Penn State's Electronic Classics Series
Frequently Asked Questions
This page provides answers to some of the more frequently asked questions
that we receive about Penn State's Electronic Classics Series. If you have
a question, please submit them to us. We enjoy hearing from readers and
Frequently Asked Questions:
Thank you for your interest. We hope we have been helpful.
Who reads these files? Our
readers include students on the Hazleton campus, faculty from other Penn
State campuses and graduate students from as far away as Florida. We've
also heard from readers in England. We don't keep a count of our readers,
but we are impressed by their variety. UPDATE:
we last answered this question, we have heard from readers in Israel, Egypt,
Saudi Arabia, Argentina, India, Australia, Norway, Canada, New Zealand
and a number of other countries around the globe.
Most of the files could just as easily be found
in cheap, even free books; why publish them as electronic files?
We began with that question. We are book lovers ourselves. Many centuries
of evolution have gone into the development of books, and reading lengthy
text on screen doesn't yet compare to holding and reading a book. But some
people have made the move and even tell us they prefer accessing the written
word in this fashion. For them, and for those who might come to great literature
in English only through the web, we have chosen to do this. UPDATE:
With the hoopla that has come out recently about ebooks, this question
might seem dated, but it is still very much worth asking and answering.
Why publish these works in Adobe's ® PDF format?
we considered publishing the classics in HTML, which has been done in many
places with great success, but HTML files appear differently depending
on which browser is used and which platform the user is accessing the files
from and what the quality of the video equipment is. PDF files are far
more uniform than HTML files. In addition, although generally larger than
HTML files, PDF files are actually easier to save to disk. Finally, PDF
files allow us to generate a layout that more closely resembles a book
and thus the reading experience comes closer to what readers have expereinced
in other formats. And one more "finally": PDF files generally print much
better than HTML files. In fact PDF is becoming the format of choice for
prepress production. UPDATE:
As you may already be aware, Adobe has recently started distributing a
new format (actually a slightly differnt Reader) that does not allow printing
or saving files to disk; Microsoft has also begun to distribute its own
Reader which has the same restrictions.
How does the copyright work? Aren't these texts
in the public domain? The texts
themselves are public domain. However, the PDF files, strictly speaking,
are not. And Penn State is NOT providing them as replacements for more
traditional texts. Students, for instance, who take a course and are required
to have access to a specific publication of a work of literature should
not consider one of these publications as an adequate substitute. Nor should
any publisher attempt to use the PDF files for the purposes of mass producing
the publications either for profit or for any other purpose. Any individual
is free to access, save to a digital device or print one copy for private
use any or all the files we offer.
How does ECS pick the authors and works it publishes?The
work we publish - other than our contemporary authors series and the work
published in Palimpsest and Best of Four -
is all free of copyright. That means the work is of a classical nature,
or at least pre-World War II. It is scanned and produced as ASCII. This
means that the work must be scanned from texts that are themselves free
of copyright, or that the copyright has expired on and no one has applied
for a new one. Two issues are paramount in our decision about what to publish:
1) they must be free of copyright, and 2) they must be of literary/historical
merit. Some of the latter, such as Shakeseare, speak for themselves; others
may be less well known but have influenced important writers and publication
in easily accessible PDF forrmat makes them available to a new audience
of readers who might otherwise either not have access to them or choose
not to seek them out.
I have trouble printing the PDF files; what could
be the problem? The first thing to do is make sure
you are not clicking on the browser's icon or using "File" and then "Print"
in the browser's drop-down menu. You must use the Reader's icon or menu
commands. However the easiest way to insure successful printing is to save
the file to disk and then print the file. We also recommend that you have
Adobe's latest version of the Reader or full version of Acrobat installed.
Finally, if you are trying to print from a network printer, you should
make sure that the network administrator allows printing of PDF files from
within the Web browser.
I like ECS's layout, but for printing I'd prefer
to have the files in portrait rather than landscpe form. Is there a way
to get my printer to do this? Unfortunately, we're
afraid you cannot do that simply by directing the Reader to print in portrait.
You will have to reformat the complete text of the file or the pages you
wish to print in the full Acrobat version. This can be very time consuming.
We have laid out our texts in landscape because we envision most of our
readers accessing them on monitors rather than printing them. Almost all
of our texts are readily available in inexpensive paperback editions or
available at your local library. However, we very seriously appreciate
that most readers prefer reading long material in paper rather than on
We think that you will agree that Acrobat Reader or better yet the full
Acrobat program are far supurior to either of the new readers available
for free download. UPDATE: Recently,
more people have been buying eBooks and reading them on electronic
readers. In addition, we have learned that many people still prefer to
print our files and read them. Consequently we have started publishing
new texts in both portrait and landscape format. Older texts are being
updated to both formats as time allows.
Is there a way to receive regular update notification
when new files are added? Certainly.
Just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
and state that you'd like to be added to the "Public ECS Newsletter." It's
published irregularly, as we upload new electronic books.
If you have comments or suggestions, email us at email@example.com
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