2008

A Problem of Access

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0305  Tuesday, 20 May 2008

[1] 	From:	Michael Best <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Monday, 19 May 2008 13:33:27 -0700
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0301 A Problem of Access

[2] 	From:	Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Monday, 19 May 2008 19:15:30 -0400
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0301 A Problem of Access

[3] 	From:	Matthew Steggle <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Tuesday, 20 May 2008 10:30:19 +0100
	Subj:	RE: SHK 19.0298 A Problem of Access


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Michael Best <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Monday, 19 May 2008 13:33:27 -0700
Subject: 19.0301 A Problem of Access
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0301 A Problem of Access

David Lindley's question on the potential loss of electronic data is 
indeed a good one, and has elicited thoughtful answers from several on 
the list. The continuing viability of electronic texts is a major 
concern of any scholarly electronic publisher.

David Evett's comment about his increasingly inaccessible 5 1/4" 
floppies is an experience many of us have shared. On the Internet 
Shakespeare site, the basis of our growing database of Shakespeare in 
performance was Kenneth Rothwell's work in his _ Shakespeare on Screen: 
An International Filmography and Videography_ (1990). Kenneth generously 
provided us permission to use his work, along with his original 5 1/4" 
floppies -- with the data in the obsolete program WordStar. Another 
Shakespeare/Film scholar, Jose Ramon Diaz-Fernandez, was able to convert 
the data into Word files, which we were then able to use to import the 
information into our database, after some further conversion. (You can 
check out our database at 
<http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/Theater/sip/index.html >.)

All this, however, took a whole lot of time and energy. Our main 
response to the threat that future changes in technology will render 
earlier forms of electronic data useless is to encode as much as we can 
in a format that will be reliably modified to work on any future system. 
We use the standard XML (eXtensible Markup Language) because its 
structure includes information on what the encoding means as well as the 
encoding itself. In Gabriel Egan's phrase, the files are "self- 
descriptive." Thus, future computers and future software may need 
different instructions in order to display the texts correctly, but all 
that will need to be changed will be the process, not the basic texts 
themselves. Changing the process will of course cost money in 
programming time, so we will just have to put the same kind of effort 
into keeping the e-texts current as we do into keeping libraries at a 
constant temperature.

Cheers--
Michael

Michael Best
Coordinating Editor, Internet Shakespeare Editions
<http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/>
Department of English, University of Victoria
Victoria B.C. V8W 3W1, Canada.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Monday, 19 May 2008 19:15:30 -0400
Subject: 19.0301 A Problem of Access
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0301 A Problem of Access

I think Gabriel Egan is spot on when he suggests that books are only 
different in degree from other means of storing information, and that 
periodic re-storage is necessary as old media degrade or become obsolete.

To be sure, digitally stored material particularly requires frequent 
reproduction, both because electronic bits inevitably degrade or mutate 
and because the hardware needed to recover the information becomes 
obsolete and unavailable. If David Evett were to retrieve his old 5 1/4" 
floppy disks, for example, and if he has the twenty year old hardware 
needed to play them, he might well find that the data on them has 
disappeared or been corrupted beyond use. But the problem is not 
confined to digital media; even books and other durable media are not 
exempt.

Archives storing old silver nitrate celluloid film have discovered that 
much if not most of it has crumbled into oblivion. The American Film 
Institute is attempting to salvage as much as possible, but the process 
is extremely expensive and time consuming so they must make difficult 
decisions about what to sacrifice to the ravages of time. Libraries 
periodically throw away old books for which there is no demand and which 
are not regarded as having rare book value. Some libraries microfilm 
them first, but not all do and many do not microfilm everything they 
chuck out. (Gabriel makes too strong a case when he says "everything 
ever printed is available to us"; for example, where can I find a copy 
of Love's Labour's Wonne?)

This problem is not confined to ancient documents. Ambrose Video has 
issued DVDs of the BBC Shakespeare series aired only about 30 years ago. 
Some of the disks are missing portions which have disappeared from the 
master tapes.

Another difficulty is that reproduction in alternative media -- e.g., 
microfilm or microfiche instead of paper; DVDs instead of film -- runs 
the risk of losing some of the artistic content. Film is clearer 
superior in depth quality to video tape. Many audiophiles insist that 
LPs produce richer and warmer tones than digital disks.  That will be 
forever lost when the LPs inevitably degrade due to weather or 
mistreatment or it becomes nearly impossible to find high quality 
styluses for the antique turntables needed to play them. As for books, 
scrolling a microfilm reader or a computer screen does not provide the 
same experience as turning a page.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Matthew Steggle <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Tuesday, 20 May 2008 10:30:19 +0100
Subject: 19.0298 A Problem of Access
Comment:	RE: SHK 19.0298 A Problem of Access

Further to the discussion of the longevity of electronic resources -

Gabriel Egan modestly omits to mention his own excellent discussion of 
the topic in a 2005 conference paper, 'EEBO and the politics of open 
standards', which is available online at 
http://www.gabrielegan.com/publications/Egan2005l.htm.

As for the ejournal Early Modern Literary Studies, http://purl.org/emls, 
we have measures in place to safeguard the long-term survival and 
readability of our data. For instance:

1. We publish, not in any proprietary file format, but in HTML, which is 
simple; robust; and readable with a wide range of software.

2. We maintain several 'conventional' archives of our data, including 
the National Library of Canada and our mirror site at the University of 
Toronto.

3. We are also archived by the LOCKSS scheme at Stanford University, 
http://www.lockss.org/, as mentioned by Martin Mueller. This is a 
long-term programme in which data will be constantly copied, audited, 
and 'migrated forward in time', while preserving the content. The LOCKSS 
scheme might be a model of how long-term maintenance of digital data can 
be made to work.

- Matt

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the 
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Available for Comment: "The Name Balthasar"

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0304  Tuesday, 20 May 2008

From:		JD Markel <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Monday, 19 May 2008 18:16:47 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 19.0293 Available for Comment: "The Name Balthasar"
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0293 Available for Comment: "The Name Balthasar"

I wish to state to everyone that I'm open to all comments about my 
paper, which you can send me privately, and appreciate them. Even tell 
me if I am absolutely wrong on some point or another. Forum member Larry 
Weiss sent me thoughtful comments on digressions of directorial interest 
and trial procedure. For one, he finds a Venetian anti-alien statute not 
to be improbable. His comments caused me to reexamine the script and I 
discovered the amount of rulings during the trial is more complex and 
nuanced to say there were just two, and that I attributed the timing of 
Shylock's and Gratiano's statements in response to Portia's rulings 
erroneously in part. They don't affect the gravamen of the paper, but I 
consider them no less important, and will be fixed.

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the 
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Malone 34: Steevens's Drawing

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0302  Tuesday, 20 May 2008

From:		Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Monday, 19 May 2008 13:13:30 -0400
Subject:	Malone 34: Steevens's Drawing

Yesterday, in a long "Editor's Note" that I attached to William Sutton's 
posting in the "Extant Copies of the Q1609 Sonnets" thread, I supplied 
the link to the Bodleian Library's Malone 34 copy of Q 1609 
"Shake-speares Sonnets": 
http://www.rarebookroom.org/Control/shaluc2/index.html.

Anyone who visited that link would have been delighted to have found a 
drawing of a periwigged man being addressed by a Shakespeare character. 
For those who may have wondered about this drawing, let me explain -- 
but first some background.

One of my favorite memories of scholarly detective work occurred when I 
was at the Bodleian Library four years ago, looking up the variant 
readings in Q1 Lucrece
(STC 22345) for my note "Unnoticed Variant Reading in Q1 Lucrece, 1594" 
(NOTES AND QUERIES, 52 (2005): 193-95). ASIDE: Another of my other 
favorite times was being in the Folger Library and realizing that I had 
uncovered a variant reading in Q1 Lucrece that no one had noticed in 400 
years.

The first quartos of Malone's copies of the Sonnets and of Lucrece are 
bound in the same volume, so not only did I examine Lucrece when I was 
at the Bodleian, I also looked at the Sonnets, and I came upon Malone's 
note and Steevens's drawing.

The note at the bottom of the page is in Malone's hand and reads,

"Mr Steevens borrowed this volume from me in 1779 to peruse The Rape of 
Lucrece in the original edition, of which he was not possessed. When he 
returned it, he made this drawing. I was then confined by a sore throat, 
and was attended by Mr Atkinson the Apothecary, of whom the above figure 
whom Shakespeare addresses, is a caricature.-E. M."

Above, the Shakespeare character addresses the periwigged fellow, Mr. 
Atkinson, with the following:

                    		If thou couldst, Doctor, cast
       The water of my sonnets, find their disease.
       or purge my editor till he understood them,
       I would applaud thee, &C.

At the time, I was thrilled at the opportunity to study this page. I had 
a vague memory of reading about the drawing. Now, I remember that the 
source was in the Introduction to Sidney's Lee facsimile edition of the 
Bodleian Library copy of the Sonnets: "A year before Steevens borrowed 
of Malone a volume containing first editions of the Sonnets and Lucrece. 
On returning it to its owner, he pasted on a blank leaf a rough sketch 
in which Shakespeare is seen to be addressing William Atkinson, Malone's 
medical attendant" (60).

I found the Lee facsimile with Google Books: 
http://books.google.com/books?id=nIg4AAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Lee+facsimile+1609+Sonnets&as_brr=0



_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the 
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Extant Copies of the Q1609 Sonnets

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0303  Tuesday, 20 May 2008

From:		William Sutton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Monday, 19 May 2008 14:36:48 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 19.0300 Extant Copies of the Q1609 Sonnets
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0300 Extant Copies of the Q1609 Sonnets

Hardy, thanks very much for your LONG note it prompted me to go find the 
different facsimiles and so far there are four different e-versions 
linked to copies of Q1609 Sonnets:

The Bodleian: Malone 34
(http://www.rarebookroom.org/Control/shaluc2/index.html),

The British Library: Greville 11181
(http://www.rarebookroom.org/Control/shason/index.html),

The 
Huntington,(http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/Library/facsimile/book/UC_Q1_Son),

and

The Folger
(http://www.library.utoronto.ca/utel/ret/shakespeare/1609int4.html)

So that takes care of collating the Aspley Imprint.

Now the Wright imprint...

However, the tally remains according to Hardy's site:

'We cannot determine how many copies were printed, but thirteen are extant:

     Aspley Imprint

    1. British Museum (Greville 11181)
    2. Bodleian Library (Malone 34)
    3. The Huntington Library (Chalmers-Bridgewater)
    4. Folger Library (Jolley-Utterson-Tite-Locker-Lampson)

     Wright Imprint

    1. The Bodleian Library (Caldecott, Malone 886)
    2. The British Museum (B. H. Bright, C.21.c.44)
    3. The John Rylands Library (Farmer-Earl Spencer)
    4. The Elizabethan Club, Yale (Bentinck-Huth)
    5. The Huntington Library 
(Luttrell-Steevens-Roxburghe-Daniel-Griswold-Church)
    6. The Folger Library (Sir Henry St. John Mildmay)
    7. S. W. Rosenbach's private library (Lord Caledon)


     Without Title Page

    1. The Trinity College, Cambridge, Library (Capell Collection)
    2. The Harvard University Library (W. A. White)

(Cf. Rollins 2.1-2) '

If anyone has a link to online facsimiles of the Title-Pages of the 
published Quartos I'd be grateful for some pointers.

Cheers,
Will

[Editor Note: I do not know of any more links, but Elizabethan Club 
edition of Shakespeare's Poems (New Haven: Yale University Press for the 
Elizabethan Club, 1964) contains a copy of the Wright imprint number 4: 
The Elizabethan Club, Yale (Bentinck-Huth). -HMC]

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the 
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

A Problem of Access

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0301  Monday, 19 May 2008

[1] 	From:	David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Friday, 16 May 2008 13:15:55 -0400
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0298 A Problem of Access

[2] 	From:	C S Lim <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Saturday, 17 May 2008 09:23:42 +0800
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0298 A Problem of Access

[3] 	From:	Martin Mueller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Friday, 16 May 2008 21:34:24 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0298 A Problem of Access

[4] 	From:	Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Saturday, 17 May 2008 13:45:18 +0100
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0298 A Problem of Access

[5] 	From:	John Drakakis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Monday, 19 May 2008 17:00:55 +0100
	Subj:	RE: SHK 19.0298 A Problem of Access


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Friday, 16 May 2008 13:15:55 -0400
Subject: 19.0298 A Problem of Access
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0298 A Problem of Access

David Lindley's question about the durability of electronic text is 
hardly "naive"; there's stuff in the box of 5 1/4" floppy disks on top 
if tallest bookcase that I would like to be able to get at but could now 
only do so at very considerable expense. And it's only a dozen years 
old. No doubt many capable people in publishing and library work and 
computer design are aware of the problem and working on it, but in the 
context we need to add to the traditional enemies of our goods, moth and 
rust, new ones that include  planned obsolescence and maybe the 
possibility that the great-great-grandmother of all solar flares will 
generate an electro-magnetic storm big enough to corrupt every hard 
drive on the planet.

Apocalyptically,
David Evett

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		C S Lim <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Saturday, 17 May 2008 09:23:42 +0800
Subject: 19.0298 A Problem of Access
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0298 A Problem of Access

Surely more sophisticated technology or software will be able to read 
material even in obsolete forms in text versions at least. One worries 
about one's own files stored in privately kept media which might 
eventually be inaccessible or easily accessible because technology has 
moved on. And, of course, CDs and the rest of it are subject to decay, alas.

C S Lim

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Martin Mueller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Friday, 16 May 2008 21:34:24 -0500
Subject: 19.0298 A Problem of Access
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0298 A Problem of Access

This is not a naive question at all. We owe much of the heritage of 
print literature to the fact that prior to some point in the 1800s the 
only kind of paper people knew how to make was a material that under 
ordinary conditions would last for a century. Had they known how to make 
cheap paper with lots of acid, much would have been lost . . .

Paper isn't intrinsically a long-term material. Multiple copies help, 
and a digital preservation system is called LOCKSS, an acronym for lots 
of copies keep stuff safe.

But preservation is in the long run a social rather than technical 
matter. It is probably the case that modern librarians, at least in 
research environments, worry more systematically about long-term 
preservation than they did in earlier ages. But they had better keep 
worrying.

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Saturday, 17 May 2008 13:45:18 +0100
Subject: 19.0298 A Problem of Access
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0298 A Problem of Access

David Lindley asks:

 >. . .  how far can one guarantee the future of articles/books etc.
 >'published' solely in electronic form?

It's a fair question, but applies equally to the print media.  We tend 
to assume that print endures, but it is worth considering how that 
longevity has come about. Certainly, the print media are inherently more 
stable than the electronic/magnetic media, although one might argue that 
the optical media-holes punched into metal disks-have the advantages of 
digital without the disadvantages of electro-magnetism.

But, aside from the occasional disasters of acidic paper and fires, the 
question isn't really one of form but of access. Only with the 
systematic collection of printed materials in libraries came the kind of 
permanence than we habitually associate with the print media. That is, 
we rely on the principle that if one visits a sufficiently comprehensive 
library, or can have material fetched from one, everything ever printed 
is available to us.

We have to ask why this effort to conserve knowledge in printed form 
came about. It is hard to see it being done for the benefit of arts and 
humanities scholars, and my suspicion is that we have only really 
hitched a ride on the shirt-tails of the science and technology 
disciplines. When printed matter was the only way to conserve knowledge, 
there were good economic reasons to organize large repositories 
(libraries), and if the economically useful material was to be conserved 
why not save everything?

Without the ongoing effort at systematizing the storage of the 
materials, libraries would be no more useful than badly-run used book 
stores. The digital media need organization too, but of different kinds. 
Books are not self-descriptive, so the creation of indices (catalogues 
to collections) takes a lot of work. But books don't take much 
preservation: kept at the right temperature and humidity, they will 
remain readable for hundreds of years. Digital media are, to a 
significant degree, self-descriptive, in the sense that without any 
additional work they can be interrogated to see if particular notions 
(expressed by key words) are present in them.  But they don't 'keep' if 
left unexamined: they are best recopied to new media and new formats 
periodically.

Books and digital media both require extensive human attention if they 
are to be useful to readers. The attention is simply different in each 
case.  We ought not to assume that either will get that attention simply 
because WE want to preserve knowledge. If those who pay for knowledge 
preservation cease to see good uses for it, neither print nor digital 
media may endure.

Gabriel Egan

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		John Drakakis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Monday, 19 May 2008 17:00:55 +0100
Subject: 19.0298 A Problem of Access
Comment:	RE: SHK 19.0298 A Problem of Access

The answer is, David, that you can't. BUT also given the activities of 
Directors of Information Services (aka librarians) these days, you can't 
even guarantee the survival rates of books either. Things ought to be 
different, but the bean counters are now in charge!

Cheers,
John Drakakis

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the 
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Search

Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.