EDLIS was originally an acronym for the Exchange Dylan Lyrics Internet Service. Its exact origins are shrouded in mystery and the subject of ancient Internet folklore. Some suspect that it was started by Hugh Brown, as a way to help him organize his vast warehouses of Dylan material, but such secrets may never be revealed.
Actually, in the early days of computers, those technically inclined began to exchange Dylan lyrics on computer floppies for further study. In 1986 the first U.K. collectors came onto the Internet and the more adventuresome of these began to experiment with this new vehicle for the exchange of information. Not universally accepted, some of the exchangers stayed with their dependable floppies. Those who had become net aware adopted the EDLIS name, which emphasizes both the role of the Internet and the service aspect of their mission.
Later the rec.music.dylan UseNet Newsgroup (often called rmd by those impolite enough to obscure things by acronyms) was formed, and it was of course of interest to those in EDLIS, a loosely affiliated group of anarchists who have banded together for the purpose of making known and available the works of Bob Dylan. Although its original focus was to provide the lyrics to Dylan songs when needed, its activities have expanded into many other areas.
After graduating from Oberlin College, and receiving a graduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley, in one of those ironies of life, bibliographer Chester finds himself decades later residing in Palo Alto, near the green pastures of Stanford University, across-the-Bay arch rivals to UC Berkeley. His EDLIS archives are housed near what was originally the center of the small town of Mayfield, which was swallowed up by Palo Alto in the 1920's. This community is about 40 miles south of the magical kingdom of San Francisco. For those geographically inclined, maps of the entire SF Bay Area (100K), Palo Alto (200K), and Downtown Palo Alto (75K) are available.
Having begun work on this bibliography in 1959, it was first made available on the net with one 98K text file completed in May 1994. Conversion of the bibliography to the web and expansion of its content began in October 1995, and has now reached over 1.7 Meg of data in more than 280 files. Having completed the basic structure of the web version in May 1996, the compiler was seen emerging from behind the monitor for the first time in weeks, muttering "Okay, I've had enough, what else can you show me?"
EDLIS Bibliographical Agent
Palo Alto, CA
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Last modified: 5/2/99