New Stanford Encyclopedia Initiative

The SEP, certainly one of the most important and valuable initiatives in my career in philosophy, continues to work on a permanent endowment in order to ensure the continuation of the project, and their latest efforts involve a membership organization called the “Friends of the SEP Society.” Ed Zalta and Uri Nodelmann have been sending out information about this organization, and given the importance of the project, I thought it might be useful to copy and paste some of the information here for those who have not yet heard about the initiative. More information below the fold.

“The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) is undertaking a new initiative and this announcement to the members of our profession outlines its potential benefits. Using grant money from the Hewlett Foundation, we have developed software to organize and administer a membership organization called the “Friends of the SEP Society”. By paying modest dues to join the Society, members will be able to download nicely formatted PDF versions of SEP entries. The membership dues for the Society will be used to support SEP operations. Note that the HTML versions of SEP entries will still remain freely accessible to everyone on the web.

The new Friends of the SEP Society has both public and “members-only” web pages linked into the home page:
The public pages at the URL listed above offer a free sample PDF and a link (“PDF Library”) which will take you to a preview page of each of the other PDFs that are available. To obtain download access to our PDF Library (other than the sample), you must become a member and log in. This you can do by clicking on the Join button on the Society’s home page and completing the form and payment process.

We hope that members of the profession who both value the careful layout of our PDFs and applaud our efforts to make high-quality academic content freely available worldwide will support our endeavors by joining the Society. Three different kinds of membership are available:

* Associate Member/$10 per year: offers the right to download
every PDF in the SEP PDF Library, but limited to 5 different

* Student Member/$5 per year: same priveleges as Associate
Member, but offered to students

* Professional Member/$25 per year: offers the right to
download every PDF in the SEP PDF Library, with no daily
download limits

The SEP project has undertaken this new initiative because it hasn’t quite reached its overall goal of raising a $4.125 million endowment. Although Stanford University discharged its commitment to raise $1.125 million in private donations towards our overall goal, the world-wide library community wasn’t quite as successful: they have raised $2.3 million towards their original $3 million goal. While we are hopeful that we will eventually raise the remaining $700,000, in the meantime the SEP budget is underfunded by about $35,000/year (= 5% on $700,000). Our library partners have endorsed our new initiative as a means of supplementing the SEP’s income.”

The software that is in place is in beta release, so if you have any difficulty using the site, Ed and Uri seek input at the following email: friends at leibniz dot stanford dot edu.

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