[Blues-l] [pre-war-blues] Eric LeBlanc

P.W. Fenton pwfenton@radiofreeradio.org
Sat Sep 5 11:40:22 EDT 2015

> On Sep 5, 2015, at 07:54, Rich Kulawiec via Blues-l <blues-l@blues-l.com> wrote:
> 1. I'm willing to provide technical support as needed to facilitate the
> preservation and maintenance of that database: please ensure that those
> involved (e.g., Bob) are aware of this.

I should tell all interested parties that a while back I had corresponded with eRIC about turning his “Blues Dates” data into a searchable database that could be used online by anyone as a part of my “BluesLand.net” site.  He liked the idea, but we ran into huge technical hurdles that we never overcame, and he decided to just keep it the way it was.  The problem was that when he started his list of birth and death dates it was just a simple ascii text file on a university computer.  It was designed to be readable on a computer terminal with a fixed column width display with ascii characters of uniform size.  It had grown to enormous size over the years and was very cumbersome to deal with, especially by anyone other than him.  An even bigger problem was that he had changed his format sometimes in order to add more information but maintain this original column width.  It got so that when he started sharing his daily dates on Blues-L, he had to manually re-format them for that purpose in an email.  Those of us that assisted him in that effort know that even then, they would have to be formatted again so they would line up if your email used a proportional font.  I tried desperately to write some programming code to automate the process of converting these text files into modern relational database fields.  Nothing worked because his formatting was inconsistent in order to squeeze extra information into the column width of the old fashioned display.  The project was abandoned when neither of us had the time it would take to deal with his enormous files manually.  So anyone who undertakes this now will face a very difficult task, made all the more difficult by the fact that eRIC won’t be there to interpret these enormous text files for them.  It will take an enormous amount of manual data “re-entry” to turn his stuff into a real database.

P.W. Fenton
Hudson, FL

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