A numismatic information question
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As most here know I've written a bunch of books and 100 or so articles, etc., etc. Several people have urged consideration of an independent web site that would:

1. Allow low cost access to articles in PDF format.

2. Permit requests for documents relevant to a specific American numismatic subject from my database at low cost.

3. Post responses to user questions that are more detailed than possible on a commercial message board or "chat room."

4. Solicit topics of collector interest for future research and publication.

5. Encourage collector involvement in subjects of long-term collector interest, but that change at a very slow rate.

My question to members is: Does this sound like something of broad enough interest in the hobby/business to be more than a "blip," or would it be more like the failed JNR publication?

[FYI Journal of Numismatic Research (JNR) was an attempt to give research authors a place to publish their detailed work and conclusions without restrictions on length or preconcieved doctrine. There were minimum citation and peer review standards. It went flop, flop, flop like a fish on the boat deck.]

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I'm not an expert on numismatic research, but it seems to me if we got about 3 pages of message board posts per month on your SAINT GAUDENS book (the bulk of them from me xD)....I'm not sure how much an instant messenger or other site would have traffic-wise. 

OTOH...you'd want to draw from ALL the message board sites....OTOH, they'd probably look at it as competition rather than you answering the Q&A on the respective sites.

If ALL your research is in 1 location, then the varied requests on different topics might generate more traffic.

I'm not familiar with JNR, so I can't comment or use it as a comparision or research measuring stick.

Edited by GoldFinger1969

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just what I think

The numismatic community is fairly small so the traffic would not be great

I am not sure how many numismatic researchers or students would be comfortable with using a website instead of books, tombs, or codex or id it codices?

I think that most internet users would not want to pay for the use as there seems to be a culture and expectation of free information 

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1-2  The meat of what you are prosing is to put your research materials online and charge for it.  Don't some materials require special permission from the "owner" to monetize them in that way?  This in my mind is different than when you request permission to publish that research, but maybe it isn't.  And are your articles all yours or do any of them need special permission to charge for?   

For the low cost research material/articles: Most people in our hobby do not do deep dive research.  Superficial at best is what I would call most research.  And when they do research it is internet based or with a book already owned.  Most questions do not need a depth of material/history to answer.   So you are really going to be limited to a very small subset who currently use govt/museums/university/reference books that actually do deep dive.  Then you are dealing with people (like me) that would only want James Fraser and Buffalo nickel materials.  So I would visit once, get all I need and then have no reason to return.  But the odds are I would not even know the site existed.  

3-5  First thought: what is stopping you from doing that here or on another established forum?

8 hours ago, RWB said:

Does this sound like something of broad enough interest in the hobby/business to be more than a "blip," or would it be more like the failed JNR publication?

 I won't equate it to JNR, but the end result would likely be the same.

 

 

  

 

 

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Roger has provided many of us with vital information around our numismatic research/book projects.

I would be a frequent visitor!

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Interesting proposal.

My main focus would not be covered (world). So not much interest there. I do have a broad range of interests and have the need to scratch the itch on many series (US). So my use would be sporadic (intensive) and I see the site being very useful. 

I'm not sure there would be enough interest to maintain and update the site (effort), however. Would you include Modern issues? There seems to be interest in Moderns, but I'm not sure their collectors will want to pay for the information.  

Bottom line: ???  

 

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The basic problem Roger is running up against is what I call “the essential Internet culture”, that all information should be free. Anyone who believes that needs to rethink it. If you get Roger’s info for free, you are essentially “enslaving” Roger.  If you want Roger’s work, you need to pay him for it. I buy books, good old fashioned dead tree books. The Internet is, to me, a plaything, and nothing I take terribly seriously. I don’t want the Internet to eviscerate traditional publishing. The reliability of the Internet’s information gets worse by the day.

Yes, if I teach a class, I ban links as references. Go look at books.

Edited by VKurtB

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To respond to a couple of comments:

  • All site material would be under my control or public domain, so there would be no copyright problems.
  • The cost of articles would be low to encourage access, and generate enough to approach paying basic hosting/server/security, etc.
  • There would be no direct access to my database for obvious security control. A set of search results on a topic can be generated in a few seconds and a time-based cost estimate can be based on that. Time is required to assemble relevant files and arrange delivery to a user. Collectors and hobby clubs would probably be charged from $0 to $5 or $10 depending on number of files involved. Businesses would pay full rates.
  • Some background - I currently receive an average of 6 data requests per month. Most are from individuals who are researching a specific subject, but who are not doing "hard core" research. (Think of club slide shows or personal curiosity.) I also get information requests from auction companies and dealers.

I view the site concept as a way to get information into the hands of potential users. Paper publication remains overly expensive and slow, plus many smaller topics of potential collector interest never get in print. This site could help dissemination. But.....

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In any event, I appreciate members' candid comments.

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2 hours ago, leeg said:

Roger has provided many of us with vital information around our numismatic research/book projects.  I would be a frequent visitor!

I would too because I value his work and would want to support him....I'm just not sure how many others would.

Edited by GoldFinger1969

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15 minutes ago, RWB said:

I view the site concept as a way to get information into the hands of potential users. Paper publication remains overly expensive and slow, plus many smaller topics of potential collector interest never get in print. This site could help dissemination. But.....

The vast majority of folks interested in your topics are not at the "expert" level -- so would they be willing to pay ?  I'm wagering NO as most probably join on-line forums and ask questions there.

The "experts" who WOULD be willing to pay -- and who know your work as worth the $$$ -- are there enough of them out there ?   If you could get 1 or 2 or 3 "heavy hitters" like a wealthy collector looking to do research in filling out a registry or something, that could provide enough $$$ right there.  OTOH, that individual (if he/she exists) might just want to hire you as a consultant directly.

Keep us posted Roger...I'd certainly do my part to spread the word. (thumbsu:(

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Anyone who wants actual FACTUAL information, such as the major auction houses, should feel blessed to have this information.

One reason would be to ensure auction descriptions are correct.

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1 hour ago, leeg said:

Anyone who wants actual FACTUAL information, such as the major auction houses, should feel blessed to have this information.

One reason would be to ensure auction descriptions are correct.

This might be a key factor - my experience is that few in the hobby or business care if information, descriptions, sources, and so forth are accurate or factually supported. The site I'm considering would have to be self-supporting, so the number of paying users is critical. But site visits pushed by search results require awareness by the diffuse cadre of collectors and other potential users. A circular argument  -- or at least oval.

(FYI - I've delayed two books largely due to lack of funds.)

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7 hours ago, RWB said:

This might be a key factor - my experience is that few in the hobby or business care if information, descriptions, sources, and so forth are accurate or factually supported. The site I'm considering would have to be self-supporting, so the number of paying users is critical. But site visits pushed by search results require awareness by the diffuse cadre of collectors and other potential users. A circular argument  -- or at least oval.

(FYI - I've delayed two books largely due to lack of funds.)

Carl Waltz of Millersville, PA has literally self-PRINTED his book on Matte Lincoln Proofs by die stage. Not the best solution, but still...

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8 hours ago, RWB said:

This might be a key factor - my experience is that few in the hobby or business care if information, descriptions, sources, and so forth are accurate or factually supported. The site I'm considering would have to be self-supporting, so the number of paying users is critical. But site visits pushed by search results require awareness by the diffuse cadre of collectors and other potential users. A circular argument  -- or at least oval.

(FYI - I've delayed two books largely due to lack of funds.)

Have you spoken with Whitman lately, Rog? Your body of work should speak volumes now. I’m seeing a big blowout at a future Baltimore Show with the announcement of Whitman publishing The Burdette Library of Numismatic Research. Too schmaltzy? Too lacking in remuneration? They need more that isn’t a “red book of...”

Edited by VKurtB

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You know what might be of interest ?  An annual Red Book-type for various coins....Morgans, Saints, Barbers, Franklins, World Coins, etc....with Guest Commentaries about what you can expect short-term and long-term for the respective coins from Guest Dealers, Collectors, and others.

Instead of just having updated price guides annually, you'd have some commentary to go along with it.  Insight for Beginners and Advanced Collectors.....Experts' favorites picks in the series for budget and big-ticket collectors....etc.

I would buy something like that every year if it had new stuff other than prices.  I mentioned to Roger that I thought a condensed veresion of his Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle Book could be attractive.  Price Guide, Less Detail, New Commentary -- maybe 1/5th the size of his current book.

Edited by GoldFinger1969

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Whitman does mostly hobby shelf books for retail trade. Larger or more complicated books are rare. Wit Mr. Anderson gone, not sure what will happen....

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So Roger there is no doubting your credentials and the research material you have.  I took your original question to be is this a viable "business".  So what we personally think about you and the work you have produced doesn't matter.  So I will continue to play devils advocate vs simply say great idea you should do it.  

  • Are you planning on making this a free site to browse the info and only have to pay to get a pdf of the data?  Or are you talking about making a member only pay site to even see the info?
  • Would it be nice to have to only got to one place instead of several for documents - yes.   But other than offering a one stop shop for the data what extra are you offering that could not be had from going to multiple sources that have the original documents? 
  • Are you going to continue to add new documents or updated info to the database (example Fraser) if/when new info comes out that you didn't have?  Or is it simply the data/research you currently have and not updating it with new information on topics you may not currently be researching?  
  • Finally, unless you are just going to throw up website willy-nilly have you created a business plan?  If not, I would recommend you do.  You should be able to easily determine your needed volumes and rates necessary to break even during the plan creation.  Also, instead of all this hassle, why not just start charging those people/groups who ask you for data/research right now? 

The question isn't would people pay for this data from you. Some would.  Some wouldn't.  Of those that would, it would mainly be one time shoppers I imagine.  

The question is sustainable traffic.  Is what you provide going to bring enough paying traffic to sustain this site and cover costs?  I would say not likely.

21 hours ago, VKurtB said:

f you want Roger’s work, you need to pay him for it. I buy books, good old fashioned dead tree books.

100% the same.  I prefer the books/documents in my library vs the internet for reference.

 

Edited by scopru

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21 hours ago, RWB said:

This might be a key factor - my experience is that few in the hobby or business care if information, descriptions, sources, and so forth are accurate or factually supported. The site I'm considering would have to be self-supporting, so the number of paying users is critical. But site visits pushed by search results require awareness by the diffuse cadre of collectors and other potential users. A circular argument  -- or at least oval.

I have noticed that alot of the descriptive information on Saints over at HA -- including some of the patterns and rarely-seen high-end coins -- is taken word-for-word (or close to it) from your book.  And the commentary on that 1928 Philadelphia Mint Saint Bag a few months ago or whenever it was sold was also written by you (probably especially for the sale or maybe taken from another work other than the Saints book).

Edited by GoldFinger1969

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I have bought several of Roger's books, including the pretty pricey Saint-Gaudens book....I'll probably buy a 2nd copy (if they ever release a hard cover or a revised edition with a few new paragraphs and a different cover color, I'll buy that too xD).....I'm not sure if I am hardcore enough to benefit from this research site but if I am in a position to patronize it in the future, Roger has my support.

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Until NNP got off the ground, the only way to access US Mint archive information was by making a personal visit to one of the NARA sites. Very steep learning curve, limited finding aid help, very limited staff help, no useful indexing, takes a lot of time. NNP is supporting digitization of some Mint materials but users must search images page-by-page. NNP has recently begun supporting transcription of selected documents from Philadelphia (Entry 1) to fill in during the present NARA closures. I've also had help from volunteers in transcribing documents from NARA College Park. In both cases the volume is huge and resources minuscule.

Some of the raw data in NNP and my database are the same; however, mine has a descriptive file name for each document. (NNP has little below the Volume or Box label level.) Descriptive file names permits subject/topic searches even if the document has not been transcribed.

I'm struggling to identify a way to open and simplify access to US Mint materials, and to do it at low cost and high reliability. (My articles and books include extensive source listings.)

Maybe this needs more thought from multiple angles and approaches.

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23 hours ago, RWB said:

Until NNP got off the ground, the only way to access US Mint archive information was by making a personal visit to one of the NARA sites. Very steep learning curve, limited finding aid help, very limited staff help, no useful indexing, takes a lot of time. NNP is supporting digitization of some Mint materials but users must search images page-by-page. NNP has recently begun supporting transcription of selected documents from Philadelphia (Entry 1) to fill in during the present NARA closures. I've also had help from volunteers in transcribing documents from NARA College Park. In both cases the volume is huge and resources minuscule.

Some of the raw data in NNP and my database are the same; however, mine has a descriptive file name for each document. (NNP has little below the Volume or Box label level.) Descriptive file names permits subject/topic searches even if the document has not been transcribed.

I'm struggling to identify a way to open and simplify access to US Mint materials, and to do it at low cost and high reliability. (My articles and books include extensive source listings.)

Maybe this needs more thought from multiple angles and approaches.

If anyone can find a way, it's you!

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Thanks to everyone who took the time and interest to respond to this post.

At present, data indicate there would be insufficient information dispersal to have a meaningful impact on accuracy or reliability of general numismatic information. Higher quality data also show that the proposed project is too small and limited to generate sufficient revenue to cover basic expenses.

I will continue to make planning outlines and revise workflows, but not attempt to implement anything specific at this time.

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