How can we ensure that electronic literature and criticism
count in the world of publish or perish?
do we do peer review and ensure high standards on web publications?
do we handle new issues such as electronic rights and distribution?
Fytton Rowland is a Lecturer at Loughborough University.
His main teaching areas are: Publishing; Information Sources
in Science and Technology. His research interests are Scholarly
publishing, Electronic publishing (human and economic aspects),
Computer assisted learning in information science and librarianship,
and Distance learning for information literacy skills.
for Digital Discourse and Culture at Virginia Tech. The
CDDC's current project, the Virginia Tech Press seeks to re-envision
academic publishing and the goals of publishing in general in
order to bring about a new awareness of the broader bounds of
scholarship that is emerging with new technologies.
B. Newby, Assistant Professor in the School of Information
and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill. One of his favorite volunteer activities is his work as
the main FTP manager, mailing list maintainer and auxiliary
tech guru for Project
Gutenberg. This is a free collection of thousands of electronic
texts, including most of the world's great literature.
following is a list of related links to accompany your reading:
Start log: Sunday, September 16, 2001 2:51:53 pm CDT
says, "Heya maz"
sticks his tongue out at the archivist
smiles quietly in greeting to all assembled
Oldham says, "Hi Maz"
the archivist sticks his tongue back at Greg and shakes ink
all over him...
says, "The chat will be recorded and logged like the rest of
the trAce/ELO chats and will be up on the trAce
site and the ELO
Oldham says, "Let's dive in, eye goggles available for all"
Oldham says, "Hi Everdeen"
says, "Hello all"
says, "Greetings EVD:)"
says, "Hi Everdeen, mez maz, helen, all"
says, "Greetings mez :)"
says, "Shall we start?"
says, "We are going to talk about electronic literature electronic
publishing and academia today... shall we start with introductions?"
Hunsinger says, "Ok"
says, "Just jump in and introduce yourselves..."
says, "We have three special guests: Gregory B. Newby, Assistant
Professor in the School of Information and Library Science,
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. One of his favorite
volunteer activities is his work as the main FTP manager, mailing
list maintainer and auxiliary tech guru for Project
Gutenberg. This is a free collection of thousands of electronic
texts, including most of the world's great literature."
Newby says, "I'm Greg Newby. I'm a prof. at UNC-Chapel Hill.
I'm also 2nd in command at Project Gutenberg. I've done papers
and presentations on electronic publishing, and am also interested
in hacker ethics, information retrieval, and community media."
Newby waves to everyone
Oldham says, "Hi, I'm Andrew, a writer, who works in real time
(whatever that is), I lecture and come across many writers that
view the web and e-publishing as something totally beneath them."
Oldham says, "They are wrong...very wrong."
says, "My name is Inna, I'm from Russia and I'm a sociologist.
I study different electronic media, esp. hypertext."
says, "Jeremy Hunsinger representing Center
for Digital Discourse and Culture at Virginia Tech. The
CDDC's current project, the Virginia Tech Press seeks to re-envision
academic publishing and the goals of publishing in general in
order to bring about a new awareness of the broader bounds of
scholarship that is merging with new technologies."
Hunsinger says, "Jeremy Hunsinger-Center for Digital Discourse
and Culture, working on establishing an electronic academic
says, "I'm Helen Whitehead, from trAce
, writer, editor, promoter of digital writing at Nottingham
is an international net.wurk artist [see: http://www.hotkey.net.au/~netwurker]
and avataristic author of the networked "Mezangelle" system
says, "Karen, author and co-founder of Puff
Adder Books, epublisher.""
says, "And I think DR Fytton Rowland is coming. He is a Lecturer
at Loughborough University. His main teaching areas are: Publishing;
Information Sources in Science and Technology. His research
interests are Scholarly publishing, Electronic publishing (human
and economic aspects), Computer assisted learning in information
science and librarianship, and Distance learning for information
literacy skills. "
says, "Deena, I believe I used to work with DR Rowland in a
previous life as editor of an online chemistry abstracts service"
says, "Terrific, Dr. Rowland should feel right at home..."
Newby says, "Fytton did a chapter for a book on Scholarly Publishing
I edited a few years ago..."
says, "Can you give a name of that book, Greg Newby?"
Newby says, "Inna: 'Scholarly Publishing, the electronic frontier.
Edited by Peek & Newby" '
says, "Thanks :) Greg Newby"
says, "Feathers, and I'm a great fan of Project Gutenberg. I'm
here to learn, so if you don't mind, I'll just sit over in the
corner and listen..."
says, "Feathers, all feel free to jump in, it is great when
we have questions and answers and fun..."
says, "Pauline Masurel, fiction writer, only real contact with
matters academic is as a consumer of continuing education."
says, "Nice to meet all you, people."
says, "Everdeen Tree, former librarian, Latin teacher/ now webwriter."
says, "I'm Deena
Larsen, confirmed hypertext addict and nominal chat host--thrilled
to be with all you impressive people today!"
says, "I have been working in the provision of online information
since 1984 and am now as interested in online literature and
smiles at Helen...chemistry and law were really the first fields
says, "Greg, can you fill us in on Project Gutenberg and what
you are up to lately?" Deena shares a URL for Project Gutenberg
Newby says, "PG update: We have nearly 4000 etexts, and are
now doing 100 per month. It's mostly literature, and mostly
pre-1923, so it's in the public domain in the US. We've done
mostly plain ASCII text, but for the past few years have done
many more in non-English. Also lots of markup -- now, we've
done XML and HTML books, as well as some other less well-known
formats (like Folio)."
Newby says, "That's the current status, except for the organizational
says, "Greg, how do you decide what to transcribe and who transcribes
Newby says, "We've hundreds of active volunteers, and maybe
a thousand who are not-so-active. They choose what book they
want to convert to an etext."
says, "Is it copyright free for teaching purposes?"
Hunsinger says, "I use it frequently in my classes, Helen."
Newby says, "We help with clearing copyright on all etexts.
We ONLY publish stuff we're allowed to under US copyright law.
Generally, this is stuff in the public domain (hence, pre-1923).
We also have some stuff that's copyrighted, but the author has
given us permission (like Bruce Sterling's Hacker Crackdown)"
says, "And who decides how to mark-up?"
Newby says, "The volunteers decide how to mark up. We're pushing
XML now, but the standards are still emerging. We're doing many
more HTML than previously."
Newby says, "Also, we STILL try to a plain ASCII version for
everything. There are essentially no exceptions to this."
says, "I think that most of e-literature is still like paper
analogs concerning ASCII."
says, "So this really exemplifies the idea that literature that
is liked and loved is the lit that survives -- someone has to
choose to preserve it?"
says, "I am studying copyright on the Web in online courses
for a University project."
Newby says, "Helen, it's copyright free. However, there's a
license at the top of every etext that says basically that you
can't use the PG trademark except under certain circumstances."
says, "Greg, that sounds good... always looking for good stuff
to teach writing online with (sorry bad grammar)"
Newby says, "Helen, copyright is fascinating and disappointing!
Michael Hart and I are experts in copyright, of necessity."
Hunsinger says, "Really, I've done some research on intellectual
property in online education"
says, "Jeremy, Greg, we will have to communicate about copyright
Oldham says, "How long is the average process of conversion
Newby says, "Andrew, it varies but usually takes at least a
few weeks of work. Many volunteers work for months on one etext.
Luckily, we have many volunteers. Also, many work together --
one person might prefer scanning, while another prefers proofreading."
says, "Jeremy could you tell us a bit about the Center for Digital
Discourse and Culture (CDDC)?" Deena shares a URL <http://www.cddc.vt.edu/index2.html>.
Hunsinger says, "About the CDDC, the CDDC is a primarily online
research center that is targeted toward the changes brought
about by the advent of digitalization. In that regard we have
worked extensively in our home environment, academia, sort of
as a test case of transformation. Some of the things we've done
are reproduce academic review systems in an online format, etc."
says, "Jeremy, how do you reproduce that academic review system?"
Hunsinger says, "We modeled it upon double and single blind
review systems, so people would have a recognizable model that
they could work with."
Oldham says, "Copyright is a minefield"
says, "Greg, Jeremy, how do issues of copyright affect scholarly
and academic writing where there is a small but prestigious
audience? Do copyright issues play out differently in the university
setting than in the fiction/lit setting?"
Hunsinger says, "Well copyright has changed significantly in
regards to publishing and we are due for another major change
in the near future"
Newby says, "Deena, copyright is the biggest single impediment
to progress in electronic scholarly publishing. Not that there
IS copyright, but that it creates an environment where content
owners are loathe to make their materials available."
Oldham says, "What response has this had?"
says, "Greg, what are any incentives to making this material
Newby says, "Incentives to making PG available, Deena? OR any
electronic published work?"
says, "Any electronic published work..."
says, "Hi Margaret, we are discussing copyright issues and emerging
issues at the Center for Digital Discourse and Culture..."
Newby says, "Academic libraries are some of the biggest consumers
of electronic information, yet are hindered (usually by their
own structure) from being more active in shaping copyright and
Hunsinger says, "Very true Greg."
says, "Do you think libraries and writers are on "opposite sides"
Oldham says, "They always are on opposite sides."
Hunsinger says, "I think libraries are on the same side as writers
have traditionally been"
Newby says, "Jeremy, one thing that's really cool about CDDC
and some similar projects is that they're keeping the most important
thing of publishing -- peer review."
Newby says, "One of the criticisms against PG is that we don't
always work for the highest quality materials, since we instead
rely on volunteers and what's available."
says, "And what is your answer, Greg Newby?"
says, "Yes, I would like to touch on reputations with electronic
publishing--many folks have said that in the publish or perish
world, electronic publishing does not count. Is this still as
true as it was a few years ago? "
Newby says, "Incentives to making electronically published works
available are mostly convenience, but also as people get better
at using them they have increased capabilities. E.g., to annotate
online, to correct, to participate, etc."
says, "Yes, Greg and Jeremy, how are we determining what is
quality and ensuring quality electronic publications?"
Hunsinger says, "Yes we find that preserving these mechanisms
is paramount in the mind of many academics, as compared to the
open publishing we can find in some of the larger e-press efforts."
Oldham says, "Yes, I come across great snobbery concerning e-publishing,
that you're not a writer if your work is only published on the
web or if you utilise it".
says, "We have some participants who create electronic journals--what
do you guys do to ensure quality? And to get around this snobbery?"
Newby says, "Well, part of the vetting process to insure quality
includes the fact that someone wanted to publish it.... a reputable
publishing house. That, plus peer review, gives us a key indicator
of quality. Also, stuff like how reputable the individual is,
and other reputation factors. Note that this often supercedes
the 'actual' quality. "
Oldham says, "How many hard copy papers do we know or even mags
that have forgone the expense of realtime publishing for web
Hunsinger says, "Publish or perish and the acceptance of epublishing
in the academic world, as with any slow moving beast will take
time, but we are laying the foundations in the next generation
of scholars with the online theses and dissertations, etc. "
says, "But digitising print materials - even with annotations
-- is quite different from making available works CREATED for
the digital medium"
says, "Helen, that is a great point. I invited both Greg and
Jeremy so that we could get different sides--from translating
existing paper to creating new electronic works..."
Oldham says, "But what happens when the peer review is governed
by those who do not like e-publishing--those who choose to see
as an undermining of quality"
says, "Andrew, is that a rhetorical question about the expense
of hard copy vs. electronic?"
says, "I think academics will be quicker to accept electronic
journals -- it is very established now -- but literary works
are still seen as lesser than print"
says, "In the government, we are putting out many more papers
and with a much wider distribution electronically than we ever
did in hard copy..."
Newby says, "Helen had a great point. At this point, I'm really
more thoughtful about stuff that ONLY exists in digital form.
(This is the non-PG point of view, since PG is mostly about
digitizing past materials)."
Oldham says, "I accept academics prefer electronic publishing
but it still hasn't got through to many writers"
says, "Yes, Andrew all how do we deal with peer reviews that
think this is inherently a "Lesser medium"?""
Newby says, "Andrew, part of the issue is HOW people like to
read. Also, the sort of access to materials they get with different
Jeremy Hunsinger says, "We also have some inroads in various
early adopter sectors of academia which are starting to recognize
some electronic efforts as valid forms."
says, "Jeremy, what kind of inroads have you made in recognizing
electronic efforts as valid? and how can we make more inroads?"
Hunsinger says, "Well, we've found that those people will just
not participate, which is fine because as long as we can get
people to participate in reviews, we can slowly build the intellectual
content. Actually, I've found twice so far that media matters
in peer review, both at a technology level, can the reviewer
make it work, and at the level of whether the reviewer is interested
in using this type of media."
Oldham says, "In the last 12 months I have seen a revolution
in the quality of work getting published by e-zines, mags etc"
says, "Andrew, what is behind this revolution, do you think?"
says, "Peer reviews shouldn't concern the media, it's about
cheers Inna and starts chanting "Content, content, content !!!!"
Oldham says, "Inna, but when peer groups inherently see the
web as an area of less repute, they acquaint it with less quality."
hands round loads of content-laden cookies and lemonade
Oldham says, "I think, Deena, that the amount of publishers
turning to the e-publishing."
Newby says, "If you've tried to buy an ebook lately, you know
how frustrating it is. Crummy software, bad readers, poor ergonomics.
More importantly, Byzantine licensing provisions that make the
book more of a 'rental' than a 'purchase.' This is more of how
the copyright changes have really had a negative impact."
says, "Greg do you see an interest in PG increasing as electronic
readers become easier and cheaper to use?"
Newby says, "Ezines and magazines are largely orthogonal to
scholarly journals and books..."
says, "The point may be that electronic publishing is not just
as good as but is also different from i.e it creates new margins
in which different type of writing can flourish, "
Newby says, "Interest in PG has gone up steadily."
says, "Right, it seems as though we are dealing mostly with
perceptions of quality rather than quality itself"
says, "Greg, do u consider the alteration of the reading process
via net.culture? and how peer review has a tendency to flatten
out any m.mergent forms of a lingual nature 2 n.sure that the
status [publishing] quo is maintained?"
Newby says, "This is partially due to more people getting online,
particularly in the less developed world (where free books are
perhaps a bit more appealing...""
Hunsinger says, "I agree, with Greg that zines, etc. have different
says, "Andrew, perhaps as more publishers turn to epub and it
becomes more mainstream these reputation questions will go away
on their own?"
Oldham says, "Deena, the problem that normal publishing houses
are letting themselves in for, is that they're putting new writers
out in this medium and the often stringent editing process is
being laid aside for fast publication"
Oldham says, "But it does come down to how we read, we see the
computer as a tool of commerce"
says, "Andrew--how will this be a problem? Is it that as more
is published, we get a wider variety of quality?"
Oldham says, "Peer criticism, Deena, the very problem in Literature
in the UK"
Newby says, "Guest, electronic publishing is in fact much better
for most of what we want published materials for. But there
are current limitations: ergonomics, economics and so forth."
says, "Greg, this is worrying"
says, "Helen, what is worrying?"
Helen says, "Worrying = Greg's "Byzantine licensing provisions"
I don't think it's the answer to scholarly publishing"
says, "Right, it is a question of how we read and how we get
that material--how we make it available "
Newby says, "Helen, just look at the license for an ebook...
The recent Adobe
v. Skylarov case is what happens when people try to make
fair use of materials they've purchased. This is very scary
says, "Jeremy, what issues does the Center for Digital Discourse
and Culture see in availability online and copyrights?"
Hunsinger says, "Yes, but fair use is seemingly a different
thing when books are considered software"
says, "Jeremy, how is fair use seen differently in the electronic
medium than in print and hard copy?"
Hunsinger says, "Well overall we promote returning the copyright
to the author in all cases, but in larger terms, I do not see
that Digital Rights Management schemes will work any time soon,
though congress will be mandating them I think"
is making huge amounts of courseware available... is this being
covered by some Digital Rights Management?"
says, "Jules, do you see MIT as a precedent?"
Newby says, "MIT's stuff is really courseware, not a publication
per se. It's copyrighted (virtually anything stored in a tangible
form is), but being made available. "
says, "But isn't web publishing an opportunity to bypass the
normal filters of publishing and distributing mechanisms?"
says, "Molde, yes, now I can put up a page and show my work
without the byzantine publication process. but the question
is, does the self-pubbing have the same weight as peer reviewed
says, "Molde_ i think so 2, but there has 2 b a way of establishing
a standard of quality in regards to online work, which i think
should be conceptualised according 2 the parameters of the medium
itself rather than a reliance on a traditional method of critique
and substantiation like peer review..."
Newby says, "Web publishing is fine, but look at my comments
above about authority. Anyone can make a Web page. That is the
problem, even though it holds the seed of the solution!"
Hunsinger says, "Fair use as a concept does not change significantly
online, this is because the laws we have basically took the
traditional form of copyright prior to electronic publishing."
says, "Portals = publishers = reputation = trusted content""
Newby says, "Jeremy, that's the ideal situation. In fact, fair
use has been completely revoked by the DMCA for nearly all digital
Newby says, "Helen: DMCA= the Digital Millennium Copyright Act,
the most recent update to the US copyright law. It's incredibly
important for many reasons.... visit http://www.eff.org/
for some basic info."
says, "I see MIT setting a personal precedent that says "Knowledge
should be made available" before we mandate the Digital Rights
Hunsinger says, "I agree, authority is a key issue"
says, "Exactly Greg, how do readers know what to read and what
is accurate when anyone can publish?"
Newby says, "The only issue about fair use is who wants to pursue
legal remedies.... big companies are going to be more interested
than individual authors."
Hunsinger says, "Yes, which fits back with my comment on books=software"
says, "Yep. Authors are more interested in accessible works
rather than renumeration--it doesn't seem like we can have both"
says, "Loss of fair use is extremely worrying for anyone trying
to teach online, or teach digital media at all, or provide material
for educational purposes"
Newby says, "Helen, the DMCA is being spread about the world
via WIPO, the World
Intellectual Property Organization and related treaties."
says, "Helen, all, any ideas on how we can preserve fair use
yet still compensate authors for their work?"
says, "I think payment for authors should be on a basis of here's
my payment and now it's in the public domain, rather than the
traditional royalties. If the publishers pay for use -- first
use, it can then be used carefully elsewhere.""
Hunsinger says, "But the thing is that most practitioners don't
follow the DMCA, though profit incentives will change that"
says, "Sorry but I need to go, bye to all, it was (is) really
Greg Newby waves to Inna.
][mez][ says, "Cya inna"
Deena says, "Inna thanks so much for coming!"
Inna says, "Thank you Deena, bye"
says, "We had a business chat last summer on these issues--how
to make a living while writing..."
has some interesting stuff in their business model"
says, "They make it easy to get reprints, permission of the
author, etc. Most of the time we can't even track down the author...
getting access to permission is the key!"
Oldham says, "The e-publishing industry is still very new, an
infant, on the other end of the scale there is the legacy of
publishing (I've heard this used in conversations). Now, we
have those at the height of their profession, only know real
publishing, only know books, the prestige of the hard copy etc,
the tangible fact, the book that you can hold, that you cam
sign, etc. The e-publishing revolution has undermined this,
now the work is out there, it is not a publishing run, it cannot
be signed, it is ephemeral, you cannot grasp it. Therefore in
some circles it is seen as, ironically, paper thin, no basis
for argument or publishing...in other words they are scared,
the information cannot be controlled...funny enough that was
the view taken by churches when the written word began to be
published in mass volume."
says, "But doesn't the open nature of the web undermine ideas
of authority and ownership. It's what makes the whole creaky
system attractive to me"
Oldham says, "But not to some."
says, "Jeremy, Greg, what issues other than copyright have emerged
lately in scholarly publishing online? What are the trends that
you see in the future?"
arrives from Courtyard
says, "Hi Geiranger, we are talking with Jeremy Hunsinger, Greg
Newby and other electronic publishers and experts about copyrights
and emerging issues in scholarly electronic publishing."
hands round permits and authorities to uncontrol information.
Newby says, "What we've seen in other areas of the Internet
is that the established organizations have a strong advantage
over the upstarts. I'm worried on that basis that Elsevier et
al. will end up controlling lost of e-publishing, just like
they do regular publishing. This makes it hard for a new business
model to flourish."
hands round more creaky cookies and punch.
Hunsinger says, "I don't think that there is an answer to protecting
the writes of authors, publishers, etc. that will allow for
what we have traditionally done in civil society, which is fairly
says, "Online courses are often held in private areas of the
Web -- like our WebCT -- that's a different usage than a public
web journal -- which I would pay contributors for (like our
Hunsinger says, "We have to get some model of remuneration for
the production of 'public goods" first, but then like you have
says, "Jeremy, what models of remuneration do you foresee?"
Hunsinger says, "The tip jar is a famous model. But it will
be completely unpopular with the academic book industry, because
their books are not popular enough."
Helen says, "But Jeremy, it means something in the US but we
don't tip anything like as much in the UK"
says, "It seems 2 get back 2 the debate centering around the
merging of commercial desires and the wish 2 n.gage in a form
of publishing that largely d.nies an economic key-function...there
should b a type of system b.ing implemented that reflects this,
rathere than try 2 emulate a dead-tree publishing mentality..."
Oldham says, "But what happens when the academic both has private
interests in writing and scholarly writing, different ball park?"
says, ""Mez, all, what future trends do you see in these fields?
you think we can get to a point where publishing online will
be as accepted and valid an academic pursuit as publishing in
hard copy university presses?"
Newby says, "Deena, other issues include archiving, authentication
(making sure you get the TRUE version) and what we mentioned
says, "Andrew, can you talk more about the differences you see
in writing and scholarly writing and the different implications
for these in electronic and online publishing"
Hunsinger says, "Popular enough to generate income, but then
that is why universities underwrite academic publishing to a
says, "Thus a plus for DRM and Icopyright and other places that
could provide "Authenticity" control."
says, "Greg, how is PG addressing authentication? "
Newby says, "Deena, publishing online already is a valid academic
pursuit. It's a matter of the authority and reputations of the
e-forms of communication to match those of paper-based forms."
says, "There are definitely some electronic-only chemistry journals...
but academics have traditionally not been paid for papers anyway
-- and speed of publication really matters in the scientific
world when you come to exploit discoveries commercially"
says, "How do we provide authenticity--and let readers know
which sites are authentic?"
Oldham says, "Quick question will universities endorse publications
on the internet?"
Hunsinger says, "Yes, universities will, and some do already
in certain cases"
says, "By paying for a doc you can determine where you got it
and perhaps authenticate."
says, "Deena possibly e.pubbing will twist itself 2 mimick the
current rt-publishing model with small n.claves trying 2 promote
a system that seeks 2 offer alternative modes of distribution
says, "Mez, what is rt-publishing?"
says, "Real-time publishing "
Newby says, "Deena, PG has only two sites. From there, we're
mirrored over the world. Thus, there are few issues: about the
only problem is broken mirrors. The stakes are low, so we seldom
have issues of someone needing to confirm they have the 'real'
edition of Alice in Wonderland."
says, "I think last week's tragedy brought out the best and
the worst in terms of authentic information on the web--it was
amazing to see people go to CNN rather than mynews.com...perhaps
we will get to a point where people just know which sites are
Newby says, "Authenticity is not hard, but making it convenient
is. Your Web browser has lots of capability to verify content
says, "Greg, what is SSL?"
Newby says, "SSL is the Secure Sockets Layer in HTTP. It's what
allows for encrypted Web pages, but includes checking the authority
of a Web page (e.g., that you're sending your information to
your REAL bank, not some interloper)."
Oldham says, "What about if that university generates a revenue
from students buying books every term from their campus shops,
set texts etc, how much a loss would this be if the set etexts
were available online?"
Newby says, "Universities can find other ways to make money."
says, "Jeremy, all, will there be different standards for confirming
publications for hard copy and for electronic pub?"
Hunsinger says, "There are two methods of reviewing now that
cover that deena, there are the open and public reviews, where
people comment on things after the fact, and there is the prior
to press review, I think we deal more with the latter."
says, "Author, authority, authenticity, authenticate."
solemnly hands round author and authority badges to all.
says, "Andrew: the costs of producing the etexts should be less,
so the cost to the students less: but resale would be more of
Oldham says, "True, universities will find other ways of making
money but many will prevail against this loss. And then the
argument of quality will come back into play"
says, "So there are hidden economic agendas in terms of paying
Hunsinger says, "Not for us, we do the same thing in both cases,
we collect the item, we distribute the item to reviewers, and
we bring that back, it is a time consuming process, but we speed
it up by digitalizing things from the beginning."
says, "Are security systems like SSL used in online journals
and scholarly pubs?"
Newby says, "Andrew, don't worry about universities losing money
by digital materials in classes. They'll make up for it by selling
software, computers and perhaps training. Here at UNC, the U.
is now profiting by selling (required) laptops to all freshman
says, "What are the implications of author/authority/authentication
for electronic literature? will there be (and are there now)
differences in quality perceptions for electronic journals such
as the Iowa
Hunsinger says, "This won't be a loss of money for universities,
I don't think. The cost of printing books is by far the most
costly part of the process that we have seen, comparable reviewers
get some honaria, and the press and the author get their portions.
Newby says, "Deena, I mentioned earlier that academic libraries
have more power than they've used to impact electronic content.
They've not really flexed their muscles, and probably won't."
Oldham says, "But there are certain courses that won't want
to do that, such as Literature and Drama"
Newby says, "I mean, if they were going to, they would have
done something during the astounding serials prices increases
over the last 2 decades."
says, "Greg, are university libraries even getting into electronic
media? We've had a few chats where these libraries have expressed
concerns with archiving, longevity of materials, etc..."
Newby says, "Deena, electronic media is the fastest growing
portion of library budgets, at least at Research I universities
says, "Wow, that is great. how have universities and libraries
addressed the archiving issue? Many works go out of use quickly
if they are written in say, intermedia, HyperCard, etc."
Hunsinger says, "I'm not sure that the prestige journals will
change at all, but there may be some change made in the lower
echelons in regards to quality perceptions"
Newby says, "We spent $50,000 just for access to one database
last year (I can't remember whether it was Infotrac or something
says, "Print on demand might solve some of this... it ties into
e-pubs, too, surely. Just because it is digital does not preclude
says, "Purely from the students' point of view, the required
reading texts would always be available in an online archive
Newby says, "Libraries are concerned about archiving and other
issues...but meanwhile, the electronic materials are useful,
and fit the library's mission. For archiving: here, Duke, NC
State and UNC-CH have agreed to maintain a paper subscription
among them for key journals. That way, if the publisher screws
them, they still have the paper. By 'screwing' I mean, by revoking
electronic access at some point in the future (even though they
guaranteed it)." "
Newby says, "So, they move forwards... "
says, "Ahhh...I had not thought about access itself as an archiving
issue. I was more focused on the computer, the ereader and mechanical
end of things..."
says, "The problem stems from the inherent "Ubiquity" of the
Hunsinger says, "I think the goal might be to get as much away
from print as possible in many sectors Jules, print, even print
on demand is very costly"
Oldham says, "Jeremy, maybe it's the re-addressing of print
cross combined with e-publishing."
housekeeper arrives to remove Molde_Guest and Margaret. The
housekeeper arrives to cart Helen off to bed.
says, "The field is changing so rapidly."
Oldham says, "And change is a good thing."
says, "What steps can we as electronic publishers, journals,
and authors take to provide access to quality content and to
help enhance the reputation of electronic publications?"
Newby says, "Deena: give stuff away."
Newby says, "Not restrict it."
Hunsinger says, "Yes, I agree, give stuff away"
says, "Greg, how will giving stuff away and not restricting
it help provide the access and the authentication?"
Hunsinger says, "But the secret is to give stuff away that is
of very high quality"
Oldham says, "And how do we define high quality?"
says, "Right. And WHO defines high quality?"
Newby says, "This doesn't mean no copyright....it doesn't mean
no costs elsewhere. The reason why giving stuff away helps is
that the main asset of a journal or book publisher is their
authority. The only way to get authority is to foster communication,
not to restrict it to those who can afford it."
Hunsinger says, "Thus creating a new intellectual economy, where
the authors must pursue, this field"
says, "X.actly, deena, the WHO is the killer ][app][ qs..."
hands round pies and cakes and makes sure that each person has
one designed especially for their tastes...
says, "How did these journals and book publishers get their
authority in the first place?"
Newby says, "Quality.... you don't need a definition, you just
need to agree on what's good: high authority, highly cited,
highly used, attracts key authors, etc."
Hunsinger says, "High quality will be determined by the discipline,
but it can be co-opted by good editors, good reviewers, and
Newby says, "Jeremy and I are on the same wavelength, clearly."
Oldham says, "If high quality is decided by minority doesn't
it preclude and negate the idea of free and accessible information?
It becomes a form of censorship?"
says, "So each academic discipline will have different criteria
for quality but could agree on these criteria? Will we just
import the criteria currently used for print?"
Newby says, "Right now, quality is often at least partially
determined by the cost of the journal (adjusted within disciplines).
This is a weak application of quality."
Oldham says, "Darwin for a kick off"
hands round footballs with Darwin's face on them...
says, "Never forget that unpopular ideas often turn out to be
Hunsinger says, "That is why archives exist Jules, to preserve
all sides of the intellectual tradition"
says, "What do the rest of you guys think? How are you addressing
issues of archiving, authority, and access? What do you think
are the issues in electronic publishing?"
says, "Jeremy, I have a distinct problem with some of the terminology
that pre-supposes that these qualities are s.sentially
editors, reviewers etc...shouldn't "Good" b x.amined heavily
to reflect an evolving /floating medium??"
Oldham says, "The idea of quality sticks in my throat"
Newby says, "Andrew, there's a difference between a hierarchy
of authority and censorship. We're talking about enabling MORE
people to publish, not fewer.... but making it easier for true
quality judgments, not just by those who happen to own a printing
Hunsinger says, "Oh, academic disciplines hardly ever agree
internally on quality except in broad terms."
hands round throat unstickers..but thinks about it...has never
been able to define quality
throws round Zen
and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance chataquas instead.
Newby says, "I just re-read 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance'
this week (Persig; Bantam Books, 1974). It's all about quality,
and the philosophy thereof. Highly recommended." Deena admires
people who not only know the book but can cite the publisher
THAT fast... Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Pirsig I believe"
Oldham says, "But how do you do that objectively, look at the
heritage of real-time publishing"
says, "And more publishers with more content makes it harder
to patrol and determine quality..."
says, "So, we are going to just import long-standing disagreements
into the electronic realm..."
says, "Looks like it deena."
Hunsinger says, "Oh good isn't prefixed, I tend to use a normative
language, but it is not objective, nor justified outside its
contexts which is probably based on a sense of performativity."
Oldham says, "Deena, exactly, the argument will always remain
the same, it just changes fields."
Oldham says, "It expands to the point that one day it might
looks askance at all the long standing arguments sneaking into
the electronic realm.
Newby says, "Quality in publications is an ongoing issue....
in library science, they tried to do it by measuring citations,
publications, co-authorship and other facts (this is called
'bibliometrics.'). Bottom line: there are many facets, and no
agreement. Yet, quality exists, and we know good stuff when
we see it."
Oldham says, "Ah, but then there are readers."
says, "Even if it is inaccurate or wrong ;^)*"
Oldham says, "And cultural quality."
says, "So we import the peer review structure, security layers,
and attempt an archive so we can preserve the quality when we
Newby says, "With epubs, quality is what we agree has high quality...
and the Internet lets us do it faster and better. "
Hunsinger says, "Yes, I've actually had call recently to consider
building an open online citation database for precisely this
purpose. To track and establish some numeric measures of quality,
luckily I managed to put that code down before it launched."
says, "Right, Andrew, how do we direct readers to what is quality?"
says, "Beefing up education and teaching Critical Thinking,
says, "Jeremy, will these databases help show what is cited
and thus create at least a numerical criteria for quality?"
thinks about everyone citing poor studies and shudders...
Newby says, "Another literary reference. In 'Enders
Game', Orson Scott Card talked about something like Usenet,
but the higher-level chats were by invitation only. The point
was that the best invitation-only circles were like the news
of today: it's where people went to see what's going on. Sort
of like Larry King, but anyone could become popular based on
the quality of what they're doing."
Oldham says, "We can't direct readers to quality, that would
be controlling, you cannot tell someone to read this because
we say it's good, I think we should blow the field open and
let the reader decide, not the appointed critic or board."
Hunsinger says, "That was the goal, but I don't really believe
that judgment can be rationalized like that."
Hunsinger says, "But we direct people to quality every day of
our lives, Andrew."
Oldham says, "Then how did TV come about?"
Hunsinger says, "TV plays on the same principles in a different
says, "I still like Vannevar Bush and Ted Nelson's ideas of
paths--you follow someone you trust to take you to the good
info and the high level chats..."
says, "It's called Branding. I read Washington Post, he reads
Oldham says, "But what about quality?"
says, "Don't go to the FOX network to see something you want
Oldham says, "Precisely."
Bly arrives. Deena says, "Hi Bill, we are talking about
who you can trust and how you can determine quality online..."
says, "Greg, can u cite any online literature refs metaphorically?
that migh n.hance yr cred a little;)"
Newby says, "Huh, mez? You mean, instead of fiction and philosophy?
How about Peek & Newby, Eds. 'Scholarly Publishing: The
Electronic Frontier.' 1986: MIT Press."
says, "No greg, i mean u cite a fictionalized work in order
2 back up yr point. my point is that with a constant re-iteration
of mediums that don't inherently reflect the very mechanisms
we r discussing, that obviously we should question our perceptions
& terminolgy on a base lvl..."
Newby says, "Mez, we're in a transition period. I think that
our notions of what's good & bad, and how literature of
all types are used, will change radically over the next decade."
says, "What we are doing is creating the space and aligning
ourselves with Brands and Others who Think Like We Do."
Oldham says, "Anyway TV plays to demographics, not quality but
says, "The problem with Andrew's suggestion is that in any genre,
academic or fiction, e or not, readers don't have time to read
the lot to decide what's good. If they have to wade thru it
all they'll go away."
Oldham says, "Precisely."
Oldham says, "It becomes elitist."
Hunsinger says, "Quality may be observed as the targeting of
micromarkets by certain discursive systems, TV is just larger
Bly says, "Gimme a sec, I gotta put my groceries away."
says, "So the Academic sites and Universities spend money helping
to get the good stuff up, and everyone is directed to those
sites...For free or even subscriptions..."
Newby says, "Maz, another issue is convenience. PG is trying
to put 10,000 books on everyone's computer. That will make it
easier to read Milton...or whatever else."
says, "But more money is generated to get more people to go
through and e-publish the "Good" stuff... in a reputable place..."
Oldham says, "Jeremy, that doesn't answer the question, TV does
not work on quality, it works on demographics, what sells and
what sells fast"
Oldham says, "It's a mass marketing tool."
Hunsinger says, "That is what academic publishing does too,
Andrew, but the demographics are just smaller and more specialized."
Oldham says, "But it doesn't answer the quality question."
says, "And we are seeking to blow the doors open by applying
a mass medium to it..."
Oldham says, "And is that a threat to quality or will it revolutionise
our very ideas on what is and wait isn't quality, Jules?"
Hunsinger says, "In a way it does, it makes the argument that
quality is determined by increasing specialization, TV doesn't
Newby says, "Oh oh, we're almost going to turn into pumpkins.
Or coaches or fieldmice, or whatever."
says, "And I don't think e-pubs are going away. I think it will
make us work harder to discern and find quality."
says, "Among soo much content!"
Hunsinger says, "It is just that TV isn't the highest quality
Oldham says, "But there arguments, Jeremy, that quality in TV
has been dumb-downed, that art. programmes are being pulled
in favour of light ntertainment etc"
says, "But I think that the consolidation of quality work on
to fewer sites will be happening to help people."
Hunsinger says, "I'm not sure about that Jules, I think the
proliferation of information will continue and that the way
we find the higher quality information will end up being some
combination of participation in the community that creates it
and some technological system of searching that information."
Newby says, "If you don't like a PG etext....do your own (or
send correction). That's how the collection becomes better.
Sort of like open source software, really."
says, "So do i greg. but the fact that a dead-tree medium is
][discursively][ monitoring the way we actualize e.publishing
should be x.amined @ this crucial formulation point"
says, "PG is a "Consolidated site" we know where to send the
corrections... that is a giant help..."
Newby says, "Jules, we do dozens of corrections every week.
I just did some before the MOO..."
Newby says, "This is different than what is desirable for a
journal article, perhaps, but exactly what lots of regular books
(especially tech books) really need."
says, "That is exactly why PG and Universities and other sites
are so much better than just "Surfing" to find stuff..."
Hunsinger says, "I guess it depends on what kind of "Stuff""
Newby says, "Jeremy, convenience is still a really huge factor.
That's part of why we turn to CNN... or Elsevier..."
Hunsinger says, "Yes"
Newby says, "Convenience works against us as we develop new
and wonderful ideas, yet have trouble getting people to pay
attention (because their 'eyeballs' are dominated by the existing
says, "I believe that word of mouth also comes into play. I
check many websites on the recommendation of other people."
Oldham says, "Interesting, Greg, that we turn to things for
convenience but does that mean we get the correct information?"
Hunsinger says, "There are also other things tied to journal
production, such as editorial wages, etc. that undermine the
says, "And it depends on your level of expertise... the big
thing is having access to author or source...."
says, "So each person can evaluate, participate, make decisions."
Oldham says, "That is really important"
Newby says, "Andrew, one of the main assets of the news networks
is trust. Of course they're not 100% accurate, but for the people
who watch they're good enough."
Hunsinger says, "Yes, Jules"
says, "I think, aside from money, this is the aim of DRM"
Newby says, "'Good enough' is another important concept, up
there with convenience."
housekeeper arrives to remove Geiranger_Guest.
says, "Good enough is definitely important -- in Lit. is one
thing, in cutting edge research, different."
Newby says, "Jules, access to author or source is really one
of the greatest things about the modern Internet and related
technologies. Not all authors are interested in being accessed,
of course, but most find it beneficial."
Hunsinger says, "We will see what happens with DRM, I lurk on
several of those lists to see if there is anything that I can
actually use, but have yet to see it."
Oldham says, "There has been some interesting words this evening,
quality tied with like, convenience tied with good enough...
I have to go now, but I have enjoyed it, take care all of you."
Newby says, "I agree with Jeremy....DRM may be great, or it
may fizzle. "
Hunsinger says, "There is a significant difference for the center
to be able to use something and to have to pay to use something"
Newby waves to Andrew
says, "I think setting up the environment by which we learn
to even grapple with the issues is very cool. Thanks all..."
Newby nods to Jules
says, "Well, my time is up. thx 4 the chat all, u've confirmed
much that i had thought was prevalent in the realm of m.mergent
e.publishing. cheers, all."
says, "Thanks all byeeeeee"
housekeeper arrives to remove Andrew Oldham, Everdeen, ][mez][,
kjscott and MazThing.
says, "I will look for more of this... bye to all!"
housekeeper arrives to cart Deena off to bed.
Hunsinger says, "Well it looks to be about that time"
Hunsinger says, "Last questions?"
Hunsinger says, "Anyone"
Newby says, "Hmmm..."
Newby says, "It's been fun, Jeremy"
Hunsinger says, "Yes, it was"
Hunsinger says, "Got a bit fast for me there, strangely unlike
Newby says, "The fastest typist wins, like in IRC.."
Hunsinger says, "So are you in ALIST and heading up to dc for
Newby says, "I think Deena had some pre-pared questions. "
Hunsinger says, "Yeah she did"
Newby says, "I'll be at ALIST, but just for a day or so. You?"
Hunsinger says, "She was supposed to spring them on us 30 minutes
Hunsinger says, "I'm considering it"
Newby says, "(Doing a poster session about IR on Monday)"
Hunsinger says, "Yeah, Monday looked like it would be a cool
Newby says, "ALIST Is a great conference... the hotel is very
nice but super-expensive."
Newby says, "Well, I guess I'll split too. Bye for now""
Hunsinger says, "I still have some travel funds:) I'm probably
going to go, want to meet michel menou and some other people
up there to talk about things"
Hunsinger says, "Ok c ya"
housekeeper arrives to remove Greg Newby, Jules_Shannon, Jeremy
Hunsinger, Bill Bly, Feathers.
dusts herself off from her long fall from the internet to find
End log: Sunday, September 16, 2001 4:08:51 pm CDT