Alex Catalogue collection policy

This page lists the guidelines for including texts in the Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts. Originally written in 1994, much of it is still valid today.


The primary purpose of the Catalogue is to provide me with the means for demonstrating a concept I call arscience through American and English literature as well as Western philosophy. The secondary purpose of the Catalogue is to provide value-added access to some of the world’s great literature in turn providing the means for enhancing education. Consequently, the items in the collection must satisfy either of these two goals.


Listed in priority order, texts in the collection must have the following qualities:

  1. Only texts in the public domain or freely distributed texts will be collected.
  2. Only texts that can be classified as American literature, English literature, or Western philosophy will be included.
  3. Only texts that are considered “great” literature will included. Great literature is broadly defined as literature withstanding the test of time and found in authoritative reference works like the Oxford Companions or the Norton Anthologies.
  4. Only complete works will be collected unless a particular work was never completed in the first place. In other words, partially digitized texts will not be included in the Catalogue.
  5. Whenever possible, collections of short stories or poetry will be included as they were originally published. If the items from the originally published collections have been broken up into individual stories or poems, then those items will be included individually.
  6. The texts in the collection must be written in or translated into English. Otherwise I will not be able to evaluate the texts’ quality nor will the indexing and content-searching work correctly.

File formats

Because of technical limitations and the potential long-term integrity of the Catalogue, texts in the collection, listed in order of preference, should have the following formats:

  1. Plain text files are preferred over HTML files.
  2. HTML files are preferred over compressed files.
  3. Compressed files are preferred over “word processor” files.
  4. Word processed files are the least preferable file format.
  5. Texts in unalterable file formats, such as Adobe Acrobat, will not be included.

In all cases, text that have not been divided into parts are preferred over texts that have been divided. If a particular item is deemed especially valuable and the item has been divided into parts, then efforts will be made to concatenate the individual parts and incorporate the result into the collection. The items in the collection are not necessarily intended to be read online.

Published by

Eric Lease Morgan

Artist- and Librarian-At-Large