Wondering at the natural fecundity of things

In case you missed the announcement on the Optimal List of the posting on the Rutgers Optimality Archive, Junko Ito, John McCarthy and I recently finished editing an online collection of papers written in honor of Alan Prince on the occasion of his 60th birthday (on June 20).

This Festschrift is hosted on the University of California’s eScholarship Repository, under the banner of UC Santa Cruz’s Linguistics Research Center. Right now it is only available electronically, but we have plans to make hardcopies available on demand via BookSurge (preparation for which is much more complicated than you might think). [ Update, 8/31 — the book can now be purchased for $18.99 (+ shipping) from Amazon.com. — end update ]

Three weeks after launching the Festschrift, the list of top ten downloads of recent papers on the eScholarship Repository is dominated by seven of the papers in our collection. (That link will change; here’s a snapshot.) That’s nice news, but there’s very little information that I’ve been able to find about how significant that is. “Recent papers” means papers uploaded to the Repository in the past 30 days, but we don’t know how many papers that is. (There are currently 12,512 total papers on the Repository, there have been 3,442,675 total full-text downloads to date, and there were 30,312 full-text downloads last week — but none of these numbers help. Sigh.)

[ Update, 8/31 — Double sigh. This is what I get for not double-checking. The title of this collection comes from a line on the first page of Prince (1980), “A metrical theory for Estonian quantity”, LI 11, 511-562. The line actually says: “… wonder at the unimagined fecundity of natural things …” — end update ]

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