A couple of weeks ago I downloaded a trial copy of the latest version of [Filemaker Pro](http://filemaker.com/) — there is no plain Filemaker version, so I don’t know why they keep the “Pro” distinction — to work with the Project Bamboo scholarly narrative corpus. It came in handy and actually helped me discern a few patterns that I intuited but could not grasp readily. (See my previous post on [One Digital Difference][odd] for more.)
I went on to create two more databases with the app: one to contain my *vita*, which struck me as a better way to build a complex document, and one in which to keep research notes. I built the *vita* database both as a way to build my database skills but also because one gets so many requests for a vita, but often with particular information highlighted or, in some cases, with only certain information provided.
For example, I regularly get asked to participate in grants written for the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, which only wants two-page vitas. I am going up for graduate faculty review this year, and they only want to see the last five years of activity, and they prefer to see peer-reviewed activities highlighted.
Now, I can do that by hand in a document or I can let a database build the document from scratch for me. *Hmmmm … which will I choose?*
But Filemaker is not cheap. I had asked the College to purchase it for me, but as anyone in Louisiana Higher Education knows, there is no money. (And, it turns out, there will be no money for many years to come.) I can cry about it, or I can suck it up and regard Filemaker as an investment not only in saving my time in the future, but also in my intellectual/professional development. (And one with less cognitive overhead, and chances of cognitive overload, than my forays into teaching myself programming — *I will learn how to code one day!*
So, here are prices for Filemaker Pro:
* The [Academic Superstore](http://academicsuperstore.com) has it for $184.95. (I am not sure what the shipping charges, if any, will be.)
* Amazon.com has the full version for $269.99. (I would go for the upgrade version, but I’m not sure that I have a qualifying upgrade product and some of the comments lead me to believe that this is more complicated than I care to explore.)
* The Apple Education Store has it for $179.95 with free shipping, but they will charge me sales tax of $14.37.
Ugh. What I wouldn’t give for my university to have a really cool bookstore that negotiated great prices for faculty, students, and staff. In an ideal world, this wouldn’t be this hard, and this expensive.