The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #19340   Message #287671
Posted By: Joe Offer
30-Aug-00 - 02:48 AM
Thread Name: Mudcat FAQ - Newcomer's Guide
Subject: Harvesting Lyrics
Well, the "harvesters" are Susan of DT and Joe Offer and Jim Dixon. Dick Greenhaus does some, but he does mostly the tunes and the technical stuff. I have met Susan of DT and found her to be quite human, and a very nice and interesting person.
Several people have posted documented evidence in the forum that has almost convinced me that Joe Offer is a computer program created by Max, but my mother insists it isn't true. Mom thinks Joe Offer is human. My ex-wife thinks so, too.
And being quite human, we occasionally miss songs that have been posted. If you post a song and don't see a ^^harvesting birdie at the end of the lyrics by the end of a week, send Susan or me a personal message, and tell us where we can find it. If you're willing to give us a little more slack, post a link to your song in the
Songs you've posted (click) thread, and we will harvest and mark it at our leisure.

If you post songs, please post them in the Digital Tradition format, which is explained toward the top of this FAQ thread. We'd like to get tunes for all the songs in the database, and you'll find tune posting instructions in the FAQ and in the Please Post Tunes Here thread.
Rounds don't do anybody much good without a tune, so Dick usually stays away from them.
Dick and Susan have maintained the Digital Tradition since 1988. They make the decisions about what goes into the database, and what doesn't. I got recruited at the beginning of 2000. I just harvest, categorize, and format them, match them with the tune files, and send them as text files to Dick.

Generally, alternate versions of a song are included in the database only if the lyrics are substantially different from what's here. If a song is the same except for a few verses, I's suggest that you post the entire song so we know where all the verses fit, but mark the alternate verses some way so we know what's different and what's not.

There are some glaring mistakes in some songs in the database, and you're welcome to submit corrections (best to do it as a whole set of lyrics, with notes below to tell us what you think should be corrected). Remember, though, that we are dealing with folk songs, and we expect slight variations in lyrics and tunes and don't pay too much attention to that. If Ewan MacColl sang one word and A.L. Lloyd sang another, we probably won't care to make a change.

-Joe Offer, human being-
Somebody asked for a description of what Susan and I do to harvest songs for the database.
Here's the process: Dick takes the songs and tunes and makes them into SongWright files, carefully matching the lyrics to the notes, and correcting the tunes where needed.
All this takes a lot of work, but thre are fringe benefits. I always have new material for my Wednesday night song circle. And you wouldn't believe the number of songs that Dick has in his head, and Susan has a serious passion for long ballads.
NOW do you understand why it takes so long? I actually think it wouldn't help to have more people do the harvesting, because even my added presence can tend to confuse things and Susan and I are still learning how to avoid duplicating each other's work - but it sure helps when people post songs that are already formatted and annotated.
Dick and Susan, is there any information you can add to my description of the process?
-Joe Offer-
Some of you may have noted that I marked Kendall's lyrics for "East Virginia" with a three-winged harvesting birdie ^^^ - the third wing means the song is redundant because it's already in the database.
But it really isn't redundant. I don't think it's different enough to include in the database, but it's certainly of great value to have all the different variations posted in the forum.
Thanks, Kendall.
-Joe offer-