Chat Transcript: June 10, 2000
Celebrating E-zines
with Jennifer Ley, Ed Buffaloe, and Marek Lugowski

There are many more possibilities on the web and in electronic literature than meet with paper. How are e-zines breaking away from the print traditions they sprang from? We covered how e-zines differ from their print cousins? ancestors? and ranged over philosophies and issues in e-zines such as submissions, access, presentations, audiences and archiving.

Jennifer Ley is the editor of the online literary magazine Riding the Meridian and an author of literary hypertexts and poetry. Riding the Meridian exists to seek out and support new forms of literary art based on Internet technology and emerging theories, to facilitate communication within the online literary community, to recognize unique talent and support emerging voices, and to explore the myriad forms by which the Internet can be used to publish and promote literature.

A Small Garlic Press is a small press staffed by volunteers who work together via the internet, email, the web, that sort of thing. The ASGP/magazine-author relationship starts with choosing only the poems which fit the context of Agnieszka's Dowry as we are adding to it, as if to a reef. Many excellent submissions will fail this test. ASGP was established in August 1995 by Kim Hodges and Marek Lugowski to publish poets and writers inexpensively yet well. Later in the year LeeAnn Heringer joined us, allowing ASGP to expand publishing and to put up a fun set of web pages -- including Agnieszka's Dowry (AgD) magazine, now co-edited by Marek and katrina grace craig (katja). As of 8 May 2000, we are Marek and Rene in Chicagoland, katja in greater Seattle, jen in Sacramento -- our fellow director Jenni Merri Parker freshly transplanted to Michigan -- and a few friends: Kim (the same one) in coastal Oregon, Sherrie in high desert Washington State and Therese in northwestern Utah.

Ed Buffalo is the Editor of Aileron, "an unpretentious small press literary mag" and Vowel Movement. Ed says of Aileron that "I started Aileron shortly after I took a job as a word processor operator in 1980, using one of the first commercial word processors. I realized immediately its potential for small press publishing. I could produce a magazine in 1/10 the time it took with typewriters and offset presses (disregarding letterpress publication altogether). The Xerox machine was also a major innovation for short runs. People seemed to like the mag, so we kept publishing it, even though it cost us money out of our own pockets. Eventually my own interests turned toward photography and imaging. The last dead-tree issue was in 1994. I couldn't find anyone willing to take on the job of editing the magazine, so it went dormant until I learned to create web sites. I created a photographic web site, and eventually realized the potential the web had for publishing literature and art. Vowel Movement is a much more avant garde, absurdist magazine--a little more 'out on the edge' than Aileron. We did a couple of dead-tree issues, and now it has a life of its own on the web."

Related Links


-- Start log: Saturday, June 10, 2000 9:28:54 am CDT

Edwin arrives.

Deena arrives.

Deena says, "Hi Edwin"

Edwin says, "Hello Deena"

Edwin says, "I thought I'd try to figure out how to work the room."

Deena says, "You must be Ed Buffalo, right?"

Edwin says, "Correct"

Deena says, "Just type : and a verb to emote or act, and a quote and words to talk."

Deena says, "There is a short bit on how to MOO,"

Deena says, "And you can see your intro if you click on the General Elit chats."

Edwin says, "I've been reading it. I'm using the enCore Xpress interface"

Jenley arrives.

atlassheppard arrives.

Jenley says, "Hi Charles"

Margie arrives.

Deena says, "Hi all"

Jenley says, "Hi Deena ... Margie :) (and Steph too yes??)"

Marek Lugowski arrives.

Edwin arrives.

Deena says, "Marekand Ed, glad you could make it."

Margie says, "Hi Jennifer, Steph and I are lurking here. "

Jenley smiles

Deena says, "Great to have you aboard!"

Edwin says, "Hello everyone."

Deena passes around lots of hot coffee and fresh e-zines

Deena says, "Well, I will probably re-introduce the guests as people show up, but we have a great range of e-zine editors: Jennifer Ley with Riding the Meridian, Ed Buffalo with Aileron, Marek with A Small Garlic Press"

Deena says, "There are links to their presses in the Eliterature chat room"

Deena says, "Reading ezines this last year has really helped me find new and exciting ways of writing, with blended media, etc. Have you guys seen a lot of changes in the last year?"

Jenley says, "I think the biggest change is the move towards more multimedia--work that can only be conceived and shown on a computer"

Margie says, "Yes definitely"

Jenley is curious what the others think

Deena says, "Riding the Meridian has certainly helped showcase the new multimedia works, particularly with Progressive Dinner Party""

Jenley says "which was created by Carolyn Guertin and Marjorie Luesebrink"

Margie says, "that really showed what interesting work was being done"

Marek_Lugowski says, "Many changes point e-zines away from serving text. To me, that is a disconcerting trend. I think a poetry magazine should be first easy to browse with a textual browser."

Jenley says, "Marek has always been way ahead of the rest of us"

Marek_Lugowski says, "now now..."

Jenley says, "When it comes to cross browser compatibility"

Jenley says, "It's true :)"

Marek_Lugowski says, "Staunchly revisionist, perhaps?"

Jenley says, "Nah, but some of this new work can't be seen that way"

Deena says, "Marek, what is the philosophy behind A small garlic press? How is ASGP helping to preserve text?"

Marek_Lugowski says, "I just feel for the harried scholar who Lynxes -- and the poor person in a third world country with a used Mac IIci running Nets cape 2.02"

Deena says, "Yes, some of the ezines I can't read on my first world equipment. "

Jenley says, "Browser issues and cross platform issues are one of our biggest challenges"

Deena says, "Jen, how has Riding the Meridian faced browser issues?"

Jenley says, "Oh god :)"

Marek_Lugowski says, "Philosophy behind ASGP -- that's a bit broad -- I guess I should fish out our mission statement. ASGP as a web entity tries to preserve text by making sure the poetry we serve (and the main utility pages) are easily read in Lynx -- and therefore, in the Blynx browser (for the blind)"

Jenley says, "I cross check as much of the work as I can"

Deena says, "Marek, how can ezines help people in the third world access literature?"

Jenley says, "But authors make choices, especially with hypermedia work ... and you can't always make the work available on all systems"

Deena says, "Ed, how has Aileron dealt with making works available on all systems?"

Marek_Lugowski says, "Ezines can help people EVERYWHERE, not just third world, by being fast, efficient and clean about serving text, no matter what they do aside from that."

Jenley says, "Aside to Marek... I wish you could draft a how to on this for all the ILEF members"

Deena says, "Ezines have really made poetry available on a scale never before seen in small presses. The costs are really low, so you no longer have a press run of 100s but anyone can read it. "

Edwin says, "I have tried to utilize standards. The real problem is that neither Nets cape nor Microsoft support all the standards. Fortunately, one or the other will usually work."

Deena says, "Many multimedia works are integrating text with graphics and sound. How can we present these works fast, clean, and efficiently?"

Edwin says, "I started out in small press in 1967 when I was 16. I got my first poem published in a small press mag entitled ARX. It was published on an offset press in the publisher's garage. We published it monthly for 3 years."

Jenley says, "I think the authors need to design them to do that Deena"

Marek_Lugowski says, "I think we are sort of doing it right now by doing, Jen. We're recoding AgD to look good in html (by hand) and to be compatible (validated code with a validator: as HTML 4.0 transitional. That will help people see how to code and the resulting code will run (we hope) on more browsers with fewer problems. Of course, we are making our elements fairly simple -- tables, client maps being the most complex pieces."

Deena says, "Jen, how can we encourage authors to serve their works on cross platforms, etc?"

Jenley applauds Marek

Jenley says, "I feel like I'm constantly stepping on someone else's answer btw"

Marek_Lugowski says, "How can we present intergated text with graphics cleanly? By providing ALT tags, for instance."

Deena says, "That's ok, this is a multithreaded discussion..."

Jenley says, "I think as editors, we can work with authors to check that their work displays for the widest audience. We're in a period of exponential media growth ...and I think that comes with problems."

Jenley says, "If you think of the printing press ... the first books were in one language"

Marek_Lugowski says, "Definitely. For instance, a sound piece might come with a textual transcript. The textual transcript could be served as minimally marked up html black on white.."

Jenley says, "reached a limited group of people"

Deena says, "Ed, how many copies did you publish?"

Edwin says, "500"

Deena says, "Ed, how many people access Aileron now?"

Edwin says, "My best guess is about 100 per month view Aileron. The counter has been up and down--they're overwhelmed with too many sites to count right now."

Jenley says, "It took time for the printing press to be a good tool for all people"

Deena says, "So we could have a variety of different presentations for the same work, Marek?"

Jenley says, "Marek .. wouldn't that really create a different piece tho"

Jenley says, "Wasn't it Jon Ippolito who suggested this as an archive alternative?"

Deena says, "Yes, Jen, we are not giving ourselves enough time for the ezines to be a good tool for all people. We branch off in about two months..."

Jenley says, "Steph ... you wrote about that"

Marek_Lugowski says, "Different presentations were already assumed with the ALT tag definition. So, just minding our manners :) and filling that little bit of html does a great deal. And then, yes, the more complex your multimedia, the larger is your obligation, I think, to those without the full complement of resources to access it."

Margie says, "Steph says she doesn't think ezines can be a good tool for *all* people"

Jenley says, "Why does she say that ??"

Edwin says, "Not enough people have access to the technology that allows them to view ezines."

Deena says, "Marek, I'd like to explore the idea of obligation to provide a full complement of resources."

Deena says, "What do you mean by that?"

Marek_Lugowski says, "To the extent that a book, a plain book, is a good tool for all people, why could not a well-designed zine be one as well? Soon we will be read (as in reading to) on voice devices, without visual display. I think it's important to look at least that far. How will the multimedia work then?"

Deena says, "But Ed, you are reaching about the same number of people (500 print to 100 a month ezine...) so perhaps we have widened the access (more people can get online) but have not extended the access world wide"

Jenley says, "I don't think that people are going to want to give up visuals"

Margie says, "Different people will necessarily have to take, or choose, different options"

Marek_Lugowski says, "Obligation comes from what is it that you are doing -- if you are serving information, you owe people equal access. I think that is as fair in ezine design as it is in designing bathroom access or other architecture."

Jenley says, "But playing devil's advocate ... again some of the work just needs more complicated tech, so do we limit those authors???"

Marek_Lugowski says, "Providing the options, Margie, is where we don't have a choice. we either do a good job, or not so good, or none at all."

Edwin says, "The potential to reach more people exists. It's the networking that counts--the medium--more than the message."

Deena says, "Steph, how would you balance access with the precise presentation of a work?"

Marek_Lugowski says, "How do you mean, Jen -- limit those authors?"

Jenley says, "No javascript cuz not everyone can access it?"

Margie says, "That is a choice"

Jenley says, "The tools hypermedia authors are using "

Deena says, "Ed, how does Aileron balance the medium with the message?"

Marek_Lugowski says, "Javascript is not synonymous with authorship. it is a means of providing content. I think if you will do javascript, you owe the browsing public a navigation option that does not depend on it."

Deena passes around universal access keys for everyone

Jenley says, "but Marek... some of the work just can't do that"

Edwin says, "Medium exists--I concentrate on making the message good."

Jenley says, "It would be different work"

Margie says, "Steph says if access is your main goal you use the simplest tools (remembering always the very small number of people on the planet with any access); if development of the tools and your theme is the goal, you take a different route"

Deena says, "Marek, so you owe the public many different ways to access the content? What if the content itself depends on the javascript or sound or image to deliver the message?"

Jenley says, "yay Steph :)"

Deena says, "Steph, how does developing your theme differ from getting access to your theme?"

Marek_Lugowski says, "Well, to the extent that a translation from Polish to English is also a different work, it would be. It would be ethically lazy, I think, not to encourage people to provide alternatives. Javascript is such a weak example. So many people choose not to use it at all because it renders flaky on many browsers, provides security risks, and slows down browsing. So... it's far from lingua franca."

Margie says, "Steph says that if the theme involves the interaction of sound and visuals and text and motion then asci text won't do it "

Jenley says, "agrees with Steph at the same time that she recognizes the ethical issues Marek is raising"

Deena says, "Marek, I think that access and getting the message across are invaluable, and that we should design with a lingua franca in mind. How would you suggest authors approach a work to design it for the widest access?"

Marek_Lugowski says, "A little ingenuity goes a long way. What do you want to do? Just do the exact performance? Or also exercise a lot of care in reaching those who can't see it?"

Jenley says, "But ... I'll go back to my printing press analogy. Some of this is going to take more than a few years to shake out"

Deena says, "Javascript is a pretty weak example, but what about imagery? Aileron uses a great deal of imagery and combines it with the text. Ed, how do you balance imagery and fast access?"

Margie says, "I think there are ethical issues involved around the idea that there "is" a lingua franca, already issues around English being used as such; translation and many languages/modes seems a more progressive position to me"

Deena passes out linotype and movable press parts to all

Marek_Lugowski says, "Shaking out never did away with books per se, or hand-made books. or whatever. I think text is more than the modality of seeing ascii text on a page -- you see, text means that it is also voice. voice means that it is something coming at you in your ear. or in your car. textually serving zines are more advanced -- closer to fine that way."

Edwin says, "Unfortunately, people either have to be patient or not get all the visual imagery. I've found if I compress my images too much it comes out mush instead of art."

Jenley says, "Aha ... I think the issue here is that a lot of the work I am interested now utilizes more than just text"

Deena passes out blenders for mixing imagery, sound, and text into symphonic messages

Deena says, "What audiences are ezines serving? And how do audience considerations play into the access issues?"

Jenley says, "Meridian's audience is global ... and surprisingly, I see visits from many non English countries"

Jenley says, "Although that's not all that surprising really, but seeing hits from Botswana did get my attention"

Marek_Lugowski says, "well, both Edwin and Jen are indicating the need for a larger pipe. Yet, there are ways of using the pipe one has to do clever things. They say the art of programming was never as high as when the programmers had exactly 128 k to fit instructions into a spacecraft. Compare to bloated development of things like Microsoft software in so much memory. :) :)"

Jenley says, "Have to agree with that Marek :) with all the bells and whistles is the work really doing more ??"

Deena says, "Margie, do you want to go back to what issues there are around using English to such a large extent."

Jenley apologizes ... the interface hides my typing after a few words

Editor's note: spelling has been cleaned up.

Margie says, "We should be concerned about the hegemony of English on the web"

Deena passes around an automatic type cleaner, and bigger access pipes with requirements for small, elegant programs

Jenley thinks Deena is an excellent host :)

Jenley says, "I agree with you Margie"

Deena bows and tosses Jen an extra pipe cleaner

Jenley says, "Toss cash please ... this "oh it's so cheap to run a website thing is starting to be not so cheap ..."

Edwin says, "On the other hand, it is nice to have a more or less universal medium in which to communicate."

Deena says, "Have ezines accentuated this hegemony? Does anyone know of ezines in other languages on the web"

Marek_Lugowski says, "Justly so, Margie. I am very interested in using English as a bridging language that allows non-English speakers to further poetry and literature in translation. See, for example, Ilse Hirvonen's web page ( or the new nonprofit web page in Japan, Happa-no-Kofu ("

Jenley says, "There are definitely other language zines or zines that translate specifically text"

Margie says, "hola, todas! que pasa? que tal? que cositas padrone qualitido emeralda . Quando progressivo cada persona aqui?"

Marek_Lugowski says, "estoy aqui."

Jenley says, "Mephisto does Italian"

Margie says, "bueno. Vivir en la casa misma."

Deena says, "Even with the costs of an ezine, it seems that this provides more access for more languages..."

Marek_Lugowski says, "Si, claro."

Margie says, "exactamente"

Jenley says, "I think it provides more access ... period"

Jenley says, "We reach thousands of readers a month"

Deena says, "What do you see happening with this access?"

Deena says, "What changes is this access creating in terms of literature and art?"

Marek_Lugowski says, "Access is becoming globally pervasive. But the wave of access is like that of the birth of stars... we are the echo of the first... we are the quasars. the kid in Botswana likely has a tiny computer with a tiny dial-up modem and electricity only a few hours a day."

Jenley says, "I see more people reading poetry ... not speaking for Meridian per se ... but looking at all the different people who link to Astro ..."

Margie says, "Steph says it provides a rationale for art that is not tied to a national language or voice, visual art, art that is constraint-based a la Oulipo"

Jenley says, "or the kid in Botswana is an American ex-pat"

Jenley says, "to be fair"

Marek_Lugowski says, "anything. but it is likely the equipment in other countries is not par for @Home with a G3 series Powerbook 400 Mhz. :)"

Deena says, "Or the kid in Botswana with the short access time may have no other print books--this may be the first access at all."

Jenley punches Marek playfully ... go ahead, make fun of my hard earned new toy :)

Marek_Lugowski says, "hahahah. I envy it. :)"

Jenley says, "Actually I had to buy that machine to keep up with the authors"

Edwin says, "Interesting to think that some kids may read a computer before they ever get to read a book?"

Jenley says, "Yes it is Ed"

Deena says, "Jen, as more people read poetry, do you think that poetry will change?"

Jenley says, "Ack Deena ... I would think it would have to anyway"

Jenley says, "Change how ??"

Marek_Lugowski says, "Pretty much here too (I have a Powerbook, except slower), but I still check my code against my 1990 vintage Mac IIci, dialing up at 45k or so on average"

Deena says, "Steph, how does the access provide this rationale? Is it that the audience is so much more universal?"

Jenley says, "You know Deena, some people might say that all that exposure might lower the bar as to the quality of poetry"

Margie says, "Steph says you asked how the access *from* many languages made a difference. On Webartery Rainer mentions how when the work gets text-heavyin"

Deena says, "do you see the technology settling down to a comfortable minimum, or will it continue to spiral out of control? How does access to technology affect your decisions in editing the e-zines?"

Jenley says, "Marek, you convinced me to keep my baud ISP"

Marek_Lugowski says, "Perhaps more of a problem are various contest-scams and anthologies/web-anthologies which indiscriminantly print everything and lure inexperienced writers into a sense of accomplishment -- only to sell them their anthologized work, in expensive vanity bricks. that is a problem."

Deena says, "Steph, how does access from many languages provide a more universal rationale?"

Margie says, "English it begins to elude him, but visual work and code poetry, constraint-based, or algorithmic in character is something he can recognize and appreciate from his native language, German. And he does speak/write good English, but one appreciates poetry from a place other than 2nd or 3rd language--"

Jenley says, "Momentito brb"

Marek_Lugowski says, ":) Iit's a good move, Jen. besides, cable has outages all the time. :)"

Deena says, "Marek, have you seen these scams proliferate on the web? How does a new reader tell which ezines are good reads that will appeal to their tastes?"

Deena says, "Is Reiner translating his work into English or working with the English?"

Jenley says, "back "

Margie says, "Steph says Rainer provides translation in 3 languages for a number of works on his site, and many have very little text"

Deena asks "Ed, have you had work from artists/writers working in languages other than English?"

Jenley says, "I think for Reiner, the lingua franca is lingua visual"

Edwin says, "No, I couldn't accept work that I couldn't read and understand-- I have no way to evaluate it's quality."

atlassheppard has disconnected.

Marek_Lugowski says, "I think there is money to be made in appealing to vanity of people who wish to be published. that is a huge sector. I think the way out is to educate. by doing. hope that people will cultivate their tastes and see past the first illusions. and the serious ones will work on their stuff."

Deena wipes her brow at the thought of such a daunting task and the momentum needed to work in a lingua visual

Deena says, "How can ezines help educate people to see quality literature?"

Deena passes out quality detectors

Jenley says, "By publishing it ??? (just kick me)"

Edwin says, "By publishing quality work."

Deena says, "How do you decide what to publish?"

Marek_Lugowski says, "I just finished reading Linn Ulmann's first novel (Norwegian, in English translation), Before you sleep. I dunno. I got more visuals out of it than from watching Elizabeth, the fine movie."

Edwin says, "It's subjective, and I won't deny it."

Jenley says, "I agree with Ed"

Jenley says, "I like how William Slaughter, ed of Mudlark answers this question ... he says he likes to be surprised"

Edwin says, "Appreciation of art and literature is subjective."

Deena says, "I have looked at a lot of ezines with very different tastes. Has the proliferation of ezines on the web in the last year helped to publish quality work?"

Jenley says, "Helped from an author's pov ??"

Edwin says, "Certainly not in every case."

Marek_Lugowski says, "It's a reflection of the culture of the editor."

Deena says, "Marek, what do you mean by the culture of the editor?"

Jenley wonders if that is an active culture?

Margie says, "The many new markets on the Web for writers have undoubtedly called forth more talented writers and well-wrought pieces than we would get a chance to see without those venues"

Deena passes out petri dishes for cultivation

Edwin says, "I think the work in any mag probably reflects some cultural biases in the editor(s)."

Jenley hopes that is true Margie

Deena says, "I think the many new markets help expand the cultural perspectives and reach out for works we otherwise would not have heard of."

Margie says, "It may call some bad stuff but good comes with it"

Deena says, "Is there a place for readers to go to search out ezines and determine what would appeal to them?"

Jenley says, "I know I've been astounded by the proliferation of hypermedia work in the past year"

Deena says, "How do readers know what to start reading?"

Margie says, "The new ELO database should be such a place Deena"

Jenley says, "and lists all its literary zine members with descriptions of the magazines"

Deena keeps drowning in the millions of possibilities of things to read

Deena says, "Does everyone know about the new ELO database?"

Edwin says, "Periodically I search for lists of ezines and try to get my magazines listed in them. Trade links, etc."

Edwin says, "Tell us."

Margie says, "The database should be fully active by the end of summer"

Jenley says, "EPC has a really good list too ... which they've built over the years"

Edwin says, "How do we get listed?"

Deena says, "Ed, do you find that you get a larger audience after listing your zines?"

Edwin says, "No."

Jenley says, "No??"

Margie says, "At that point both editors and writers will have access to the cgi machinery for adding and editing the list"

Deena says, "The ELO database will provide a list for publishers and writers. To get listed, you would go to the ELO site at and sign up. You can also contact Rob Kendall and be a betatester for publishers."

Jenley says, "I'd say half our visits are based on web page referrals"

Edwin says, "I don't have a way to measure the effects of the listings accurately."

Jenley says, "Do you have tracking software, Ed?"

Deena says, "Hmmm... I wonder why you don't get a larger audience. Is it that people are not using these lists? How are people finding the ezines?"

Deena says, "I usually have enough to do to keep up with the ezines that I know about, so I rarely go out searching for more... I'm afraid of what I'll find!"

Edwin says, "I have a counter, but their database is overwhelmed and they are in process of upgrading their hardware. "

Deena says, "Jen, what do you mean by webpage referrals?"

Jenley says, "Ah ... once you have referral stats you'll be able to track that better"

Edwin says, "Exactly."

Jenley says, "In my web stats I can see what pages are referring people to the site, which is always really quite interesting."

Deena says, "Marek, do you keep track of how people come to your site?"

Edwin says, "My primary web site is my Unblinking Eye photography site--the literature is more or less public service."

Deena says, "Why do you serve ezines? What do you get out of it? "

Deena passes out medals of honor for all the hard work involved in developing ezines

Edwin says, "I've been writing poetry for 35 years. It is a facet of my life that should be reflected in my net presence."

Deena says, "Ed, how do you see the literature as a public service?"

Jenley says, "If I could answer that ... I would say that I do this because I enjoy building communities."

Deena says, "How do ezines build communities?"

Edwin says, "Communication with the world. Networking."

Jenley says, "I think email has changed the way communities of writers and artists can work together, and be affected by each others work."

Deena says, "Would these communities exist if there were no ezines? Did these communities exist on paper?"

Edwin says, "We are a new community. I've never met any of you, nor most of my hundreds of correspondents."

Jenley says, "Also, the dialogues, interviews, and theory articles we publish."

Jenley says, "Seek to comment on and raise questions about the field."

Deena says, "Yes, it is always strange to meet in real space... and that rarely happens!"

Edwin says, "Everyone's personal website is a sort of ezine, a work of art directed at communicating themselves to the rest of the world."

Jenley has really enjoyed her face time meetings.

Deena says, "These communities are still relatively young. How do you see them growing and changing and affecting the world in the next few years?"

Edwin says, "These communities are going to become more sophisticated, both culturally and technologically."

Edwin says, "Maybe politically too."

Jenley says, "I would hope that art and lit zines would help to continue to foster the independent, non-commercial qualities of the internet"

Deena says, "Do you think we will see a new strength and political dimension from literature on the net?"

Margie says, "the sorry thing will be if the communities become more closed, lost their open-ness to new ideas, new writers, new experiments."

Edwin says, "The same was said of radio, television, telephones..."

Deena says, "Margie, do you think that the communities will become closed?"

Jenley says, "It's how they're used."

Edwin says, "I can't say I really believe literature will be the guiding light of the net. But it can't hurt to try..."

Deena says, "Ed, yes, and I think that radio, tv and telephones did a tremendous amount to build communities"

Jenley says, "What are we here now, if not a community?"

Margie says, "Well that is part of the trend that Ed is talking about. In the old days, anyone who wanted to could get into TV, for example--it was considered so low-brow"

Edwin says, "Exactly. It's not so much the content as the technologies themselves."

Deena passes out flyers for Star trek conventions, thinks about the differenences between responses to the Spanish American war and the Vietnam War...

Deena says, "And now TV is a closed community. Hmmm... Do you think that is from the expense of access?"

Deena says, "Public tv which doesn't cost much isn't very appealing..."

Jenley says, "There is community access ... but no one watches it"

Edwin says, "TV is the lowest common cultural denominator--closed or open, it's largely junk."

Margie says, "Movies, too, were once wide-open. Chaplin used to take his extras right off Hollywood Blvd."

Deena says, "Right, is it because it needs to be expensive to be worthwhile?"

Jenley says, "I think commercial sites, or films, or television"

Deena sees that trend now in the internet with flashy websites (Which also can't be accessed by the kid in Botswana...

Edwin says, "It seems that all media become corrupted with greed and mediocrity."

Margie says, "Money always plays a role here, I think"

Jenley says, "Raise the aesthetic bar for independents"

Jenley says, "Independents can't compete with that"

Jenley says, "On the web right now we can ... and that is something I hope we hang onto"

Deena says, "Will we need to compete with that?"

Edwin says, "We may have more influence than we think. It only takes a few very special people to change the world."

Jenley looks at that aesthetic bar and feels monk-like

Deena says, "Ed, can we prevent the media from being corrupted?"

Margie says, "It may be that our efforts with literature and the growing commerciality of the web cannot occupy the same economic space."

Deena approaches the aesthetic bar and hands out beautiful drinks with little umbrellas for everyone.

Edwin says, "No, but we can work to keep our own voices free and capable of being heard."

Deena says, "Would there be another space we can occupy? no one can take away the access (at this point...)"

Margie says, "Ah, the space might be sub-divided."

Deena says, "I think we have the bandwidth that we have never had before. Anyone can still put up a page, the question is can everyone still find it."

Jenley says, "Absolutely Deena"

Deena says, "Margie, how would you subdivide the space?"

Jenley says, "Margie ...what did you say about it isn't information .. it's attention ??"

Edwin says, "We may be drowned out by the porn, tacky news, disinformation, propaganda, etc., but we are nonetheless HERE and the right connections are being made despite all the noise."

Deena plugs which has domains for 11$ a year...

Deena says, "Ed, I think linking to each other"

Jenley is curious about another side of this issue.

Deena says, "And showing these sites can be important. "

Margie says, "I didn't mean I would or we would, but the different web technologies are already doing just that. Palm Pilot would access different parts of the web than Web TV would, and so on."

Jenley says, "Right now ... the field of writing is very open on the net"

Jenley says, "However ... most fields start to close down at a certain point"

Edwin says, "Smart webmasters know how to play the search engines so their sites can be found by those searching."

Jenley says, "Stars emerge ... best read authors"

Deena thinks about the Xenaverse, talked about in HT-00, where the noncommercial sites link to each other, and the commercial sites draw a curtain by not linking to the "unofficial" sites

Jenley says, "I think keeping things open editorially is also a challenge"

Deena says, "Jen, how can we keep the field from closing down?"

Jenley says, "That's up to us isn't it? not to get cliquey"

Margie says, "The Xenaverse is a perfect example of a subset of the web--some people are so statistically unlikely to go there they are a different species."

Deena says, "To keep open to new writers, new ideas, etc."

Edwin says, "what is the Xenaverse?"

Edwin says, "Duh..."

Deena says, "Xena is a tv character and the Xenaverse is for her fans..."

Deena doesn't want to admit she has never seen the show...

Jenley says, "hehehe no wonder Ed didn't know :)"

Edwin says, "Oh yeah--I saw it once. "

Edwin says, "Cast iron brassiere."

Deena says, "It is really the idea of the community that counts... Maybe we should gather around some tv show star too. With or without cast iron brassieres"

Jenley says, "As authors ... Deena, Margie, Steph ... what do you want to see from zines??"

Deena says, "I think that what you guys have done is INCREDIBLE and it is really what I want to see."

Jenley says, "is archiving important to you?"

Jenley says, "do you feel you're trusting us to maintain your work?"

Deena says, "As a reader, though, I would like a short precis before each piece so I can determine what to read. An ezine tv guide, as it were."

Edwin says, "Interesting idea. How to let people find what they are most likely to enjoy..."

Deena says, "Archiving is a MAJOR issue. RIght now, I would say that any author who isn't keeping copies of their work is a fool."

Jenley says, "and one more thing ... would you like to see us have ads so that we can pay you ... or do you prefer the no ad, approach"

Edwin says, "Because I won't be able to keep anyone's stuff up indefinitely."

Margie says, "Steph says yes, and I agree. Archiving is important to all of us"

Deena says, "I think that the archive is important and is going to be a major problem. Please do all you can to archive. I like the way Meridian handles old files, and keeps the link the same, too."

Jenley is trying to make sure she can keep the work up indefinitely

Margie says, "Steph says she would rather no ads."

Jenley I'm using ... a non-profit archive service

Deena says, "I think the no ads approach is better for literature. Then it becomes the prestige."

Deena says, "But Jen, how will you pay for archiving, domain, etc without ads?"

Jenley says, "oh Deena .. this is the question isn't it?"

Margie says, "I think there are ads and there are ads"

Jenley says, "Jen will look for more work :)"

Deena Thinks it is great that so many ezine editors are sacrificing from their pockets for the literature... And wishes it didn't have to be that way.

Edwin says, "I think individual artists and writers will have to see to the longevity of their own work."

Jenley says, "I'm also hoping to get libraries and museums involved in archiving ..."

Deena says, "Ed, that is just like the print--we don't archive all the small presses, either."

Edwin says, "They can keep it out in the public eye to the best of their ability, and record it on paper as well."

Margie says, "Archiving for a period of time is one problem--longer-term archiving is an even more expensive proposition. What happened when the technology the zine is using is no longer viable?"

Deena says, " I will have a series of chats on archiving over the summer and fall."

Jenley says, "Once archiving is digital in libraries, there is no difference between our content and a print periodical"

Edwin says, "But it's all about communicating and recording in any way you can."

Deena says, "Well, there is. It goes back to our earlier conversation about blending the imagery, text, sound, and structure. You can't really have the work without the technology behind it."

Margie says, "Not exactly true. Much of the material that was archived during the 80's won't play on any current machine."

Jenley says, "True Margie ... I have my first hypertext piece on an Amiga disk"

Deena thinks about the crumbling microfiches already and shudders.

Jenley says, "I didn't even know I was making hypertext"

Edwin says, "There'll be new memory technology, new storage media that can capture it. Bubble memory is about to make a comeback."

Deena says, "Ed, what is bubble memory?"

Margie says, "And think of the early Storyspace works, Hypercard, etc."

Jenley says, "What's bubble memory?"

Deena says, "We need to find a way to replicate the software in the new technology. Old program emulators or something"

Margie says, "and archiving of machines"

Jenley says, "We need that character in Neal Stephenson's new book who collects arcane tech"

Deena says, "I only hope that HTMl is simple enough to be stable..."

Edwin says, "It is a form of storage that has no moving parts, can hold more data per square millimeter than hard disk media or DVD, and will be produced cheaply soon."

Deena thinks about all the Mac Classics in her house to archive Marble Springs and other HyperCard works and smiles wryly

Edwin says, "It first came out 10 years ago, but was too advanced for anyone to implement (or utilize) at the time."

Jenley says, "aha ... Deena ... you're it :)"

Jenley says, "Let's all donate our out of date tech to an ELO repository"

Margie says, "Not my house, it's full enough of junk already!!!"

Edwin says, "I sent my Commodore 64 Portable to a computer museum."

Deena says, "Yes, can ELO keep a physical space for all this stuff? and will there be people even 100 years form now who can operate the machinery, fix it when it breaks, and keep the material alive?"

Edwin says, "Important questions."

Deena thinks about all the books of Kells that didn't make it through the centuries

Jenley says, "very"

Edwin says, "That is why I have a huge library of dead-tree books."

Jenley is thinking longingly of her colored pencils

ThinkDiffer arrives.

Deena says, "E-zines though are an important collection and place to archive."

Margie says, "ELO is probably not the organization to perform this function, a museum with climate-control, etc.would be the best place. But we could start talking up the idea"

Deena says, "Hi Think Differ, we are talking about ezines and their role in archiving the literature."

Margie says, "I know that some museums are doing this for electronic art--literature does not seem to have the same natural home, however"

ThinkDiffer says, "Hi Deena.. sorry I'm late, kinda messed up the time. could you fill me in on what's going "

Jenley says, "libraries??"

Deena says, "Do ezines help to provide a natural home for literature and other places?"

ThinkDiffer says, "on?""

Edwin says, "Think about the longevity of the book. I have a paperback from 1908 that is still readable, and a few other books from the 1800's."

Deena says, "Well, we have covered a lot of ground, from determining how to access materials to what audiences want out of ezines to how to find ezines to how to archive."

Jenley says, "Well ... then there's the fact that new books are being printed on paper that isn't going to last as long as ragstock or parchment"

Deena says, "Think Differ is from India, and may have an interesting slant on access"

Jenley spent some time at the SUNY Rare Books collection this spring

Jenley and that is an issue for print too

Edwin says, "Cheap paperbacks are being printed on cheap paper, but many others are not."

Margie has disconnected.

The housekeeper arrives to remove Margie.

Fjord_Guest says, "I am here again"

Jenley says, "not just cheap paperbacks ..."

Deena says, "Is it difficult in India to access the internet? Have ezines made a difference in getting literature out to people in India?"

Edwin says, "I think a lot of the books I am buying today will still be readable in 75 and 100 years. That's better than my CD ROMs."

ThinkDiffer says, "Well, the accessibility is progressively getting much better.. but the fact remains that literature is hardly viewed online.""

Deena thinks about her crumbling collection of 1920s cheap books and yes, they have lasted much longer than works from say the 80s.

Deena says, "Why do you think that literature is hardly viewed online?"

Edwin says, "A woman from China visited recently and told me that people there do not have big private libraries."

Jenley is listening

ThinkDiffer says, "Well, here in India.. for example, even on the site, the feedback we get centres always around the need for more interactivity and less text.. ""

Deena says, "How are archive issues handled in China? in India?"

Jenley says, "what site ThinkDiffer?"

Deena says, "Ahhh, so would it be better to move away from the ASCII text and go ahead and integrate sound, image, and structure?"

Deena says, "What do people mean by more interactivity?"

Deena says, "Yes, please share your URL."

Edwin says, "I think the interaction between text and images will bring more people to appreciate literature and art."

Deena says, "I think so too, Ed. And I think more people will have access to it, than say to Blake's llluminations"

ThinkDiffer says, "well, integrating sound, image and structure is fine, but won't that completely change the point of leaving it to the reader's imagination?""

Edwin says, "Right. Only with the ability to widely publish has Blake become popular."

Jenley says, "or tap new layers of imagination??"

ThinkDiffer says, "the URL is ""

Deena says, "Wow. I had never thought of it taking away from the imagination..."

Fjord_Guest says, "Steph says that Blake was not published in his lifetime"

Edwin says, "Wow. So he reached zero audience with his beautiful illustrated poems?"

Jenley says, "well it's kind of like, 'the book wasn't as good as the movie' isn't it?"

Jenley says, "I thought he self published??"

Edwin says, "Sometimes it's better."

Jenley says, "or other (re book, movie)"

ThinkDiffer says, "Jenley, i agree with that.. but still.. the whole point about literature is that it's read.. i mean, images, illustrations.. sure.. but basically, all text.. that's never going to change.""

Edwin says, "Amen."

Jenley mmmm never say never

ThinkDiffer says, "In this case Ithink I'll stick to never!""

Edwin says, "Actually, though, the WAY we read it changes. Used to be that writing had no meaning if it was not spoken aloud."

Deena says, "I don't know. I think the text will be there, but it will be mutated and shaped by its con-text, the images, etc."

Edwin says, "Yes."

Deena says, "Ed, yes, I think this goes back to the lingua visual that Reiner uses. We are learning to read/interpret in new ways."

Jenley needs to look something up

Edwin says, "It becomes richer, so long as the technology exists."

ThinkDiffer says, "so you think we'll evolve into literary comics?""

Deena says, "I think we have in a lot of ways. Look at Sandman."

Edwin says, "No. But hopefully there will be interaction between the media."

ThinkDiffer says, "sandman??""

Deena says, "Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics shows that the text and images in comics are in a spatial hypertext."

Deena says, "Sandman is a literary comic in the states written by Neil Gamon. Deals with Hamlet, angst, joy, other stuff."

Deena says, "Ed, I hope there will be interaction too."

ThinkDiffer says, "Multimedia is largely meant to deal with our ever shortening attention spans.. literature isn't, and ever has been..""

Jenley says, "Oh I hate that shortening attention span thing"

Deena says, "Hmmm... I think some multimedia actually requires more attention to see what is going on.."

Jenley says, "So painting is for shortened attention spans?"

Edwin says, "It has three-dimensionality."

Jenley says, "Visuality isn't literality"

ThinkDiffer says, "Agreed, Deena.. but don't you think it's just so you see much more in a shorter time frame?""

Fjord_Guest says, "Steph says that multimedia allows a reader to look at very little for a shallow experience, or to grasp the whole thing, a longer, much deeper experience is also available"

ThinkDiffer says, "Don't get me wrong.. multimedia as an art form, sure.. but literature, well, i have my doubts.""

Deena says, "Not really, often I have to go back and back again to see what is really there... and concentrate on the imagery, etc."

Jenley says, "Agrees with Deena and Margie"

Deena says, "Yes, Steph, I think the multimedia offers the range of levels from skimming to swimming."

Jenley says, "I hate it when the debate becomes text or not ... I just think it's limiting"

Edwin says, "I think we have yet to see a true genius artist working in hypertext."

ThinkDiffer says, "I agree with Ed on that one!""

Edwin says, "But look out when we do!"

Deena says, "Give us some time Ed. We've only been around 10 years :)"

Jenley says, "Everyone does keep saying that Edwin"

Jenley sends out the genius posse

Edwin says, "Personally, I have enough trouble marshalling my words alone."

Fjord_Guest says, "There is every reason why multimedia and literature can co-exist. It is not judicious to confuse the use of the media with the actual technology itself. Just because the web is largely commercial does not mean that image and movement cannot tell an interesting, intellectual story."

Deena says, "We need to fully understand what this media can do, and revel in it."

Jenley thinks this may be why having a lot of different ezines is important

Jenley thinks different editors relate to different forms of work

Deena says, "Jen, exactly. We need many different ezines, many different perspectives."

Edwin says, "Multidimensionality, networking..."

Jenley asks can we revel soon ???

Deena passes out the reveling glasses with large bowls of punch.

ThinkDiffer says, "Thats for sure.. the potential is still lying untapped out there""

Fjord_Guest says, "E-zines are doing a great job of showcasing the possibilities of literature in electronic form"

Edwin says, "It's time to break out the beer and wine. I think I'll go grab a cold one..."

Deena wonders quickly if she meant to pass out the revealing glasses.

Deena says, "Well, we should probably wrap up--We could go on forever with the rhapsodies of ezines.."

Jenley is feeling pretty typed out

Deena says, "But are there any last points we want to make, questions to answer?"

ThinkDiffer says, "The best part of the ezines are the reach.. that's where the electronic world scores over the printed.. accessibility...""

Jenley says it was nice to meet Ed and Differ ... enjoyed this

Deena hands out a huge sign thanking all the ezine editors of the world, but particularly her guests...

Fjord_Guest says, "Thank you so much, Ed and Jen for being here, and Marek, for joining us! and thinkdiff, interesting site!"

Edwin says, "Hey, I'm back with my Guinness."

Jenley has booked marked thinkdiffer

ThinkDiffer says, "I enjoyed my brief stay" ThinkDiffer hopes he can count on some contributions in the near future.. ""

ThinkDiffer says, "Thanks Jenley""

Deena says, "ThinkDiffer, we have these chats every other week, and the schedule is up at click on community."

Edwin says, "I will try to join in some of the future chats. I really enjoyed this."

Deena says, "Please come again :)"

Deena hangs out the eternal welcome mat

ThinkDiffer says, "yeah i sure will. and this time i might even be on time!""

Jenley smiles and poofs

Edwin says, "Cool!"

Deena says, "Would you like to be on the mailing list for future chats?"

Jenley has disconnected.

The housekeeper arrives to remove Jenley.

Edwin has disconnected.

The housekeeper arrives to remove Edwin.

Marek_Lugowski has disconnected.

The housekeeper arrives to remove Marek_Lugowski.

Deena says, "We will talk about art, archives, etc."

Fjord_Guest says, "Bye all thanks Deena!!!!"

Deena says, "Thanks Margie and Steph. Have fun in real space!"

ThinkDiffer says, "yes, Deena, I'd like that.. please keep the mail coming!""

Fjord_Guest has disconnected.

The housekeeper arrives to remove Fjord_Guest.

Deena says, "Great. I will send it on and look forward to seeing you in future chats. Please send on the messages. Is this a bad time in India? What time is it there?"

ThinkDiffer says, "it's just about 3 in the morning :)""

Deena says, "Sorry about that! OUCH. Well, I have looked at better times, and will try to change times around. The Wednesday ones are 2 am GMT, which may help..."

ThinkDiffer says, "actually this is kinda better.. don't worry.. will try to come around.. ""

Deena says, "Great. Thanks for coming, and good night."

ThinkDiffer says, "bye""

-- End log: Saturday, June 10, 2000 4:32:40 pm CDT

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