Military Report on the Sinai Peninsula
Towards 'An English Fourth'
Seven Pillars of Wisdom, The Complete 1922 Text
'The Mint' and Later Writings About Service Life
Boats for the R.A.F. 1929-1935
reports and correspondence
The Forest Giant
Correspondence with Bernard and Charlotte Shaw
Correspondence with E. M. Forster and F.L. Lucas
More Correspondence with Writers
Correspondence with Edward and David Garnett
Correspondence with Henry Williamson
Translating the Bruce Rogers 'Odyssey'
Correspondence with the Political Elite 1922-1935
Check for programme updates on our News page
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T.E. Lawrence Studies
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Finally, some of my own thoughts about cookies
I'll start with an FAQ: who on earth dreamed up the name "cookies" to describe a piece of Internet technology?
According to Yahoo! Answers: 'in the early 1970s a group of programmers working at Xerox came up with an idea for storing a bit of information on another computer. They appear to have called this little chunk of information a cookie after a character from the popular (at that time) Andy Williams Show. This "Cookie Bear" character would follow Andy around asking for a cookie. Programmers can be very strange people at times. The action of tracing these little files back to their original source is also referred to as following a trail of cookie crumbs.'
So much for that. It's a pity, though, that they chose a name that might encourage some people to fear that cookies are a dastardly device for grabbing tasty chunks of private information!
Good cookies and bad cookies
Ethically, the underlying technology is neither good nor bad. It just allows a website to store a short string of letters or numbers on your computer, and to determine how long this will stay there if you don't delete it.
Other cookies are less attractive, notably "tracking cookies" that, in effect, report on the websites you visit. Tracking cookies can be used to build a profile of your interests - information that's valuable to advertisers. The more advertisers know about you, the easier it is to target you with adverts for products you might buy.
That sounds great for advertisers, and web users might be happy to avoid inappropriate advertising. But profiling based on web-use is an invasion of your privacy. Not everyone wishes to be monitored in that way. The EU now requires websites that set invasive cookies to get your consent.
There's a simple way to dispose of tracking cookies: set your browser options to clear all cookies each time you close the browser - and remember to close it whenever you aren't using it. A disadvantage is that the next time you go online, a website that doesn't require log-in can't 'remember' you. You may also notice less-targeted advertising. To many people, those inconveniences will seem a small price to pay.
Analytics cookies fall into a different class. Their purpose isn't to identify you (the information they gather is anonymous). They don't follow you to other sites. Their purpose is to help me, the website builder, understand how you and others are using this site. They show, for example, which pages are popular (maybe we should offer more pages like that?), which pages receive hardly any visits (are they adequately signposted?), and so on. With analytics I can experiment - for example by changing the site navigation - and watch to see if the result is an improvement. I can also see where things are going wrong - which might, for example, result from a broken link.
At one time, analytics cookies were a fairly reliable guide to repeat visits. If the site set a cookie on your first visit, and you didn't remove it, you were thereafter counted as a returning visitor not a new one. However, as more and more people started clearing cookies from their browsers at short intervals, the distinction between new visitors and repeat visitors became meaningless. Some people (not us!) tried to get around that by setting a different type of cookie, created by Adobe Flash. It was a while before browser developers caught up, but now Flash cookies get wiped too.
Some information contained in Analytics reports is also available from server logs. For example, the reports show what part of the world some (not all) site-visitors come from.
Websites are costly to build and maintain. For that reason almost all of them use some form of analytics. To me, this is plainly beneficial. I'd far rather visit a website that works well than a site that is ill-designed, where I can't easily find what I'm looking for.
I have been following the cookie debate with some interest. The EU law, as drafted, seems unduly heavy-handed in relation to analytics cookies. According to media reports, both the British and French Governments are adopting a softer approach to analytics (which of course they use on their own websites). Maybe in due course the law-makers will catch up.
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Considering the tastefulness of the physical design of the Castle Hill volumes - which undoubtedly would have pleased Lawrence, who was a devotee of William Morris's idea of 'the book beautiful' - and the spare tastefulness of their editing, and especially their making available important but otherwise hard-to-access texts, this is a project for which Lawrence scholars will indeed be grateful now and in years to come. [Professor Stephen E. Tabachnick, reviewing Castle Hill Press books in English Literature in Transition]
. . . I couldn't be more pleased. The attention to detail, and conception of this edition, are wonderful . . .
I cannot praise too highly the quality of the production, with exceptional clarity and beauty of print, the erudition of editing, and the excellent on-line service. Important correspondence in beautiful books - the perfect combination.
. . .Excellence in research and editing, and magnificently produced books in superb bindings. Last but not least, efficient and friendly service, with books posted in rock solid packaging.
. . . These books are a pleasure to own and read . . .. . . a quite invaluable job in publishing (very beautifully . . .) many of the writings of TEL which hitherto have been available only in manuscript form in museums, libraries or private collections, or in out-of-print books which are very hard to obtain.
An excellent set of publications that are beautifully edited and produced. A wonderful addition to my library and to any library.