Ignatius Press ECF CD-ROM?

Does anyone have experience using the “Early Church Fathers” CD-ROM available from Ignatius Press? If so, would you care to comment on it?

Also, any comments on using it compared to the equivalent material in either 1) other software 2) the printed volumes? (It seems like some of the book dealers are offering the printed volumes at reduced prices.)

Thanks! A.H.F.

The 38-volume collection that the Ignatius CD is based on (published 1819-1893) is long out of copyright protection. CD’s of the contents may be purchased very inexpensively (or freely copied and distributed). I bought one on eBay for three dollars. There are also online sites (such as ccel.org/fathers2) that offer this same information (for free) which you can read online or download as text/HTML/Acrobat files. You can (legally) obtain the entire collection on most file sharing services.

The CD I bought is a bunch of text files with an HTML index (so you can view/read in a browser if you prefer, or use a word processor). It has no built-in search ability, but you can use your own computer’s file search tools to find relevant data (the same way you would content-search for any other type of document on your machine).

The content includes the original publisher’s introductions, prefaces and footnotes for the individual writings, many of which bear a distinctly protestant overtone (the writings were compiled and distributed by a protestant publishing house). The quality of some translations is considered poor by more modern standards, but the publisher used the best available at the time.

Ignatius has included a search engine (with hit ranking) as a value-added component to the freely available content. It is up to the buyer to decide if a search engine is worth the $60 they charge for the CD.

If you want to sit in a chair before a computer screen and read portions of the fathers for long periods of time, then that is your choice. As for myself I rather get a set of Jurgens 3 volume book set on what the fathers said concerning Catholic doctrine and curl up in my living room recliner and read from a printed volume. I never liked staring at a PC monitor reading for a great length of time.

                                  If you buy the whole 38 volume book set then you will put out some money. But are you going to really read each and every volume? What do you want them for? If you want just Catholic answers on Catholic doctrine just get the 3 volume book set of William Jurgens. That's my advice.
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