HANZAB ought be available on the Internet.

To: "'Denis Wilson'" <>, "'COG bird discussions'" <>
Subject: HANZAB ought be available on the Internet.
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 2011 14:49:32 +1000
That all the information should be available for free sounds very nice but I don't agree. Mainly because where would the funds come from, to do that? BA is constantly asking for funds to achieve practical conservation outcomes, it should not divert what little it has on such an enormously expensive exercise. It is a regular thing for journals to be available on the internet. Typically done through a third party. That third party administers a pay by the article service and then retains some profit for the distribution service and every few months pays royalties from those sales to the owner of the copyright. The way that works, unless you only want to see the occasional article, it then becomes much more expensive to use that than it is to subscribe. Therefore the information is available but at a substantial cost. Maybe HANZAB could do that but it would be very hard to arrange. With HANZAB it would become a big question as to what constitutes one article. Would it be the text on one species or maybe the food notes of a selection of species or maybe one colour plate? Apart from being cited in all (except I think, Volume one) I made only small contributions to HANZAB, I wrote the field notes on some species and edited the text on one other species but if I had made a bigger contribution or that bit greater artistry skill than I do to have done any artwork for it, I wouldn't like it to be available on line for free.
That Denis refers to "But as their website now refers persons to a private bookshop, presumably they regard their involvement in the publication process as completed." This does not mean that they don't get funds from sales by a separate party, just that they don't see themselves as a retailer.
Similarly, several people have asked that The GBS Report be available on the internet. I have not done so and not just because I have not got the technical skills to do so. The reasons are partly financial but mainly a matter of equity for those who have paid. It would give access for free for easy plagiarism to anyone that is not easily available to those you have paid that small amount of money which after all covers little more than the printing costs that I had to pay to make it available. I don't agree with Denis's suggestion and that is just $20, not a big set of books selling for about a hundred times as much. I think the suggestion is like saying all books in bookshops should be given away, all music recordings be available freely with no return for the artist, etc. Any text could just be downloaded (copied) and used in any context. Sure people can retype text from a book but it is not likely to be done in large part. Any justification for those who have bought the things would diminish, it would devalue the printed asset, etc.
I wonder where is the old school, where such knowledge ought be available to all, regardless of their personal financial means. I have never been there.
In sending this answer, it is just my thoughts. I have not in any way considered, guessed, researched or asked BA or anyone administratively involved in BA about what is their individual opinion or corporate policy. 
-----Original Message-----
From: Denis Wilson [
Sent: Thursday, 16 June 2011 11:37 AM
To: COG bird discussions
Subject: [canberrabirds] HANZAB ought be available on the Internet.

Following a separate thread of conversation about mixed feeding flocks and the diet of Finches, Geoffrey Dabb kindly quoted some information from HANZAB. That sparked something which has troubled me for many years.

Birds Australia refuses to put HANZAB on the Internet. Is this an appropriate time for me to query why HANZAB, seemingly a truly wonderful resource, is still not availble on the Internet?

Birds Australia is entitled to regard their publication effort as worthy of aiming for "cost recovery". Fair enough.
But as their website now refers persons to a private bookshop, presumably they regard their involvement in the publication process as completed.

I come from the old school, believing that such knowledge ought be available to all, regardless of their personal financial means. I believe it is time that Birds Australia handed HANZAB over, to enter the "Commons". Such important intellectual knowledge ought be available to all - according to their interest, not according to their private "means", nor according to their access to an Institutional Library.

Surely it is time that HANZAB entered the world of the "Commons" - as a shared intellectual property. That's what the Internet would be perfect for. Surely it is time for Birds Australia to enter the Internet age?

COG once played a role in the old body, the RAOU, prior to the disastrous "corporatisation" process which resulted in the formation of Birds Australia and the separation of COG (and other regional affiliates). Does COG have any involvement in Birds Australia, these days? Can we attempt to influence them to see the merits of regarding HANZAB as part of the Commons?

Denis Wilson
"The Nature of Robertson"

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