A definitive clockmakers and watchmakers world database?

Discussion in 'Horological Books' started by centame, Dec 27, 2007.

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  1. centame

    centame Registered User

    Dec 13, 2005
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    Has there been any discussion to produce an online repository of clockmakers and watchmakers of the world? In an internet-dominated world of communications, the book-based databases of Baillie, Kochmann, Loomes, Tardy and others remain as very useful references but by their very nature of being books, they surely cannot account for all makers in all places at all times. Are there perhaps numerous local listings out there that have never made it to the global arena through lack of funds, or have never been translated, or cover "lesser" regions/countries, or are the works of local historians with very local readership ? When we consider that the database books are just that - factual information on the maker's name, location and working dates - it seems to me that the enthusiastic and herculean efforts of a few individuals will never provide a satisfactory product. How often does an individual come across a clock movement by:???: a maker who doesn't seem to be in these book-based repositories? or how often does one stumble across a maker in a general book or an old newspaper that is not to be found in these books? Globally, there surely must be clock and watch enthusiasts who know of local makers but have no place to deposit the information. Databases, after all, are lists and not the deep thoughts of an author. Yes, I am aware of all the pitfalls - the time and effort involved in design of the database, paysite versus not-for-profit etc. For now, I am just curious to know whether there are moves afoot to undertake such a project. I am aware of two paysite databases that are very limited in their actual content - so looking at this pessimistically, these databases would suggest that what is aspirational may not be achievable in the real world. Any thoughts?
     
  2. kirxklox

    kirxklox Registered User
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    I can build the empty Data Base and make it available for all Horologists to enter the Information, but who is going to do the WORK.

    I have an online Bibliography DB.
    I have an online Horological Dictionary DB.
    I have an online Editorials for Members to input Editorials.

    No WORKERS to use them!

    TRY http://www.kirxklox.com/project/

     
  3. kirxklox

    kirxklox Registered User
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    It would take me about two weeks to build one similar to "Bibliography"
     
  4. kirxklox

    kirxklox Registered User
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    Almost any programmer can build a DB and have it able to be accessed by the World. The only real problem with them is that the Programmer must do all the work to add entries and maintain it. My system is unique in that it allows the members to directly add specific Information directly to the DB under Moderation. This does two things. (1) It assures that only desired info can be placed on line. (2) It keeps hackers from the system. My system has a couple unique characteristics.

    IT IS FREE!
    It is available to all Horologists of the WORLD!
    The information is readily available for anyone to use!
    It is Searchable by multiple means! or you can browse the entire DB.

    It is displayed as Web Pages.
     
  5. centame

    centame Registered User

    Dec 13, 2005
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    Sam,

    Your system certainly looks like it could be a very useful tool for this purpose. The next question I would ask is how the information can be legally gleaned to add it to the database. It would be wonderful to simply transcribe all the data from the book-based lists of makers but this would surely run into copyright and plagiarism difficulties with the author and publishers. At the same time, it would seem crazy to reinvent the wheel by starting from scratch. I have no legal understanding (national or international) when it comes to this. I also wonder what the legal status is of lists found in older books, e.g. that found in the back of "The Old Clock Book" by N. Hudson Moore, or other out-of-print publications such as the much more recent "The Complete Checklist of American Clock and Watchmakers, 1640-1950" by John Edwards. Should access to the established lists prove insurmountable perhaps the database could start by adopting a different tack - adding only the names of makers who do not appear in the established books or adding extra information on already documented makers. In this way it would serve as a very useful adjunct to the book-based lists while marking itself out as being different. Including the e-mail address of the "depositor" would allow for acknowledgement of that person's input and also serve as a contact for others who may wish to discuss the maker further. These are just coffee cup meanderings for now but I really feel that there is something useful to be gained from such a database whatever shape it takes and of course the proof will ultimately be based on the volume of inputs that enthusiasts are willing to supply.
     
  6. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
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  7. kirxklox

    kirxklox Registered User
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    Fortunat - More crying Wolf and less understand Freedom of Use. Try Wikipedia the online encyclopedia.

    Name, Years, Apprentice, Master, Synopsis

    I would encourage not just Copying but actualy checking multiple references an providing correct information.

    That Book List you just put up is Worthless unless there is a Book Review or Synopsis of the Work attached.

    It would take years to make a good online resourse like Loomis or other books, but it can be done and done legally.
     
  8. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
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    Sam

    I am not disagreeing with you, quite the contrary. An online comprehensive list of historical horological CAN be created, but to be sucsessfull it iwill need to be much more complicated than just copying names and data from a few standard books. And if the work is to be shared among several (or many) collaborators an adequate sytem of quality control will not be easy to set up (and to enforce) either.

    Fortunat
     
  9. kirxklox

    kirxklox Registered User
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    That is a WHOLE lot nicer than what you said before. Anyway, I do not encourage anyone to just copy Copyrighted material.

    But, under the same token, I do not collect other peoples Copyrighted material and sell it for a Profit. Everyone knows that what material is being provided is for Public Display and is FREE to the World.
     
  10. Ansomnia

    Ansomnia Registered User

    Sep 11, 2005
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    IMO, creating such a database would require focussed effort, a lof of time, effort and money. As already explained, you must also be versed in the legal aspects of publishing such information; and accept certain limitations.

    The previous researchers and authors have no doubt thought along the same lines so it may be advisable to enlist their help and make it more of a group effort. One would also need to acknowledge the vested interests of these authors and be sensitive and responsive to their concerns. One has to realize these people put a lot of their own time and effort into their own work. A win-win situation would greatly facilitate such a project. It would be distracting to say the least, if one ends up spending more time in litigation than actually working on such a project.

    My initial impression is that there are generally 2 approaches:
    • • a private user fee database and
      • a free public domain database.
    The first one is likely easier to populate and manage but would be less popular. The second one would initially be more popular but likely suffer from being very slow to populate and being difficult to manage; and if these handicaps prove to be significant it may easily fail. IMO, many people also do not appreciate "free" information and thus contribute to its demise. Free stuff is not always a good thing.

    IMO, the user fee approach is inherently more realistic and workable. Horology is not considered general knowledge and has a narrow, often commercial application. A major horological project can only be funded by well-heeled person(s) or institution(s) as philanthropy or as a group effort, employing user fees, to the benefit of all members.

    Perhaps a system where users purchase a copy-protected CD-based archive containing a "starter" database along with a subscription to an Internet-based extended archive which is then continually updated may be feasible and practical. I suspect public domain databases usually fail over time because people lose interest and it becomes too time-consuming and acrimonious to manage or the "owner expires" for some reason. A private fee-based system is less prone to internal acrimony and much easier to fund proper ongoing maintenance and manage as well as expand. It's a bit like comparing a one-man shop vs. a professionally-run corporation. The first one exists so long as the owner has it under control, the second one is meant to exist indefinitely.

    This is my opinion based on personal experience.

    Finally, thank you very much Fortunat, for providing insight on the publication process and expertise on horological treatises. FWIW, I did not perceive anything negative in what you said - I think you merely presented realistic, well-meaning and very useful information. Sometimes, we are just the "messenger" after all. :D


    Michael
     
  11. kirxklox

    kirxklox Registered User
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    Ansomnia: You are half correct. If a person had to pay for what I have already done it would be in the $500,000 range if not more. However, since I did most of the work and have already developed the programming needed for such an endeavor all it takes to do something like this is WORK and lots of time. My system also provides the necessay Controls to identify all that submit the information and provides an Accreditation that is beyond reproach.

    The only cost now is the minute cost of maintaintaing the Web System. So really you have no idea how cheap it has now become to do things like this.

    I find that as long as someone provides you the information and does all the work for it you guys won't even say thank you. Now also if anyone mentions that you need to do the work to help most of you will go into a catatonic state and only come out of the shell after the WORK is done.
     
  12. Ansomnia

    Ansomnia Registered User

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    Sam, I agree you have the beginnings of a useful horological website and as you have already noted, it would be nice if other people chipped in some information. I also understand the work that goes into software development. I started my working life as a software engineer and analyst for companies that developed custom commercial software for Fortune 500 companies. However, everyone values their time and often information is worth more than just software.

    The kind of help you want from other people involves a "buy in". The quality of the help you enlist depends a lot on what people perceive from how you present your project. If you just want casual input you may end up with spurious information and a lot of editing. If you actually get a lot of unqualified input, your database can easily become unmanageable and less than useful because it contains too much spurious information. That is actually a major problem with Wikipedia. There are a lot of mistakes in Wikipedia - and they already claim to have experts to review the information they acquire. This is why I feel a private effort can provide superior information.

    When I was in the computer industry we used to kick around the concept of a better mousetrap - you know, where the saying goes that "if you build a better mousetrap the world will come knocking on your door".

    No.

    This concept only works on a small segment of humanity. Humanity is mostly perverse. Most people only knock on your door when they perceive a "proven money maker", "a safe bet" or when they are desperate.

    Are you promoting a "better mousetrap"?


    Michael
     
  13. Bill Ward

    Bill Ward Registered User
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    The copyright problem has become quite a thorny one since the internet has enabled almost anyone to become a "publisher", and since computer technology has enabled simple, speedy and cheap copying. Copyright holders and publishers of all sorts have gotten quite hot over it, and they've pressured governments to clamp down. Western governments have thus pressured Asian, African and South American governments to clamp down, and they've replied that Western governments have been lax in enforcement themselves. This has resulted in spates of severe enforcement. It doesn't appear to me that anything currently in copyright will ever expire, as the governments keep extending the copyright period. They've even extended it backward, so that items long out of copyright have been put back into copyright. And they've closed certain "loopholes", such as music recordings (few people know that music recordings- as opposed to sheet music- was not subject to copyright until the 1970's).
    However, AFAIK (and I should stress here that I am NOT a copyright attorney, or even a lawyer!) copyright entails some minimal level of creativity. Therefore, simple lists (such as the telephone directory) are not copyrightable as such. (Note also that typing, nor even typesetting, nor certainly photocopying, nor probably scanning, have not been credited with sufficient creativity to be copyrightable). However, real writing, as in biography, is definitely copyrightable. The facts themselves are not copyrightable. So if the data is paraphrased, or if commentary is incorporated or apppended, the work is a new (and coprightable, and, generally, automatically copyrighted) work.
    Note that "fair use" does not encompass (re)publication, and that posting on the internet has been held to be publication, whether for profit or not.
    Of course, any serious project should have the imprimator of a copyright attorney
     
  14. kirxklox

    kirxklox Registered User
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    Since you can't see the Mousetrap you can only take my word for it. I think I have the best Interactive CMX (CMS with a whole lot of EXTRAS) system in the World as a Web Development tool. Does it make any difference, I think so because the programming is already built for other purposes and easily made ready for any use.

    As of Tuesday morning 00:01, I will quit promoting it. We will at that time start putting the entire system together for Licensing and going Public. The system is actually a neat Web Designing system.
     
  15. kirxklox

    kirxklox Registered User
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    Bill: I agree with every point you made. That is why I have set up each of the Horological DBs the way I have. I also maintain Electronic Records of who submits the Data.
     
  16. centame

    centame Registered User

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    Even with such diverse opinions emerging, there does at least seem to be common ground that an online database of makers would be a very useful product to have and to share. The merits of whether being commercial or free have been expressed (Ansomnia and Sam) and certainly prompt a need for much further reflection before embarking on this adventure. The very extensive booklist (and cost – even for shipping from the NAWCC library!!) that Fortunat has kindly provided further emphasises to me why such an online database is badly needed. Ansomnia has referred to bringing the book writers on-board. How lucrative is this business to them? - horological reference books, especially lists, do not strike me as being books with vast public readerships and therefore the copies of each book that are released to the public cannot be that extensive - bringing them on-board says money but how much? Ansomnia has referred also to the quality assurance issues and the undesirable possibility of producing a degenerate list through spurious additions via the global horological community. Maybe I am being naive here but I would like to think that horologists are honourable people who would provide data that they at least believe to be true. Compelling the depositor to include information on the authenticity and source of their submissions would surely be a minimum requirement. Sam has indicated that he has a system that incorporates a depositior authenticity component. In any case, how accurate are all entries in the book-published lists? To me, it is this important capacity of the individual to be able to submit locally found data that is the very essence of what this database is about. I would agree with Ansomnia though that there is the real danger that an initial flurry of enthusiasm for the project would wane over time as the submissions would receive no acknowledgement – being social animals we do seem to like feedback on our worth. I find Bill’s suggestion that lists may not be copyrightable to be most interesting although this aspect would require extreme caution (Fortunat’s friend’s story does not make for pleasant reading) and the legal advice that Bill recommends must surely come with a pretty penny – where I come from, the temperature never gets cold enough for lawyers’ to keep their hands in their own pockets!!! This need for legal involvement would have to be included from the outset, prior to any database being populated with entries. Sam tacitly seems to suggest otherwise, at least to me, that data could be entered without the need for legal advice. Could you expand on that Sam or have I misinterpreted your thoughts?
     
  17. kirxklox

    kirxklox Registered User
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    Bill said it in a nutshell there is nothing illegal about displaying data, only when it becomes a written biography does it become Copyrighted.

    Names, places, dates, and historical information of this nature is all that is collected. Comments are opinions of the Authors. Just like in my bibliography. The only unusual thing that my system does is to display this information as Web Pages that the Data is Search-able by fields. This is what is so unique and never been done before.

    I will build and host the System but I will not do any of the Data Entry work to enter info.

    I guarantee you no one else has this capability developed.
     
  18. kirxklox

    kirxklox Registered User
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    This is not copyrighted and in my bibliography the only material that is copyrighted are the comments by various authors listed;


    This would be copyrighted;


    Made up as an example;


     
  19. kirxklox

    kirxklox Registered User
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    Here is the real rule about the Internet. You could copy the bibliography that I have up line for line without violating any copyright. To use my Web Design would be a violation of my copyright and using my Programming would also be a violation of my copyright.
     
  20. kirxklox

    kirxklox Registered User
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    One of the things that few of you realize is that information on the Internet like I provide with my sytem is able to be edited at any time where there is incorrect information provided. The system I employ allows a constant upgrades as newer and more correct information is provided.
     
  21. kirxklox

    kirxklox Registered User
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    Today is your last chance for me to discuss this. After today I will have to treat this as an Advertisement.
     
  22. Richard Watkins

    Richard Watkins Registered User
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  23. kirxklox

    kirxklox Registered User
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    Pretty neat system. Both in French and English.
     
  24. Jan2011

    Jan2011 New Member

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    Hi!



    I have spend many years building an MS Access database. "Watches of the World" The database have all necessary information like brand logo, brands name, address and contact

    information, history, Owners of today, information of watch models with movement, value, limited editions, Collectible models and brands, year of production, Watch model history and picture of the models. The watch model is linked to a huge watch movement database with all necessary information about the movement. Also similar movement information can be put in. The databases can also be used separately. So far I have collected information for over 22000 different brands. Not Clock makers so far, but that is my next project, and will be linked together with the other bases. A symbolic fee for members and a fee for access,. Authorized access for people upgrade/adding new information to the base. My problem is to put this base on inter nett. I don`t have the knowledge to do that yet. This base can be a tool for all the watchmakers/clockmaker's in the world, and everyone interesting in watches. I think this is the most completed watch base in the world today, but I can be wrong. So if anyone have some god advices to me, get this out on the net, i will be very grateful. Of course many people and companies can do the job for me, if I pay them enough. Sorry for my bad English.



    Have a nice weekend.



    Jan o:)
     
  25. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
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    Jan

    Thank you very much for your contribution to this thread.


    The database you seem to have assembled sounds interesting. I myself have made some efforts to assemble horological data and make it available in the internet.


    First I created a catalog of horological websites called Horology-The Index, that for many years was at horology.com, I then donated the content to the NAWCC, who now operate it (and update it) as part of their website with a group of volunteers. http://www.nawcc-index.net/


    Right now I am working on a database of the worlds horological literature called, Bibliographia Horologiae Mundi, which is designed to eventually be cooperative venture on the internet (right now it has over 16'000 horological publications cataloged, 95% of them by myself) and search (but not yet contributing) is open to the public, it is housed at http://www.hsn161.com/BHM/bhm1-allusers/bhm_entry.php


    I am sure there could be way to incorporate getting your data onto the internet for the benefit of the collecting public somewhere within the structure of the NAWCC Website, either on this Messageboard or elsewhere.

    Please emai me privately at horology@horology.com if you are interested to discuss this further.
     

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