The RHS Bibliography of British and Irish history will cease to be a free resource as of next January.
This is really pissing me off.
Oh, crap. This is terrible news!
I know there’s no way that our institution can afford a subscription and if resources are sucked away to pay for this as part of a consortium purchase, I’ll be pissed because I’d rather have that money go to something that we desperately need. The RHS Bibliography was useful for faculty and a few upper-level students, but there’s no way we should be spending money on it.
Not just British and Irish. As I pointed out in a longer comment at Airminded, this also affects anyone studying anywhere which has ever been part of the British Empire. This is a global problem.
Why not do something about this by writing in protest to the President of the Royal Historical Society, Colin Jones, at email@example.com
This outcome is a result of the failure of the funding bodies to address how to sustain some of the great sites they paid to create. There is no model, no mechanism, no clear thinking. What the RHS has done was actually an imaginative response to an impossible situation – the alternative was to let the bibliography die completely, or be mothballed – destroying ten’s years work by a whole team of people.
Simply bemoaning the decision is not enough – we need come up with a way of funding the sites the community think are worthwhile – in the full acknowledgement that even programmers, bibliographers and historians need to eat occasionally.
I’m not exactly thrilled by this either. But maybe there’s something we can do about it?
Tim Hitchcock (of course) is absolutely right. For years there has been a widespread failure to engage with the fact that one of the ways in which web publication differs from print publication is that it necessarily requires a continuing commitment of resources.
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