Wrap-up (3 February)
Our fundraising drive ended on Friday, and I've clean run out of synonyms for "incredible" to use in these posts. After PayPal fees, we took in $3,611.93, over seven times our initial goal. This generous outpouring from our users has vastly exceeded any plans we've made for projects, so at the moment the bulk of it will sit in an account while we investigate new digital scan acquisitions over the next several months. (I've already put in a few inquiries and settled one agreement that was pending before the fundraiser, but until this point I've been reaching out to institutions one at a time as I get ready to work on the associated index page.)
All told, we received 85 separate donations, including nineteen at the sponsor level. In particular I'd like to highlight our top five sponsors: MARS Swordfighting, Purpleheart Armoury, Esfinges, the Bramble Schoole of Defence, and Iron Gate Exhibition. Together, these five organizations--schools from Europe and the US, a leading HEMA supplier, an international network for female fencers, and a major HEMA event, illustrate in some small way the breadth of our community. I'll be getting in touch with them and all of the other donors to find out if you'd like your name listed in the donor list or would prefer to remain anonymous. If you know that you donated $100 or more, please decide if you'd like your organization represented in the sponsor list, and if so, prepare some sort of logo for me to potentially use.
To return to my initial refrain, the outcome of this year's fundraiser was beyond anything we ever expected. I thank all of you, and I'm sure the HEMA Alliance general council does as well (since this removes a big item from their annual budget ;)). Here's to another year of exciting manual research!
P.S. If you missed the window for the fundraiser, fear not! The donate button at the bottom of the sidebar will remain where it's always been, and donations are welcome at any time. If you donate over $100 in the next week or so while I'm still figuring out the while sponsor thing, I'll even include you in the list.
Update (29 January)
The second week of our fundraiser has now completed, and you, gentle readers, have continued to exceed our wildest expectations. We've now passed the unbelievable $2500 mark, and we still have two days to go. On the technical side (which was the reason we did this in the first place), our plans to double our server resources will go ahead without a hitch and we will also be investing in server backups and other stuff whose importance Christian assures me of. On the cool side, I've also begun making inquiries to libraries holding manuscripts of interest and will hopefully have more news on that front soon.
I must, however, modify the statement I made last week. As some of you are aware, some time ago the Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies, a component of the University of Massachusetts, offered to take us under its vast, membranous wing and host the wiki on university servers in perpetuity. This process has crept along at the glacial pace of large institutions, but at some point, probably later this year, it will go forward. This opens lots of new opportunities for us and is a development we're very excited about, but some of the details are unclear and we still don't know if they'll be able to make it entirely free for us. In the event that UMass absorbs the costs, all of the remaining funds in our technical budget will be diverted to manual acquisition. (In the event that they do not, it will be business as usual as far as our spending goes.)
However, the main reason I bring this up is that it was pointed out that UMass might not approve of having a big list of sponsors on the front page of what is ostensibly an academic resource. We'll worry about that when it comes up, but I feel I should add the caveat that while the sponsors who have contributed over $100 will have the representation I promised for the foreseeable future, it may not last the full 12 months and (several months from now) we might have to move that list to a different location on the site.
That said, let's finish strong. Every dollar we raise at this stage is a dollar that will help bring more treatises to your fingertips. Cheers!
Update (22 January)
I initially set a modest goal of $500 for this fundraiser, enough to cover our server costs and remove that burden from the Alliance. However, in one short week you've taken that goal and shattered it over your collective knee with contemptuous ease. We've thus far raised the truly staggering sum of $1688.71 (€1246.10), and will not only be able to fund our operations legitimately for the next year (and not resort to the tactics of our patron, Paulus Hector Mair), but will actually be able to double our server resources and make the site that much more responsive. We'll also have a good bit of money left over for manual acquisition projects and, indeed, have already made the first such transaction, receiving permission from the Universitätsbibliothek Salzburg to host color scans of Codex Speyer (Ms. M.I.29). I've added this set of scans to my work queue and will have them processed and posted in the next several weeks.
It's been correctly pointed out that this fundraiser has been a bit unstructured so far, and we'll have to do better about that next year. This is my first effort at crowdfunding, so any suggestions people have for improvement are most welcome. For 2014, there is only one additional elaboration that we'll be making. It was my intention to create a new section on the contributor list for people who donated to this fundraiser (excepting those who requested to remain anonymous), but people that contribute $100 or more (eight of you so far, according to the report I received on Monday) will have the opportunity to list your group or organization as an official Wiktenauer sponsor, with some sort of representation on the front page in addition to the contributor list (details to be determined, I need to know how many there are to determine the best format and layout).
So even though you've already wildly exceeded my expectations, let's keep the momentum going. Any additional funding received over the next week will be added to the manual acquisition pool, and if we can top a thousand dollars for that cause then some really interesting possibilities will start opening up.
Announcement (15 January)
As you may have suspected, operating Wiktenauer isn't free. While neither I nor sysadmin Christian receive any compensation for our efforts, the costs associated with hosting Wiktenauer come to about $500 a year. For the past year and a half, the HEMA Alliance has kindly absorbed that cost (before that it was out of pocket), but this year the Alliance general council has asked us to run a quick fundraiser to see if our community of users would be willing to cover some of it.
So from now until the end of January, you can click the link below to contribute via paypal (or click the paypal button that resides at the bottom of the sidebar, as usual).
Our initial goal is $500 to cover hosting costs for the next twelve months. If we exceed that sum, we'll set aside the additional funds for future manual acquisitions. Our current push to pair transcriptions with manuscript scans has brought us in contact with various libraries and institutions who only ask for a small consideration of €50-100 in exchange for permanent hosting rights for a full manuscript, which we're more than happy to pay when funds are available. In other cases, scans don't yet exist but the cost of commissioning those scans is low enough that it might also become feasible for us to bankroll. Funds beyond $500 will be earmarked for these projects, and we'll make announcements as they proceed. (If we vastly exceed that sum--triple or quadruple it--we'll also look into investing in additional server resources to improve the speed and responsiveness of the site.)
So if Wiktenauer is useful to you, please consider sending a couple bucks our way. If you can't afford a direct donation at this time, you can also help by passing word to other members of your schools and clubs.
Cheers, and here's to another year of manual research!