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VMs: Re: Numbered transcription

On Tue, 1 Oct 2002, GC wrote:

> I guess at least temporarily I'm back to my old idea of a
> passworded Word.doc.  The font can be imbedded in these documents,
> have the password, and the document returned by e-mail, since Word
>I know we have a few out there who are still poking away on Wang
> or Wordstar 1.0, and storing everything on 8 1/2" floppy disks or
> 8-track tape drives.  For them I can do little more in the line of

While supporting the ideas of using much more visual information (I
still have to look up a lot of the list EVA before I can visualise it),
I think I need to comment on this.

Yes, perhaps there are those of us who use amber-screen Wang terminals.
But there are also those of use who use dual gigahertz PIII's running ...
Linux. Who use Word once in a blue moon when someone sends them a .doc
that nothing else will read. Who also don't use Outlook and don't send
mail from within Word or Outlook. Not to mention the different and
incompatible Word versions in use. 6. 7. 95. 97. 2000. XP. Which are we
going to use? Which do you use? With all due respect, I'm not going to go
out and spend several hundred dollars upgrading my version of Office
solely to read VMS transcriptions in a proprietary format. XML may be
clumsy but at least it's portable, open and future-proof. (Yes I know
there is StarOffice/OpenOffice, I use them, but can you guarantee that
you're version of Word will write a file that they can read? Not
everything works, particularly the more obscure features which may well be
the ones you need.)

There maybe only a handfull (though surely more than 9) people who
_regularly_ contribute to the list, but there are certainly significantly
more who would like to follow this effort and quite possibly comment on
it. The fact that they don't comment all the time doesn't mean that they
won't. That's the very point of this list, its open to everyone to read
and write to when they wish; isolating a part of the effort in proprietary
technologies is, in my opinion, the wrong way to go.

Now, having said that, the Word idea does have advantages, particularly in
the early stages when the transcription is being bounced around and
corrected. But before plunging in you need to think about how to make this
accessible to as many people as possible. Perhaps Word *is* the best
way, in which case I will dust off my Windows partition and just get
on with it, and hope my Word will read your Word's files. But there are
alternatives to Word which will do the same thing. TeX is one, PDF is
another, XML is a third. There is also free software for collaborative web
pages (once discussed on-list). We need to agree on a technology that will
bring the effort to the widest number of people. Perhaps we could run a
test? Distribute one or two pages and see if all those interested can
handle it?


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