select bibliography and/or living with tech limitations

Below are links to a very short bibliography on John Gay’s 1728 play, The Beggar’s Opera, about which I intend to blog a bit more later. The student who chooses to complete paper 2 will choose one of these articles, or she will find another article on her own.

Note two things about this bibliography, each of which reflects my willingness to (for the nonce) deal with certain limitations.

First, I’ve taken to creating all my course materials in Microsoft Word, instead of some open-source alternative like Open Office, which I formerly used. This is a Microsoft campus, and all the hardware and network stuff is designed to work with Microsoft software, so … *shrug.* In order to create a webpage version of my documents, I choose “Save as Webpage” rather than code my own HTML, which I used to do and which satisfied some perverse typographical perfectionist bug in my brain but which took a crazy amount of time. To create the PDF, I just choose “Save as PDF” from the Apple OS X print menu. Now, this shift in my process is not exactly a limitation, but it reflects a willingness in the interests of time on my part to put up with sometimes code-heavy webpages–have you looked at the HTML that Word creates? it’s ugly–that display a bit wonky.

Second, I’ve decided that students do not necessarily need to read and write about the absolutely most recent scholarly work. So I’m pointing them to JSTOR, the full-text database to which our library subscribes, not Project MUSE, the full-text database to which it does not. JSTOR is strong as a archive, but it has a “moving wall” of something like five years with many journals, some of them being the most prominent in the field: only articles that are at least five years old will appear there. By contrast, Project MUSE has the most recent goods. Clearly research about and analysis of literature does not have the kind of shelf life that other fields do, although as we all know, some arguments and assumptions become quite outdated. In the end, however, I’m not going to stress about freshness, but I will see what I can do to get my campus to subscribe to Project MUSE.

Oh, and I did not give in to the aforementioned bug and format the bibliography according to MLA style, I just saved the entries right out of JSTOR and posted them, with their bizarre stable URLs. On a campus with a JSTOR subscription, all a student has to do is click on the link and voila! she can peruse said article.

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