Since 1977, Loch Ness Productions has amassed what is probably the world's foremost accumulation of data about the planetarium and digital dome theater community. We currently maintain information on more than 4,000 theaters — about forty percent in the United States, the others in more than 70 other countries.
All this information, and much more, is available to you — in the LNP DOME THEATER COMPENDIUM. Check out the PREVIEWS! links below to see how it works.
It's a collection of HTML files and several subfolders of small graphics, suitable for viewing in any modern frames-capable, CSS-compliant Web browser. There are no programs to install; you simply point your Web browser to the cover page, and it takes over from there. It features three index columns — Locations, People, and Projectors — as well as our popular statistics summaries.
The files require less than 10 MB of disk space; we gather them into a small (~2 MB) zip archive, for easy transmission as an e-mail attachment.
We currently make the LNP DOME THEATER COMPENDIUM available in two different "packages":
|LNP DOME THEATER COMPENDIUM BROWSER|
|The LNP DOME THEATER COMPENDIUM BROWSER is our compilation of both classic and fulldome theaters. There are more than 4,000 locations.|
|LNP FULLDOME THEATER COMPENDIUM SUBSCRIPTION|
The LNP FULLDOME THEATER COMPENDIUM SUBSCRIPTION focuses on fulldome theaters only. There are more than 1,500 locations.
In addition to the Browser, it includes a space-filled, fixed-length-record database file in DBF form, as well as a Excel XLS spreadsheet. There is one entry per fulldome projector system (so there are a few duplicated rows, for those institutions with multiple fulldome systems). Only theater information is included in these databases, not personal names and email addresses.
Here's how the subscription part works: When we run the program that updates our online Web listings, we generate a new version of the database file, and it gets uploaded along with the public online updates. This happens, on average, every 3-4 weeks or so. We provide you with a private URL, valid for a calendar year's worth of downloads. You can grab a current database file whenever you want. At the start of the new year, we change the name/URL of the zip file, and send an e-mail asking if you want to renew the subscription. If so, you get the new URL and are good to go for another year.
Isn't there a printed book version of the Compendium?
There once was, but it has been discontinued. The last edition was printed in November 2002.
How often is the LNP DOME THEATER COMPENDIUM updated?
During the normal everyday course of doing business at Loch Ness Productions, we're continually making changes and updates to our database. When we receive an order for the Compendium, we will usually generate an entire new set of Compendium pages at that time! So the data will always be current, to the best of our knowledge, often to within a matter of minutes.
We've priced the Compendium so reasonably low that you'll be tempted to order frequent updates. In the left corner of the cover page is the creation date, to help you decide when it's time.
Can I get the data electronically, like a spreadsheet?
SHORT ANSWER: If you're interested in only fulldome theaters, our FULLDOME THEATER COMPENDIUM SUBSCRIPTION may suit your needs.
LONG ANSWER: The LNP DOME THEATER COMPENDIUM does not exist as a single spreadsheet or database. It is a compilation of data from different sources.
We use the relational database program dBASE III+ (yes, a DOS program). The address information is in one database, projector equipment in a second, people in a third, the text blocks and URLs in yet more databases. Each database is indexed, and records are linked using unique locater codes. This allows us to link indefinite numbers of records — such as attaching multi-person staffs to single institutions or multiple projectors to single domes, for example — without the overhead of duplicated data in each.
When people ask for our data in electronic form, what they usually want is either 1) a mailing list so they can pitch some product or service to the planetarium or planetarian, or 2) a data set from which marketing analyses can be run for commercial or research intent. We do make available a subset of the information in our databases to parties we perceive as beneficial to the planetarium community — sometimes even our competition.
We can make available the "address block" in database form. Scroll down for details about which items are included. For those wanting information extending beyond what's needed for mailings, you'll have to contact us about doing custom database programming for you.
We maintain more than 1,700 U.S. and 2,300 international theater entries. We charge $170 for the U.S. mailing list and $230 for the international mailing list. That works out to about US$0.10/entry. We do no advance culling — you get all the entries.
dBASE III+ files are space-filled, not delimited, databases. Most database and spreadsheet programs can import .DBF format files. The structure of each record is detailed below. We store the files into zip archives for transmission as an e-mail attachment. U.S. and International combined are usually less than 200K zipped; they expand to approximately 450K each when unzipped.
Structure for dBASE III+ databases:
Field Field Name Type Width Dec 1 PLT_NAME Character 30 2 INST_NAME Character 30 3 ADDRESS Character 30 4 CITY Character 20 5 ST_PROV Character 17 6 COUNTRY Character 30 7 POSTALCODE Character 10 8 PHONE Character 19 9 PHONDESC Character 10 10 PHONE2 Character 19 11 PHONDESC2 Character 10 12 PHONE3 Character 19 13 PHONDESC3 Character 10 14 EMAILBOX Character 60 15 PLT_CLASS Character 15 16 GIFTSHOP Character 8 17 PUB_SHOWS Character 12 18 OPENED Character 4
I want to send a mailing to the "primary contact" people. Are names and emails included in the spreadsheet?
No. Only the fields you see listed above are columns in the spreadsheet.
There are several reasons for this, both technical and philosophical. The technical — we list directors, assistants, secretaries, laserists, administrators, department heads, whomever. A "primary contact" could be any or many of those.
But it's the many-to-one relationship that makes spreadsheets less than optimal for this kind of thing. There are some institutions that operate several fulldome systems. Most don't. So either we create one entry/row for each institution that has multiple systems listed and most of the data fields are blank, or we make one record for each fulldome system, and then live with the duplicated institution data fields. But then there are institutions with many staffers, and some that have one or less staff people. If we duplicated projector and dome data for every staffperson, the database wouldn't be useful for demographic study. Trying to incorporate such many-to-one relationships into a two-dimensional row/column format of a spreadsheet can't be done efficiently.
So we don't include personal names and emails when we sell the LNP Fulldome Theater Compendium Subscription. Yes, we do publish them on the Web site as you've seen, but we're not selling them. We're not even monetizing the site with ads. For the most part, planetarian's names and emails are listed on their own planetarium's Web site anyway.
Now if you did want to blast email to everyone, that's being a spammer, and we definitely don't want that for our customers. We never want to be accused of selling their names/emails to spammers. So we just forestall that by simply saying we don't sell names.
Are the addresses CASS-certified?
No. We know about the USPS CASS-certification guidelines for conforming mailing addresses, but have chosen not to format our data in that manner. We think "123 Second Circle Street, Suite A" looks a lot better in our Compendium than "123 2D CR ST STE A". At Loch Ness Productions, we usually send our mailings first class anyway, so we don't use pre-sort discounts, bulk rates and such.
What's the difference between the LNP DOME THEATER COMPENDIUM and what's listed online?
The LNP DOME THEATER COMPENDIUM is the biggie, the full Monty, the complete listing of all the theaters worldwide. It's a commercial product. There are more than 4,000 locations. It features three index columns (Locations, People, and Projectors); the online listings provide only one, Locations.
The LNP DOME THEATER COMPENDIUM ONLINE! is a subset — only those classic theaters who have licensed Loch Ness Productions shows, or have submitted update forms. There are fewer than 300 locations, though, as more theaters convert to fulldome.
The LNP FULLDOME THEATER COMPENDIUM ONLINE! is also a subset — only those theaters with fulldome video capability. There are more than 1,500 locations.
The latter two include information about Loch Ness Productions shows that theaters have licensed; the commercial products do not.
Online, there is one selector column: theater LOCATIONS.
In the commercial product, there are two additional Index Selectors: staff NAMES and PROJECTOR systems. Selecting a link displays the corresponding theater entry, just like LOCATIONS does. They look like this: