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The Mudcat Cafesj

The Digital Tradition

See Also: About the Digital Tradition WWW Server

Official Rules

I. This is a not-for-profit, not-for-sale, not-for glory cooperative endeavor, consisting of an ever (hopefully) growing collection of folksong words on computer disks. We're without doubt the largest available collection extant; if y'all will help, we'll be even larger (7800 songs as of 4/99).

II. Copies of the PC disks are available at no cost to anyone who sends in an adequate number of formatted disks (5 for 1.4M format, along with a stamped, self-addressed mailer for those disks). Please note what machine you're using. The current version requires a hard drive, with some 16 MB free: if you don't have this, write us and let us know what set-up you do have. We'll try to help with another format. We can handle all DOS machines, and a Macintosh version will be available soon (we hope), as well as a text version for other systems. (Copies can also be obtained from the Internet.) You can also get the Digital Tradition as a CD-ROM by sending us five bucks; we supply the CD-ROM, mailer and postage.

III. All contributions (songs, not money, although we might be persuaded to accept that too) to this database are gratefully accepted, including corrections, alternate variants, songs we're missing and whatever. Please send contributions by e-mail ( or on disks (DOS or MAC disks will do) using ASCII format, or any word processor format that you happen to use. DO NOT SEND IN TYPED OR PRINTED COPY! We're assuming that any songs we get are in the public domain unless otherwise noted, but we're making every effort to protect copyrights. We've noted copyrighted material that we know about, and will continue to update this information whenever we get it. In any case, we'd like to point out that copyrighted material appearing in the Digital Tradition IS copyrighted, and cannot be used commercially without permission, whether or not the copyright is noted. We'd like you to note sources. This could be the author, the folk from whom it was originally collected or even the person you first heard sing it. If you know of any book that has published the song, or any record upon which it appears, that helps too.

IV. The database will be updated semi-annually. We've been averaging better than fifty new songs a month. If you want to share these with your friends, FEEL FREE! We have received permission from the publishers to distribute the associated programs, so it's all legal. THIS SOFTWARE IS COPY ENCOURAGED!

V. If you can supply missing words, verses, versions or background on any songs we have, DO SO! It will make us all deliriously happy.

VI. If you want to learn a song that we haven't listed, or want to know more about a song, post a query to The Mudcat Forum

VII. This database contains words AND music. This version uses some neat software developed by askSam Systems, Box 1428, Perry, Florida: this is a small subset of their very powerful text search system, which everyone should own (hint).

The folks at askSam have graciously licensed us to distribute this subset at no charge.

We're able to let you play the tunes to over half of the songs, thanks to the cooperation of the good folks at SongWright (Copyright 1988 by Michael Hulett). They have kindly let us distribute a subset of their very powerful music processing program. Meanwhile, if you write down a song and wish to enclose a copy (Xerox is fine) of the music, or enter it in SongWright if you have purchased the program, we'll try to add it to the tunes collection when we can. ABC, MIDI, Noteworthy Composer, Qbasic and JPEG or TIFF files can also be made to work.

Dick Greenhaus * 28 Powell Street, Greenwich, CT 06831 * 203/531-7314
E-Mail: digitrad@World.std.COM