HANZAB ought be available on the Internet.

To: "'COG bird discussions'" <>
Subject: HANZAB ought be available on the Internet.
From: "Julian Robinson" <>
Date: Sat, 18 Jun 2011 22:26:10 +1000

In March 2009 John Leonard said on this topic…


I don't want to kill any potential business that Andrew Isles may get,

however I have been in correspondence with Birds Australia, to whom

the copyright of HANZAB reverts once OUP has sold or disposed of all

the copies. They are considering some sort of electronic access to the

HANZAB text and illustrations, possibly a subscription web-site.


I think this is the best you could hope for given the reality of copyright.  I wonder if this is still being considered?  It would be a significant undertaking if HANZAB does not exist in electronic format.




From: Geoffrey Dabb [
Sent: 16 June 2011 12:12
To: 'COG bird discussions'
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] HANZAB ought be available on the Internet.


Just quickly, while it is for Birds Australia to respond, there is probably a commercial arrangement between BA as copyright holder and OUP as publisher.  A commercial reason will often be at the heart of why much information is not on the Internet.


So many questions posed on this chatline can be answered by a little research, starting with a glance into a field guide or two and then, if necessary, progressing down the usual research paths as appropriate to the particular question.


Questions about local occurrence or movements can generally be answered by reference to Steve Wilson’s book or the COG atlas, the list on the COG website, Philip’s publication, a look at an ABR or two, or a question to the long-suffering Martin, who generally finds the time for a quick response.  The chatline archive should be an early port of call.


The point about HANZAB is that it is a great dump of information gleaned from all – or nearly all – published records available at the cut-off for the relevant volume, bearing in mind that the first appeared more than 20 years ago.


HANZAB is particularly useful on questions such as behaviour and feeding.  Whether it is worth consulting depends on how much the person raising the question wants to know the answer.  For Canberra residents the volumes are available at various libraries. 



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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