Astrolearn astrology library progress report
– No. 23: 30th January, 2016
A week ago today, there was no substantial progress to report, so I decided to skip posting an update. As a result, it has been two weeks since the previous one.
The first batch of Astrolearn CDs had reached Swedish customs on the Monday of last week, but then progressed no further for a whole week while customs deliberated over what to do about the parcel containing them, before it was finally cleared this Monday. It was therefore delivered only on Wednesday this past week, nine days after it arrived at Swedish customs.
So far, I have opened and tested the first two CDs, which were fine. The others I still need to check to verify that all files have transferred correctly, though I have no reason to believe they won’t have done so.
Also in the package received on Wednesday were various book purchases of mine made in the United States, chiefly in November and December of last year. I have catalogued these offline, and shall be incorporating the details into the bibliography early this coming week.
Among the highlights were six issues of “The Adept” from 1911-1913; an early issue of Carl Payne Tobey’s magazine “New Astrology”; and a lot of twelve issues of “World Astrology” magazine from 1938 to 1942.
On the new academic books side, the parcel contained the following:
Isabelle Pingree’s selection of essays by her late husband David Pingree, reprinted from various academic journals and similar sources: “Pathways into the Study of Ancient Sciences” (2014);
Charles Burnett and Dorian Greenbaum’s “From Masha’Allah to Kepler: Theory and Practice in Medieval and Renaissance Astrology” (2015) – being a collection of papers presented by many different scholars at a conference at the Warburg Institute of the same name that took place in November 2008;
Darin Hayton’s “The Crown and the Cosmos: Astrology and the Politics of Maximilian I” (2015) – a single-author historical study.
Further received in the same parcel, Evelyn Faye Wilson’s edition of “The Stella Maris of John of Garland” (1946) – one of the source texts in David Juste’s old list at the Warburg Institute website that had previously escaped my collection. It is essentially an edition of a collection of poetry based on numerous legends surrounding the Virgin Mary, but with considerable allusions to the constellation Virgo and other astronomical and astrological references by the author.
Several old non-academic books of relevance to astrology were also present. Notable among these are L. Chadwick’s “The Cultivator’s Handbook” (1895); a signed copy of John Hazelrigg’s “Fundamentals of Hermetic Science” (1925); J. H. Horr’s “Cosmologic Guide and Key to Success and Happiness” (1915); Lucius M. Pitzer’s “Pitzer’s Wonderful Book” (American; early 20th century); and Llewellyn George’s “Handy Book of Useful Tables for Students, Teachers and Practitioners of Astrology” (1911, first edition).
The latter part of last year was a fruitful if costly period for the enhancement this collection, and I’m glad that at last those fruits are present so that I’m able to report on them. Please allow me a further week to incorporate the changes into the online bibliography; but I’m certainly looking forward to it.
I have given further thought to the pricing structure of my DVDs and CDs of scanned out-of-copyright astrological texts.
In reflection of the relative numbers of books on each format, the hugely time-consuming and costly character of manufacturing individual DVDs and their packaging on demand from home, I have restructured the pricing as follows from today onwards:
The main DVD collections “From Lilly to Partridge”; “From Sibly to Simmonite” and “From Cooke to Pearce” are now £79 + VAT within the EU each (£98.75 inc. VAT within the EU).
The eight-CD set corresponding closely to the collective contents of the DVD “From Lilly to Partridge” will be priced at the approximate US dollar equivalent of £15 per CD – thus £120 for the full set.
The ten-CD set corresponding fairly closely to the collective contents of the DVD “From Sibly to Simmonite”, but with several added extra texts, will likewise be priced at the approximate US dollar equivalent of £15 per CD – thus £150 for the full set. [The extra texts will later alternatively be made available together on one or two CDs as a supplement to the existing DVD “From Sibly to Simmonite” for those who prefer that option or have already bought it.]
Consequently, the DVD collections will still work out the best value for those who want many texts from a particular time period; but the CDs will offer a budget-friendly alternative for those wanting only partial sets of texts within one time period.
The DVDs and CDs have their own separate on-disc artwork and design values that may be a further factor affecting prospective buyers’ choice of format.
The CD-based alternative to “From Cooke to Pearce” will not be ready for market for several more months, since additional scans are needed to complete it, and this cannot be undertaken until I can afford the cost of having my book scanner professionally repaired by the manufacturer, Plustek. I won’t be able to afford this until April-May at the earliest.
I am keeping a slightly lower price on the two Alan Leo journal DVDs for now: £60 + VAT within the E.U., so £75 including VAT. It is hard to imagine that it would make sense to break the contents of these up into smaller CDs, since they form coherent sets, and a combined price of £150 inc. EU VAT for both discs seems to be a reasonable and sustainable proposition.
Over the coming week, once I have fully tested the batch of the 18 CDs that are available so far, I shall be taking photographs and then working on preparing and uploading Products pages for them within Astrolearn.
On a final note, this past week, the problem of fake registrations by spambots to this site reached an intolerable magnitude, and I have therefore given over several days to dealing with it and enhancing the security of the site in various ways. The spambots have been well and truly banished (I have deleted the vast majority of suspect registrations and implemented measures that effectively prevent false new ones), but some teething problems have been encountered in the process of trying to make their lives harder.
For one, I have had to block all email addresses ending in yahoo.com, mail.ru, rambler.ru, tw.org and tw.info, among other endings, from being members of the site, because they accounted for the lion’s share of the fake registrations. But if you use one of these domains for your email, you can ask me to add you to an allow list – just email me on solger75 [at] gmail.com with a personal message showing your interest in the site’s subject matter in order to verify that your request for membership is genuine, and I’ll see to it that the block is overridden for your email.
For another, some of the plug-ins I experimented with during the week in an attempt to address the problem seem to have impaired the functionality of certain form-based pages to the point where I have had to remove those plug-ins again. At one point, it was impossible to register for a new account at all. I had put that right within 24 hours. Most recently, this afternoon, I discovered that the Password Reset screen was malfunctioning, and had to disable some software from attempting to spam-proof that screen so that it works at all. It is now functional again.
There is clearly a balance to be struck between website security and functionality, and where software that improves security prevents the website from being functional at all, then I have no hesitation in disabling that software.
One remaining issue I’m aware of at the present time is the Log-out page returning a ‘page not found’ error message, even if the logging out itself is successfully implemented. This error seems to be caused by some setting in an otherwise very useful piece of security software. I have not yet figured out the exact cause or how to address it, but it seems to be little more than a minor inconvenience, so please do not be alarmed if when you attempt to log out you are greeted with that error message.
Best wishes to all for the week ahead,