Friends of the SEP Society
Frequently Asked Questions
* Is the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy still freely available?

General Issues with PDF versions

G.1 The PDF version won't open or looks damaged in my PDF viewer. Can you fix it?
G.2 What advantages do the PDF versions have over the HTML versions?
G.3 What are the disadvantages of the PDF versions?
G.4 On my computer, it is difficult to select text from a single column when the PDF is in two-column format. How do I electronically select text in your PDFs?
G.5 How do I cite these PDFs?

Viewing/Download Issues with PDF versions

V.1 I am a Friends Society member and when I log in, preview a PDF, and click on “US Letter”, “A4”, or “Single-Column” to download an entry, nothing happens. What has gone wrong?
V.2 I want to view the Sample Entry. But when I drag the image of the sample entry to my desktop, it is only one page, and prints very small. How do I get the Sample Entry?
V.3 How do I view these PDFs on my Kindle?
V.4 How do I view these PDFs on my iPhone?

Access to PDF versions

A.1 Is every entry in the SEP available in PDF format?
A.2 I am an Associate (or Student) Member. What does it mean to say that I can download up to 5 entries within a 24-hour period?
A.3 What if I inadvertently delete or lose a PDF version I downloaded?
A.4 How frequently do you generate new PDFs?
A.5 What if the author changes the entry after I download it?
A.6 The entry on X is published at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/X/, but I can't find the PDF at the Friends Society webpages. Where is it?

Distributing PDF versions

D.1 May I email the PDFs I download to friends or colleagues?
D.2 I am teaching a class. May I put a PDF version in a course reader for my students?
D.3 I am an SEP author. May I email the PDF version of my own entry to colleagues or put the PDF version a web server (e.g., link the PDF version into the list of publications on my home page)?

Membership Administration

M.1 How will I recognize the membership dues transaction on my credit card statement?
M.2 Why can't you respond to voicemail as quickly as to email?
M.3 Are my membership dues tax deductible?
M.4 Why can't I join the Friends of the SEP Society by way of a email message, phone/voicemail message, or letter that contains my credit card number?
M.5 I don't have a credit card, but I do have a PayPal account. Can I join the Friends of the SEP Society using my PayPal account?

Answers to Questions

* Is the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy still freely available?

Answer: Yes, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is still a freely available, open access dynamic reference work and the project leaders remain committed to open access. The HTML versions of our entries are accessible to everyone on the Internet, at the website:

http://plato.stanford.edu/

Readers can be assured that the content of the PDFs is freely available in HTML.


General Issues with PDF versions

G.1 The PDF version won't open or looks damaged in my PDF viewer. Can you fix it?

Answer:


G.2 What advantages do the PDF versions have over the HTML versions?

Answer:


G.3 What are the disadvantages of the PDF versions?

Answer:


G.4 On my computer, it is difficult to select text from a single column when the PDF is in two-column format. How do I electronically select text in your PDFs?

Answer: We're not sure how to do this in Adobe Reader on a PC. But on a Mac, when viewing the file in Preview.app, hold down the Option key and then Select the text with your mouse.


G.5 How do I cite these PDF versions of SEP entries?

Answer: This is covered on our PDF Citation page.


Viewing/Download Issues with PDF Versions

V.1 I am a Friends Society member and when I log in, preview a PDF, and click on “US Letter”, “A4”, or “Single-Column” to download an entry, nothing happens. What has gone wrong?

Answer: You either have to (1) figure out where your browser is storing the files it downloads, or (2) explicitly tell your browser where to put the downloaded file:

  1. Here is how to figure out where Firefox, for example, is storing the files it downloads. On a Windows machine, use the Firefox Tools→Options menu and look in the Downloads section: if the radio button for "Save files to" is selected, note the location of the download folder. Look for the file you downloaded in that folder. On a Mac, open the Firefox Preferences, select the General tab and look in the Downloads section: if the radio button for "Save files to" is selected, note the location of the download folder. Look for the file you downloaded in that folder. Other browsers have similar options for discovering/setting the Downloads folder.
  2. To explicitly tell your browser where to put the downloaded file, right-click (Windows) or control-click (Mac) on the “US Letter” (“A4”, “Single-Column”) link when you are previewing an entry, and your browser should present you with an option which, when selected, will prompt you to name a place on your hard drive where it should store the downloaded file.

Note that some browsers can be configured to display the PDF directly in the browser window itself. In that case, you will need to use your browser's SAVE or SAVE AS menu option (in the File menu) to save the file to your hard drive.


V.2 I want to view the Sample Entry. But when I drag the image of the sample entry to my computer Desktop, the file is only one page in length, and it prints as a very small image. How do I get the Sample Entry?

Answer: The problem you are experiencing is that you are attempting to open the image of our sample entry (by dragging it to the Desktop) instead of attempting to download/view the sample entry itself. To download/view the entry itself, you should click on the image of the sample entry, not drag it to the Desktop. Depending on how your browser is configured, the browser will either display the PDF in the browser window, or save it to your hard drive (see V.1 if nothing happens). Alternatively, you may click on the following link:

https://leibniz.stanford.edu/previews/sample/turing-machine-sample.pdf

V.3 How do I view these PDFs on my Kindle?

Answer: There are at least two ways to view our PDFs on your Kindle.

  1. Direct Transfer from Your Computer. Use your computer and web browser to log in to the Friends of the SEP Society website and navigate to the entry you want to read. Download the PDF by selecting the “Single-Column format” option, and let the download complete to your computer's Desktop or default download directory. The PDF will show up with a filename like “entryname_sc.pdf” (the “_sc” indicating it is in single-column format). You can rename it to “entryname.pdf” if you like. Then plug your Kindle into your computer via the USB cable that came with it. When your Kindle's disk mounts on your computer, select it and navigate into the “documents” directory. Drag and drop entryname.pdf into that directory. Then unmount your Kindle from your computer and press its Home button. You should see entryname.pdf at the top of your list of Kindle documents (unless the default ordering of “most recent first” has been changed). At this point you can select it (i.e., place the cursor under it) and click the 5-way toggle switch on the Kindle to activate your selection. However, many people will find the that when the page displays in portrait mode on your Kindle, the print will be rather small. This can be easily fixed however. Simply click on the Kindle “change fontsize” icon, which is identifiable by the two uppercase letter “A”s adjacent to one another, with one larger than the other. That will bring up the option to put the Kindle into landscape mode. Once you do that, you should find that the font size of the SEP's PDF in landscape mode is large enough to read easily. Though you won't be able to see an entire page in landscape mode:
    • the Kindle Next Page button will advance the view down the page, until you reach the end, at which point it will advance to the next page.
    • the Kindle Previous Page button will move the view up the page, until you reach the beginning, at which point it will return to the previous page.
  2. Mail the PDF to Amazon/Kindle. You can send PDFs to your Kindle as follows. Click on the Kindle Home button, and then click on the Menu button while on the Home page. Scroll down and click on the Settings function. One of the categories on the Settings page is the Device E-mail. If you already have that configured, you can mail the PDF to the email address displayed on the “E-mail” line. Otherwise, follow the directions: log on to the page at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle) that allows you to configure a “kindle.com” email address for your Kindle. Then mail the PDF to that address. When you Home page reloads, the SEP entry PDF should show up.

V.4 How do I view these PDFs on my iPhone?

Answer: There are at least three ways to view our PDFs on your iPhone.

  1. Use Mobile Safari. Start up Safari on your iPhone, navigate to the Friends of the SEP Society page, and log in. Then find and select the SEP entry title you want to view. When you get to the Preview page, select the option of downloading the PDF in Single-Column format.
  2. Use Mail. First, on your computer, use your web browser to log in to the Friends of the SEP Society website and navigate to the entry you want to read. Download the PDF by selecting the “Single-Column format” option, and let the download complete to your computer's Desktop or default download directory. The PDF will show up with a filename like “entryname_sc.pdf” (the “_sc” indicates it is in single-column format). You can rename it to “entryname.pdf” if you like. Start up your mail program and send a message to yourself, with the PDF you downloaded as an attachment. Shutdown your mail program, and now go to your iPhone and start up your iPhone's email program. Once the mail you just sent from your computer to yourself has been transmitted to your mail server and delivered, it will be downloaded to your iPhone's mail program when its Inbox is updated. Select the message, and note that it includes an icon that indicates a PDF is attached. Tap on the icon, and that will open the PDF on your iPhone. If you turn your iPhone so that you are reading in landscape mode, you can expand the text (using pinch open and close) so that it is readable in landscape mode. Scroll down in the usual way.
  3. Use a File Storage app. If you have an iPhone app that allows you to store files on your phone, you can simply follow the instructions for that app which explain how load the PDF on your phone and store it.

Access to PDF versions

A.1 Is every entry in the SEP available in PDF format?

Answer:


A.2 I am an Associate (or Student) Member. What does it mean to say that I can download up to 5 entries within a 24-hour period?

Answer: We mean that you can download up to 5 different entries within a rolling 24-hour period. Here is a table which explains this by showing what happens if you attempt to download PDFs over a certain time period:

Entry Title Time Download Comment
Entry A March 22, 8:00am Allowed Under the limit.
Entry B March 22, 10:00am Allowed Under the limit.
Entry C March 22, 2:00pm Allowed Under the limit.
Entry D March 22, 4:00pm Allowed Under the limit.
Entry E March 22, 6:00pm Allowed Under the limit.
Entry F March 22, 8:00pm Not Allowed Over the limit.
Entry F March 23, 8:00am Allowed Under the limit. At 8:00am, the number of entries downloaded over the past 24 hours drops from 5 to 4, since entry A no longer counts. So you can download another entry.
Entry G March 23, 9:00am Not Allowed Over the limit. At 9:00am, the number of entries downloaded in the past 24 hours is 5, given your activity at 8:00am this morning.
Entry G March 23, 10:00am Allowed Under the limit. At 10:00am, the number of entries downloaded over the past 24 hours drops from 5 to 4, since entry B no longer counts. So you can download another entry.

So the download limit of “5 different entries in 24 hours” for Student and Associate Members doesn't mean 5 downloads within some fixed 24-hour period every day (such as between 12:01am to midnight each day) and it doesn't mean that 24 hours after the point at which you started downloading PDFs you can download another 5 different entries. Instead it is a rolling limit that is based on your activity over the preceding 24 hours.


A.3 What if I inadvertently delete or lose a PDF version I downloaded?

Answer: You are entitled to download that entry at any time during the year for which your membership dues have been paid, unless you have reached a daily download limit that may apply to your membership level. If the latter case, then you may have to wait up to 24 hours to get a new copy.

Example: Suppose a Student Member or Associate Member has downloaded entry A on Day 1, and on Day 2, she downloads 5 different entries B–F within 24 hours, thereby reaching her 24 hour limit. Suppose further that on Day 2, she inadvertently deletes her copy of entry A, which she downloaded on Day 1. Since she has reached her daily limit, she cannot download another copy of entry A until 24 hours after she downloaded entry B! As explained in the answer to the previous question, our daily limits govern activity over the past 24 hours. Thus, 24 hours after she downloaded entry B, the number of entries she downloaded over the past 24 hours drops from 5 to 4, allowing her at that point to download another copy of entry A.

A.4 How frequently do you generate new PDFs?

Answer: When a new SEP Archive is made each quarter (March 21, June 21, September 21, and December 21), we create PDF versions of the entries that have been published since the last archive and new PDF versions of SEP entries that have changed since the last archive. If you opt in to our quarterly email alerts, you will be notified once every quarter about the PDFs you've downloaded that are now out of date.


A.5 What if the author changes the entry after I download it?

Answer: When authors update, improve, revise, or otherwise modify their entries, an updated PDF version will be created when the next quarterly SEP Archive is made. You can download the updated PDF version of the modified entry as soon as it becomes available in the next quarterly Archive. Thus, you may have to wait up to 3 months (see the answer to the previous question). If your membership has expired when that Archive is made, however, you will need to renew your membership.


A.6 The entry on X is published at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/X/, but I can't find the PDF at the Friends Society webpages. Where is it?

Answer: The most probable reason you can't find the PDF for the entry on X is that it was published after the most recent quarterly SEP Archive and so won't be available in PDF until after the next quarterly SEP Archive is made. So you may have to wait up to 3 months for the PDF to become available. However, if you can determine that the entry on X was published before the most recent quarterly SEP Archive (the "First published" indication is at the top of every entry), please write to us and let us know. Our systems may need to be corrected.


Distributing PDF versions

D.1 May I email the PDFs I download to friends or colleagues?

Answer: Sharing copies of these PDFs by emailing them to your friends or colleagues is prohibited as it would undermine the incentive for them to join the Friends of the SEP Society. It would also violate our exclusive license to distribute entries over the Internet (see our Copyright Notice and the Fair Use clause). Please note, though, that all of our content is freely available in HTML on the web and you are welcome to send your friends and colleagues a link to the HTML version of the entry at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.


D.2 I am teaching a class. May I put a PDF version in a course reader for my students?

Answer:


D.3 I am an SEP author. May I email the PDF version of my own entry to colleagues or put the PDF version on a web server (e.g., link the PDF version into the list of publications on my home page)?

Answer: Distributing copies of the PDF version of your entry electronically, whether by emailing it to colleagues or by putting it on your website, is prohibited as it would undermine the incentive for your colleagues to join the Friends of the SEP Society. It would also violate the exclusive license you gave the SEP to distribute your entry over the Internet (see the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's Copyright Notice and the Friends of the SEP Society's Copyright Notice). As an SEP author, however, you are free to print the PDF version of your own entry and mail the printout to a colleague. (You retain copyright for print publication and distribution.) Since your entry is freely available in HTML on the web (at http://plato.stanford.edu/ and 3 official mirror sites), you are welcome to send the URL of the HTML version of your entry to your colleagues and to create a link to it on your home page. You may also create a link to the preview page of the PDF version at

https://leibniz.stanford.edu/friends/members/preview/<entry-directory>/ , e.g.,
https://leibniz.stanford.edu/friends/members/preview/turing-machine/

Membership Administration

M.1 How will I recognize the membership dues transaction on my credit card statement?

Answer: You will see a line that says “STANFORD SEP FRIENDS”. We are required to have the word ‘Stanford’ in the transaction record and we can't use the full name “Friends of the SEP Society” because there is a 22-character limit (including spaces). So we have had to compromise on the text that will show up on your credit card statement.


M.2 Why can't you respond to voicemail as quickly as to email?

Answer:


M.3 Are my membership dues tax deductible?

Answer: Unfortunately, they are not. Membership dues are quite low and no part is tax deductible. We welcome members of the Friends of the SEP Society to supplement their dues with a tax deductible donation to the SEP. Please visit our Make a Donation page for more information.


M.4 Why can't I join the Friends of the SEP Society by way of a email message, phone/voicemail message or letter that contains my credit card number?

Answer: Stanford University's policy, which complies with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), is that no credit card information can be stored on our computer systems or in our offices. Thus, any correspondence by email message, phone/voicemail message, or letter containing a credit card number must be destroyed. We have therefore arranged for your credit card transaction to take place between a secure CyberSource gateway and the bank that holds the Friends of the SEP Society's account. Our transactions policies are monitored by Stanford University's Credit Card Merchant Services, which makes sure that the Friends of the SEP Society is PCI DSS compliant. The Payment Card Industry takes this to be the most secure method of payment.


M.5 I don't have a credit card, but I do have a PayPal account. Can I join the Friends of the SEP Society using my PayPal account?

Answer: Stanford University electronic commerce policies prohibit us from using a PayPal account to conduct financial transactions, such as the collection of membership dues, with potential members of the Friends of the SEP Society. Stanford prefers that all transactions be conducted directly between credit-card issuing institutions and Stanford's bank. Longstanding familiarity with such systems makes it easier to handle issues that arise and diagnose problems when things go wrong. However, we should mention that even though you don't have a credit card, you can use a VISA or MasterCard debit card. Those in countries outside the U.S. can use such debit cards as long as the issuing financial institution allows foreign transactions. (Many international members of the Friends of the SEP Society have paid membership dues this way.)