[INDOLOGY] Helping each other

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at gmail.com
Thu Nov 20 11:42:59 UTC 2014

Dear colleagues,

Ten years ago, we were asking each other for fonts.  Today, we're more
often asking each other for PDFs.  Many of us, including myself, have found
the members of this forum wonderfully helpful in swapping books and
articles.  It's great.  But maybe we can go an extra mile.

I was just reading a blog
<http://juretriglav.si/standards-for-graphic-presentation/> about improving
the display of information in graphs and diagrams.  The author, Jure
Triglav, has discovered some important forgotten standards from the early
twentieth century that richly deserve to be revived and put into practice
by authors and publishers.  Never mind that.  But at one point, Triglav

> What can we do next?
> As a first step, we should *bring this historic knowledge back to life*.
> Find copies of the reports and digitize them, upload them to archive.org
> so that they may never disappear again.
Reading this confirmed my own instinct that this is a useful thing to do.
I have for some time, and very slowly, been uploading important indological
books to archive.org.  I've uploaded Gode's Literature/Culture series,
Kane's History of Dharmasastra (1st ed), and several other foundational
texts.  Others have uploaded the entire Anandashrama Sanskrit Series, the
entire Trivandrum Sanskrit Series, and there's much more besides.

So, I would encourage all indologists to think of archive.org as a place
for depositing digitized texts of important indological works.

There are some details worth considering, in no particular order:

   - First, only upload out-of-copyright works.  Otherwise we'll create
   difficulties in the future.
   - Second, the interface for uploading files at archive.org is quite
   annoying, at least for Linux users.  We could petition archive.org to
   improve this.
   - Third, metadata is really vital.  If you're uploading a text, provide
   a proper bibliographical entry for the work.  Cut and paste from your own
   bibliography, or from a book, or whatever.  But make sure the description
   is spelled correctly.  If you have the energy, add a link to worldcat.org
   or openlibrary.org (and vice versa for openlibrary).
   - I'm not sure about this, but I think it's useful to keep the "title"
   short.  Archive.org seems to use the title for constructing the URL string
   that will call up the book.  These URLs will increasingly be used for
   reference.  It's helpful if they are not extremely long.  So, if a book has
   one of those 18th century "a true and veritable account of a journey in
   search of ..." titles, make the main "title" entry just a short title, and
   put the full text of the title somewhere else.  In a note field, perhaps.

When indological colleagues request a PDF that you have, it's much more
farsighted to upload the work to archive.org and provide the forum with a
link to that copy, than just to offer it through dropbox or as an email
attachment.  If we use archive.org, we're meeting a present need, but at
the same time building a permanent resource for the future rather than

Finally, please don't let my comments stop you swapping private links and
PDFs if that's all you have time to do!  Done is Better Than Perfect.



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