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Ain't no more potatoes; the frogs have guilty vibes - Someone on an early version of this board, mishearing "the frost have killed the vine" on a recording

Author Topic: Keep On Living . . . Online Discographies  (Read 2261 times)

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Offline CF

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Keep On Living . . . Online Discographies
« on: October 11, 2012, 06:13:55 AM »
Just stumbled upon this page. I haven't gone through much of it but the Bukka White entry interested me very much.

http://www.keeponliving.at/artists.html

[rivers edit: modified the topic title to remove the leading dots so it sorts alphabetically on the discographies tag page]
« Last Edit: October 11, 2012, 07:55:10 PM by Rivers »
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: . . . Keep On Living . . . Online Discographies
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2012, 06:36:07 AM »
Link not working.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline eric

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Re: . . . Keep On Living . . . Online Discographies
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2012, 08:57:23 AM »
This is a great pre-war site:

http://www.78discography.com/


--
Eric

Offline Rivers

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Re: . . . Keep On Living . . . Online Discographies
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2012, 07:10:19 PM »
That's kind of cool and kind of disturbing simultaneously. Nature hates a vacuum, and I always craved a Dixon, Godrich & Rye Blues & Gospel Records searchable version on line.

Since a lot of the entries on those websites likely come from there and other sources, it proves the old, slightly paraphrased, adage that "Steal from one source and it's called plagiarism. Steal from many, stick it on the internet, and it's called research". Another adage: "Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em. Little fleas have smaller fleas, and so ad infinitum".

Good that they are providing some attribution, and it's obviously not a money-making proposition. Still, I find it just a tad disturbing and I'm not totally sure why. Probably because this kind of thing will inevitably change the world and I don't quite have enough imagination to see how this could end up being a good trend in the long run. I mean, where's the reward that might motivate the sheer work that goes into running down and compiling such information in the first place?

I'm totally conflicted on this since I recently did some serious research into book scanners with the aim of getting DG&R into a searchable database for my own use. The conclusion was the hardware is way too expensive. The concept killer for me though was that OCR software still has a long way to go. I'm not crazy enough to open the book at page 1 and start typing.

It's a real shame that DG&R's publishers are not doing this in a quality way on the writers' and their own behalf, I reckon. I'd pay a reasonable amount for access to a searchable database version of DG&R
« Last Edit: October 11, 2012, 07:14:09 PM by Rivers »

Offline alyoung

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Re: . . . Keep On Living . . . Online Discographies
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2012, 03:39:18 AM »

I'm totally conflicted on this since I recently did some serious research into book scanners with the aim of getting DG&R into a searchable database for my own use. The conclusion was the hardware is way too expensive. The concept killer for me though was that OCR software still has a long way to go. I'm not crazy enough to open the book at page 1 and start typing.


I was that crazy ... well, I've done it (on MS Access) for the non-LofC religious music in DGR as part of my gospel music database. It was bloody time consuming, but it works OK as the data is static.  I was planning to to go on and do it for post-war gospel, but the entries are changing all the time as new info comes to light and keeping it current has become impossible (if I want to have any sort of other life). So now it's mainly an index of my collection. Doing a DGR database would be made a lot easier if a digital version of the disco text could be obtained, although it would still have to be imported into the DB program. Such a digital version must exist somewhere... 

Offline dj

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Re: Keep On Living . . . Online Discographies
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2012, 03:46:27 AM »
Quote
I'm not crazy enough to open the book at page 1 and start typing.

Rats!  I had a brief glimmer of hope there for a second.    ;D

Quote
I mean, where's the reward that might motivate the sheer work that goes into running down and compiling such information in the first place?

Well, the market clearly doesn't support it.  I think the future of such projects increasingly lies with people who do it for love, not money.  I have a very good friend who is heavily involved with retrosheet.org, a group that's dedicated to having an accurate boxscore and, when possible, play-by-play description available online for every major league baseball game ever played.  They're working backward through time and are currently working on the 1915 season.  It's a tremendous amount of work.  The principal volunteers put in 20 to 40 hours a week, and there are others who do just a few hours.  But slowly the work is getting done.  Their only reward is the thanks of everyone who's interested in baseball history.  (Ok, I realize that is pretty much all of us.   :P  )

I've done some of what Rivers is talking about, in a minor way, by entering discographical information from B&GR as I've ripped my blues and gospel CDs to iTunes.  But I still dream of someday having a project which would incorporate Blues & Gospel Records, Bob MacLeod's composer list (both with updates), lyric transcriptions from various sources, keys, playing positions and tunings where appropriate, etc.  One thing that stops me, besides inertia and a complete lack of the necessary database design skills, is that it would necessarily appropriate, in large part, the work of others, work which I have absolutely no right to take as my own and to which a "Thanks to Howard Rye and Bob MacLeod" would not be sufficient payment.  It's a thorny moral issue there.       


Offline Johnm

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Re: Keep On Living . . . Online Discographies
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2012, 04:58:35 AM »
I very much the appreciate the recent acknowledgements in this thread of the amount of work that goes into the creation of the kinds of resources that are being talked about here.  When you consider how much work is involved simply in data entry (especially if it is to be done accurately), it's a hugely daunting task, but that does not even begin to take into account the amount of uncompensated time spent in research, tracking down leads, unglamorous collection of information on people you're not actually interested in, just for the purpose of achieving completeness for the research, et al . . . it's perfectly amazing the work that has been done.  I also appreciate the scruples being expressed about playing fast and loose with the dissemination of information that resulted from someone else's labor over many years.
I believe dj hit the nail on the head--the only conceivable reason to engage in inquiry/research on such a scale is for love of the subject and the engagement that comes from grappling with such massive undertakings.
All best,
Johnm

Offline eric

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Re: Keep On Living . . . Online Discographies
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2012, 08:13:21 AM »
The online discographical project started with Steve Abrams and went online some years ago with marathon effort by Tyrone Settlemier to get it organized.  Since then, there's been contributions with collectors like me who come up with items not otherwise known to exist.  The database is not genre-specific; it's inclusive.  I don't collect anymore, but it was an invaluable resource to me.  DGR and Russell are still on book shelf.

There's no reward at all for the guys who put this together, other than the gratitude of researchers and collectors. My hat is off to them.
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Eric

Offline Rivers

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Re: Keep On Living . . . Online Discographies
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2012, 04:34:27 PM »
Eric, I do take your points.
Man, that is one hellishly ugly website though.
They should let us host it for them.  >:D

Offline Rivers

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Re: Keep On Living . . . Online Discographies
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2012, 05:11:29 PM »
Doing a DGR database would be made a lot easier if a digital version of the disco text could be obtained, although it would still have to be imported into the DB program. Such a digital version must exist somewhere...

I'm sure the typesetting on recent OUP titles must have moved to digital, but maybe B&GR 4th ed. is just old enough to have been steam tech. It's very hard to get much inside info on OUP, I found when I was wondering the same thing.

Hence my excursion into the geeky world of DIY home book scanning -> OCR -> database. When I researched it I was surprised to find a whole thriving subculture, with many side roads and unplanned excursions.

I realized at some point that by the time I'd gotten everything set up and all the data into a database at no small cost in time and $$ it would probably all be available online anyway, so why was I bothering? That would totally suck. This thread kind of confirms my intuition.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2012, 05:20:37 PM by Rivers »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Keep On Living . . . Online Discographies
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2012, 10:13:10 PM »
The future of these things must lie in wikis or wiki-like media. I don't know the exact data gathering process used by Godrich, Dixon and Rye, but surely they were in part building on the prior work of others? Building significantly of course.

(The Oxford English Dictionary started out as a kind of Victorian wiki, with various word geeks being conscripted to provide entries and examples of usage. On scraps of paper.  :P)

Offline dj

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Re: Keep On Living . . . Online Discographies
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2012, 05:06:56 AM »
Quote
The future of these things must lie in wikis or wiki-like media.

I worry that that's true.  Wikis, at least as I've used them, really aren't adapted to the kind of searches and queries that I'd like to see.  Things like "all songs that Casey Bill Weldon played on", "all recordings for which Don Law was the recording supervisor", "All lyrics that contain the word 'drizzle'" or "all artists from Georgia that played in vestapol tuning".  That calls for some kind of well-designed database. 

Of course, the data gathering and entry process would be distributed among volunteers, as it is with wikis, but you'd need some controlling board of directors who would enforce data entry and syntax standards, check new entries before they're released into the world, and deal with any thorny questions that arose.  Otherwise the database query possibilities would quickly become at best incomplete and at worst useless. 

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