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Friday, 20 March 2015

The Big New Project

Introducing Many Voices, a different sort of ebook

WARNING: Thieves take a caning!
I stomp on thieving rogues who take my text without permission, put it up on the web under their own copyright claim and refuse to apologise when I catch them red-handed, saying that I should be satisfied that they removed the stolen material from the web (even though they only did so after I gave them a non-negotiable demand to take it down.

Everybody else gets a share of the pie.
That is my right as a writer.I could sue them for damages if I wished, but I don't want their money.

The clowns at the Charles Sturt Memorial Museum wanted right of reply on this blog, but they won't be getting any such thing.  People who steal credit have no rights.

One of their puppets even joined up to and tried to post a comment. He didn't get anywhere. "Mark Mc" gets no rights, either.

Writers have rights!
That said, I am an exceedingly generous chap, as I explained in my above-mentioned denunciation of the idiots at the Charles Sturt Memorial Museum.  Saying that I am generous is one thing, but here and now, I will set out the proof: please compare my attitude with that of the mean, grasping plagiarists at the Charles Sturt Memorial Museum.

I specialise in the less hackneyed aspects of Australian history. I decided late last year to collect together all of my notes and collected quotes from books I have written in the past.  Facing the fact that I am getting older, I decided to throw in all of the books I was thinking about writing, but probably won't ever write.

Then, because I'm not about to drop off my perch, I started augmenting those areas that interest me most. The result is a collection of approximately 1.4 million words in the latest release, contemporary accounts of Australian events, customs and places. The words are in a PDF called Many Voices, which you can access here. Please note that it is free: there are no charges, and there is no DRM. I realised that messing around with taxes and site licences would be too annoying altogether.

I gathered most of the excerpts from sources that are otherwise unavailable in machine-readable form, taking books and running them through OCR software, checking them, and then sorting them. I also add notes, and later on, I will probably add keywords and other metadata.

I have also lifted quite a few news stories, letters and editorials from Trove's Historical newspapers collection, and in almost every case, you will find a link to the original digitised image. You will find my paw-prints when you go to those items, because I have generally either corrected the OCR, or added the article to a list, or added a comment. Please read these extras, because they are provided as aids to those who follow after.

There is a detailed list of books drawn on at the end, and in those cases where I used a digital version, there is a link to that as well.

Not only that, but pictures too!
This part is coming along a little more slowly, because the PDF file that contains all of this stuff was getting too fat, so I am looking at some way to make all of the pics available in large format, going from VERY SMALL thumbnails, and while I can do that easily when I am writing HTML, it's a bit harder to do when the source file for the PDF is in Word.

So I am leaving that to one side for the moment, but I have LOTS of rare, copyright-free images that will become part of Many Voices later. These are all large-format, which is why they fatten the PDF too much.

I will revisit this blog entry from time to time to update the state of of play with Many Voices

As a rough indication, I expect to release a new version about once a month.

(Update, March 27: today I sailed past the word-count of Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu, so I expect to produce a new release by the close of March 31, Australian time.)

Matters of copyright:
Short version: The text of Many Voices is Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, Share-alike. If you want to make other uses of it, you only need to ask, and unless you represent then Charles Sturt Memorial Museum, you will find me very helpful. I am only claiming compilation copyright, and there is more detail at the start of the document

Not only but also 

One of the other reasons this blog has been falling behind a bit is that I have been doing that, and also op. ed. pieces like You Don't Have to be Crazy to be a Writer for the March 2015 issue of Access, the organ of ASLA. You can read it at that link.

Like I said, when I'm not stomping on thieves and rogues, I'm a pretty generous sort of bloke.

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