turn the opportunity to advantage.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Tuesday, 2 Dec 2003 11:49:54 -0000
Subject: 14.2267 LION
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2267 LION

Stuart Hampton-Reeves wrote

>I've often been baffled by the high subscription costs of LION and
>EEBO.  All of the texts are out of copyright, so the only real costs
>involved for the company are typing them up - which is a simple
>data-processing job and involves a one-off costs for each text -- and
>maintaining the servers, which is actually not strictly necessary for,
>impressive as it sounds, 350000 texts could comfortably sit on my hard
>drive and could certainly be downloaded onto institutional networks
>without the need for a connection to the LION servers.

The tasks for LION and EEBO were quite different, in fact. For LION
Chadwyck-Healey had English graduates double-key the texts from xeroxes
of first printings, producing etexts with SGML markup. For EEBO
University Microfilms International had their Early English Books (EEB)
microfilms digitized (1 bit- per-pixel, 200 pixels per inch of blown-up
image). A typical EEBO text, Q2 Hamlet, is about 10,000,000 bytes (10MB)
of picture data--remember, they don't key the text they digitize the
film of the pages--so a standard office PC with a hard disk of, say,
35,000,000,000 bytes (35GB) could hold 3,500 such texts, not 350,000.
The EEBO servers are, indeed, functionally equivalent to a few hundred
office PCs working together.

The LION texts, on the other hand, are tiny because they're just pure
ASCII of the words plus a little extra for the mark-up tags.

>All things being equal, LION should have recouped their initial
>investment a long time ago and prices should be falling, not rising.

Chadwyck-Healey lost so much money with LION that they almost
disappeared. ProQuest, who bought them (and University Microfilms
International), have pumped more money in but are not making a great
profit from that part of their business.

I don't think these resources are terribly over-priced, but of course I
want them to be more widely available, especially to those without
access to good research library resources. To that end, I recall that I
promised Stuart Hampton-Reeves at the British Shakespeare Association
(BSA) meeting in August that I'd contact ProQuest to explore the
possibility of making LION and EEBO available at special rates to
individual BSA members. Shamed by this thread, I shall get on with doing
that.

Gabriel Egan

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