I’ve never thought about this before, but has anyone compiled a list of philatelic books that have been digitized and are available to read online? Plus a list of subscription ones would be helpful, too. For example, doesn’t Michel offer an online version? I don’t remember seeing a list like this on any forum. Thoughts?
Unfortunately, most of the online catalogs from the major publishers are by subscription only. SG used to have their SotW catalog available online for free if you registered, but they discontinued that after a couple of years and you had to pay an annual fee. The bait'n'switch partially worked -- I ended up buying an older SotW print catalog set.
I tried to maintain a detailed list of all the online free access/download stuff, but to ran into several problems as I thought about putting it on Stamp Bears:
1. my laptop crashed earlier this decade and I don't back-up my browser links, so I lost most of those links 2. even if I copied the links to a document, I find that at least 10% of the links go bad every year 3. a LOT of sites do not allow direct link to the specific pdf or webpage (understandable), and I don't feel comfortable with posting back-door links online 4. many of those sites are also commercial sites, and Stamp Bears has a pretty specific policy about not permitting resource links to commercial sites
So, alas, a lot of this info is only shared through private groups/clubs/societies...
This is one of the reasons that I really really appreciate sforgca posting all that info here. Too many times, a lot of experts keep the info for themselves or only in their small privileged circles because they rely on the income from their stamp expertise or because they are putting together books/resources to sell. That's not me griping -- I understand that people have to protect their business & intellectual property. It's unfortunate because as these experts go to the great stamp vault in the sky, not all their knowledge gets passed along -- some is recovered through notes/papers they leave behind, but some of it just gets lost in the big estate "clean-out" and the "experience" is permanently lost.
There are a number of collectors who have long-recognized this problem and are putting serious collector-hours as well as financial resources into trying to archive and make as much public domain knowledge (in their specific area) accessible online as possible. I am greatly encouraged by this. It is not proper for me to post those sites here, but if any Stamp Bear PMs me, I'll be more than happy to toss a few sample links your way. Many of you already have visited a few of those sites. All I ask is that you don't forget about us "little guys" at Stamp Bears and stay active in our stamp community in this little corner of the internet!
The other side is the information being held hostage for a ransom in dues.Is this really the best way to ensure the future of the hobby?A few times(I learn slow) I paid to play and came up empty.As for books I'm not sure there are enough specialized collectors around to buy over priced publications so if that is a researchers goal IMHO not too bright.
A comment on the above.... We are now 180 years from the first stamp issues and most of the postal history books (not catalogs) were published between 1900 & 2000 by authors who spent a lifetime on their research. These books rarely come up on auctions or philatelic book sites and tend to be very expensive due to their limited production quantities. Some sites have archived some of these older editions but little else has been done to preserve and disseminate this information in an available and inexpensive format. Fortunately for the more advanced collectors of specific countries/themes, specialized catalogs are still available and being updated, generally pre 2000. These are an issue for many as they are generally in the country language. The WW catalogs that 95% of collectors use have become both extensive and pricey in particular due to the explosion in the last 20 years of issues designed primarily for "philatelic" sales The WW catalogs have taken to the internet as a means of skirting their high book format costs but frankly all the ones I have personally looked at are very lacking in quality and flexibility and still expensive. There are some very large philatelic libraries who are digitizing a lot of specialized works but getting these to the general public has copyright issues both domestic & international. So if you want catalogs with the latest Disney stamps or are concerned with CV's, the options are limited and generally expensive. Fortunately many sites and libraries offer older issues at reasonable prices. Personally I have joined some 30+ foreign forums and listed some 100+ sites that actually provide(d) access to information but many sites have closed and the knowledge, files and original stamps have been dispersed mainly to "investment collectors" not to continue the original work. So, for new collectors who do not inherit a family collection, very little will be available to them in terms of past research, references and the stamps of the first 100+ years
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