Former Riskies,  Research

Regency Hack

Diana gives you the Coronation of George IV (don’t think I didn’t see what you did there!)  and Ammanda gives you Byron. And me? I was working on the WIP revisions and then I remembered it was Tuesday, not Monday and that means tomorrow (today when you read this) is Wednesday and, having spent too much time thinking about when to make Geneva Wafers again, I decided to Google Regency Hack.

Huh. Check this out about Ralph the Regency Hack. It’s an extract of an article and even that’s interesting, but hey. I confess I get pretty dang annoyed at all the amazing information locked up behind Academic paywalls. I guess that’s a rant for another day.

Poor Ralph Rylance. Some of the books he worked on. Also this one: “The Epicure’s Almanack, Or, Calendar of Good Living: Containing a Directory to the Taverns, Coffee-houses, Inns, Eating-houses, and Other Places of Alimentary Resort in the British Metropolis and Its Environs : a Review of Artists who Administer to the Wants and Enjoyments of the Table : a Survey of the Markets : and a Calendar of the Meats in Season During Each Month of the Year : to be Continued Annually” which, with a publication date of 1815 is well out of copyright and should therefore be available to read in Google Books and it’s not. The author of the article above seems to have republished the book, so all you get are links to that book.

And I will be very honest here and say this is not the first time I’ve seen material that is not under copyright by a couple of hundred years be unavailable at Google search. And this is all too often tied to the availability of a reprint that someone is selling. Is it in this case? No way to know.

The other Regency Hack is a bizarre You Tube video of a video game, looks kind of like Super Mario Bros. It’s here if you want to look. It’s not in English. I don’t think. I watched a few seconds with the sound off because I was too lazy to reach for the headphones.

Anyway. I’m just sad that Ralph Rylance is isn’t available. I would like a Calendar of Good Living.

But at least now I have some vague ideas about a gentleman trying to support himself when he’s not filthy rich. Not so different from today, actually.

Poor Ralph.

Updated to add: The re-publisher of this book is the British Library. Ms. Ing of the article above has a forward in it and hey, go for it. There’s some new material in the forward I’m sure. But the whole point of allowing Google to scan books, even when they were in copyright, was to make them available for search. And in the case of material that is long out of copyright, to make that available for everyone. Not just information for academics whose institutions pay for journal access the rest of us can’t get.

I’m not in a good mood anymore.

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9 years ago

I share your pain and frustration. All that fascinating information locked away behind the ivy walls of Academe—it is to weep.

What is particularly annoying is that the justification for that academic research is that it adds to the sum of human knowledge, not just the knowledge of the relatively small group of creatures who work or pay tuition) in colleges and universities.

9 years ago

Looking up ancestors for genealogy purposes can be thwarted by those firewalls, too. Hey, I just want to print out a family tree, dagnabbit, not make a profit. Can’t we all just get along?

9 years ago

I’ve heard many of those reprints are chock-full of errors, too. It appears that they are just scanning these old books and then not proofreading the results. Sigh…

Before I even knew this, I would download references I found on Google Books that I thought would be useful. I wonder if some of them are no longer available. If so, I’m glad I have them.

Isobel Carr
9 years ago

I totally bought the $$$ reprint of The Epicure’s Almanack. Great book. Totally worth it. I can loan it to you if you like.

9 years ago

I’m seriously considering buying the reprint Isobel bought. I’ve heard good things about that particular one. Some of the others I have bought, not so much.

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