Here is the readme text that accompanies the Bruyninckx CD-ROM discography:
Each discography letter is a separate file in Adobe Acrobat .pdf format. By using Acrobat, we can assure that this CD can be read by Windows, Macintosh and Unix based systems. You must, however, have the Adobe Acrobat Reader version 3 or higher (w/Search if you wish to use the Indexing facility). If you don’t have this software, Acrobat Reader v4.05 w/Search is available on this CD in the Acrobat folder for both the Windows (95,98,NT) and Macintosh operating systems. If you require the Unix or Windows 3.1 version, it is available free of charge directly from Adobe’s web site: www.adobe.com
After you place the CD in your computer, launch the Explorer window and you will see the files on the CD by clicking on the correct drive letter for your CD ROM, e.g. “D”. Click the + sign next to the folders to see the contents of the Acrobat and Data folders. In the Data folder you will find the discography files listed by letter of the alphabet, plus the Index files. If you need to install the Acrobat Reader, copy the correct file from the Acrobat folder for your computer to a temporary folder on your hard disk and then double-click that file to install. Then simply follow the installation instructions. If you wish to check for later versions of the Reader, you may check the Adobe website (www.adobe.com), but be sure to check the “Search” facility in Step One of the download procedure if you decide to download a newer version.
After you have installed the Acrobat Reader (if you didn’t already have version 3 or higher w/Search), you can open the Data folder on the CD and simply double-click on the discography letter you are interested in. The online documentation that accompanies the Acrobat Reader is superb, and you will have little trouble using the Reader. It does a wonderful job.
When you wish to “find” some particular information using Acrobat Reader, you can pull down the “Edit” menu and click on “Find”. Alternatively, you can click on the icon that appears to be a pair of binoculars. Either of these actions will open a search window where you can enter your search argument. Acrobat Reader will find each occurrence of the search argument sequentially. When you wish to see the next occurrence, you can use the “Edit” menu and click “Find Again”, or just use the keyboard key combination: “Ctrl G”. This will take you to the next occurrence.
This version of the CD contains indexing across all files, and offers full multi-file searching that is much more helpful for research. You use the “Search” command in the “Edit” menu (you must have the Acrobat Reader w/Search for this facility). First, have any of the discography .pdf files open, then choose the index you wish to use for searching – Edit/Search/Select Indexes. If the Indexes window is blank, choose “Add”, then select Disco1.pdx from the available list (remember, you must be in the Disco\Data folder of the discography CD) Place a check in the “Disco1” box only (un-check other indexes if any are offered), then “OK”. Then, using the “Edit/Search/Query” facility, enter your search argument(s). Read the Acrobat Reader documentation to discover all the rich arguments you may enter. The Reader will then show you all the documents your argument appears in. Use “Ctrl ]” to move from one incidence to another, or you can use the Edit/Search commands for moving to the next occurrence or document. Again, this is a very powerful facility. For example, you might wish to find every occurrence of Johnny Hodges and Ella Fitzgerald appearing on the same album in the entire discography. You can do this by entering the query terms “hodges and fitzgerald” (no quotes) and then checking the “Proximity” box (all other boxes unchecked). This means that the Reader will find every occurrence of those names that appear _on the same page_ in all the letters of the alphabet at once. Please review the Reader Search documentation for best results.
Please let me know if you have difficulty using this CD. We have purposely set the system up to mirror the printed discography. This a genuine research tool, and we have avoided superfluous graphics and other distractions.
So – this is a very flexible implementation. There are no limits on what can be “searched” for. All text may be copied and pasted into other applications, but the formatting is lost. Still, it’s a start.
Also, the more adventurous can purchase the full version of Adobe Acrobat and edit the files and save corrections and additions. I haven’t explored that.
As of now, the Bruyninckx covers A, B, C (up to Ch), F, G, H, I, M, N, O, P (up to Po).
This way of doing things is in marked contrast to the Lord CD-ROM. It is a proprietary database that you cannot page through like the books. You must search for something – and not just anything: a single leader name, a single musician name, a single song title. That’s it. No record labels, no locations, no dates, no instruments, no proximity or boolean operators. You can look at the index for each search term and page through that if you like. It will show what instruments a musician has recorded on and how many times a name appears in the discography. You can also easily see the errors that exist, like “Ron Oderich” and “Ron Odrich” and “Ronnie Odrich” – all the same person, but you would never know the problem unless you looked at the raw index. A search would only find one of the three. And this is a COMMON occurrance in the Lord CD-ROM. You could probably find one in every 25 names. It’s just sloppy – the mistakes are easy to spot. We’re not talking about “George Joyner” and “Jamil Nasser” – I can almost understand missing that (they are the same person), but we are talking about “Jamil Nasser” and “Jamil S. Nasser.”
What is nice about working with the Lord CD-ROM is that it produces reports that are contiguous. The Bruyninckx just lets you go from one occurrence to the next really really quickly. You can’t see them in a row unless you copy and paste – and that’s way too much work. The Bruyninckx also only knows about alphabetical order between artists and chronological order within an artist listing. The Lord can sort by date as well. Which is how real discographies work, generally. The problem is that all one can do is look – you can’t print, you can’t copy and paste, you can’t email, you can hyper-link between musicians or leaders or tunes, which is really just starting a new search.
While the Lord is a database, it isn’t “open” enough to let you write your own queries and reports, which severely limits its usefulness.
I’ve had more time to work with the Bruyninckx than with the Lord, and I find that both are useful in their own ways. I wish each had the benefits of the other.
I haven’t figured out down to the specific dates, but as of now, neither of these can claim to be the absolutely most up-to-date. Bruyninckx certainly wins for the early letters and Lord wins for the ones that Bruyninckx hasn’t done yet, of course. I suspect that Bruyninckx wins for the ones he has done because the Lord volume with P came out earlier, but I’m not positive about that.
Of course, the first Lord volumes relied HEAVILY on the earlier Bruyninckx publications but the later ones seem to have gotten a little better about that. The Bruyninckx CD-ROM sometimes has little notes like the following:
Although Tom Lord copied this band out of Horst Lange’s discography when I was corresponding with Horst he send me a list what should be listed and this band was not included in Horst letters.
As an aside, it occasionally also contains things that I find humorous – like this note to the Art Blakey 1954 Birdland session:
Blue Note CDP7.28263-2 (2-CD box) entitled “Straight no chaser” has a Pee Wee Marquette’s intro from this concert announcing Art Blakey and this intro is followed by Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island” of June 17, 1964… Who’s fooling who?!! Or are they so stupid at Blue Note?!! Some reissues were released under the name of Clifford Brown.
In closing, yes, these are the next step up from books, but so much more is possible.