Wednesday, July 24, 2013


I'm crowd-sourcing this topic to get a survey of opinions: I'm toying with the idea of becoming a premium reader subscribing to Scribd so I can access some wonky policy papers and some medieval texts that are hard to find in print form.  (I pride myself on my catholic tastes.)  But so far, there is exactly one of each on my to-read list, and I'm not sure how much else of value to me will be on there.  I don't mind paying money for something useful, especially since some colleagues and I have just been griping about the library holdings at CBU.*  But I'd feel like a sucker paying any level of subscription fee to download two documents – although one of them is/was a full-on codex – and then find that the rest of the field is some idiot's self-published vampire novels and a bunch of dimestore romances gone digital.**

Has anyone out there in the blogosphere used Scribd's subscription service to fruitful scholarly effect?  Even if it's really only good (in my eyes) for medieval texts in RCish that went out of print 500 years ago or are simply impossible to acquire in the U.S., that would probably be worth a month's subscription to me so I could hunt them out.  And if I could look forward to downloading government and think tank papers that barely exist on actual paper, I'd be willing to do long-term.  I just don't want to throw away my money and, maybe more importantly, my research time on a wild goose chase.

* The library isn't really bad, but it isn't research-quality, either.  This goes toward a much longer post about CBU's priorities in word and in deed, but that's another cup of coffee.
** Wonder what I'm talking about?  Check out the home page.  It's not promising.


  1. I'm subscribed, and it's great, for the amount of material I can get in Spanish. Maybe it's the same for material in the language of the country you study?

    1. You know, so far that doesn't seem the case for me. I looked at the site with fresh eyes today, and figured out that I can obtain both documents I wanted for free elsewhere. I don't have the time at present to do the kind of searches that might turn up one of the more obscure texts of my interest, and the few I tried in RCish turned up nothing useful.

      What really worried me, though, is that a lot of the texts, in both English and RCish, show signs of corruption at two different transmission points: the really old texts are sometimes typed anew by some helpful person who screws up the copy job, and the scanning technology is clearly adding yet more errors that a human being would be unlikely to commit. Not encouraging for scholars who depend on knowing exactly what was on each page of a codex.