Chat Transcript: September 16, 2001

University presses and electronic literature: where does new media literature and electronic publishing fit in the long standing traditions of academic presses? We'll meet with a representative from the Association of University Presses, Virginia Tech Press, and Project Gutenberg to discuss:

Dr 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.

The 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 emerging with new technologies.

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.

Related Links


- Start log: Sunday, September 16, 2001 2:51:53 pm CDT MazThing pops in.

][mez][ says, "Heya maz"

GregNewby sticks his tongue out at the archivist

MazThing smiles quietly in greeting to all assembled

Andrew Oldham says, "Hi Maz"

Deena the archivist sticks his tongue back at Greg and shakes ink all over him...

Deena 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 site"

Andrew Oldham says, "Let's dive in, eye goggles available for all"

Everdeen arrives.

Andrew Oldham says, "Hi Everdeen"

Everdeen says, "Hello all"

][mez][ says, "Greetings EVD:)"

Deena says, "Hi Everdeen, mez maz, helen, all"

Everdeen says, "Greenings mez :)"

Inna says, "Shall we start?"

][mez][ says, ":)"

Deena says, "We are going to talk about electronic literature electronic publishing and academia today... shall we start with introductions?"

Greg Newby nods

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Ok"

I nna says, "Sure"

Deena says, "Just jump in and introduce yourselves..."

Deena 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."

Greg 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."

Greg Newby waves to everyone

Andrew 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."

Andrew Oldham says, "They are wrong...very wrong."

Inna says, "My name is Inna, I'm from Russia and I'm a sociologist. I study different electronic media, esp. hypertext."

Deena 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."

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Jeremy Hunsinger-Center for Digital Discourse and Culture, working on establishing an electronic academic press"

Helen says, "I'm Helen Whitehead, from trAce , writer, editor, promoter of digital writing at Nottingham Trent University."

][mez][ is an international net.wurk artist [see:] and avataristic author of the networked "Mezangelle" system

kjscott says, "Karen, author and co-founder of Puff Adder Books, epublisher.""

Deena 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. "

Helen says, "Deena, I believe I used to work with Dr Rowland in a previous life as editor of an online chemistry abstracts service"

Deena says, "Terrific, Dr. Rowland should feel right at home..."

Greg Newby says, "Fytton did a chapter for a book on Scholarly Publishing I edited a few years ago..."

Inna says, "Can you give a name of that book, Greg Newby?"

Greg Newby says, "Inna: 'Scholarly Publishing, the electronic frontier. edited by Peek & Newby" '

Inna says, "Thanks :) Greg Newby"

Feathers 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..."

Deena says, "Feathers, all feel free to jump in, it is great when we have questions and answers and fun..."

MazThing says, "Pauline Masurel, fiction writer, only real contact with matters academic is as a consumer of continuing education."

Inna says, "Nice to meet all you, people."

Everdeen says, "Everdeen Tree, former librarian, Latin teacher/ now webwriter."

Deena says, "I'm Deena Larsen, confirmed hypertext addict and nominal chat host--thrilled to be with all you impressive people today!""

Helen says, "I have been working in the provision of online information since 1984 and am now as interested in online literature and art."

Everdeen smiles at Helen...chemistry and law were really the first fields .

Deena says, "Greg, can you fill us in on Project Gutenberg and what you are up to lately?" Deena shares a URL for Project Gutenberg <>

Greg 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)."

Greg Newby says, "That's the current status, except for the organizational overview:"

Deena says, "Greg, how do you decide what to transcribe and who transcribes it?"

Greg 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."

Helen says, "Is it copyright free for teaching purposes?"

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "I use it frequently in my classes, Helen."

Greg 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 Stirling's Hacker Crackdown)"

Inna says, "And who decides how to mark-up?"

Greg 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."

Greg Newby says, "Also, we STILL try to a plain ASCII version for everything. There are essentially no exceptions to this."

Inna says, "I think that most of e-literature is still like paper analogs concerning ASCII."

Jules_Shannon arrives.

Deena 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?"

Helen says, "I am studying copyright on the Web in online courses for a University project."

Greg 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."

Helen says, "Greg, that sounds good... always looking for good stuff to teach writing online with (sorry bad grammar)"

Greg Newby says, "Helen, copyright is fascinating and disappointing! Michael Hart and I are experts in copyright, of necessity."

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Really, I've done some research on intellectual property in online education"

Helen says, "Jeremy, Greg, we will have to communicate about copyright later!"

Andrew Oldham says, "How long is the average process of conversion to etext?"

Greg 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."

Molde Guest arrives.

Deena says, "Jeremy could you tell us a bit about the Center for Digital Discourse and Culture (CDDC)?" Deena shares a URL <>.

Jeremy 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."

Deena says, "Jeremy, how do you reproduce that academic review system?"

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "We modeled it upon double and single blind review systems, so people would have a recognizable model that they could work with."

Andrew Oldham says, "Copyright is a minefield"

Deena 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?"

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Well copyright has changed significantly in regards to publishing and we are due for another major change in the near future"

Greg 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."

Andrew Oldham says, "What response has this had?"

Deena says, "Greg, what are any incentives to making this material available?"

Greg Newby says, "Incentives to making PG available, Deena? OR any electronic published work?"

Deena says, "Any electronic published work..."

Margaret arrives.

Deena says, "Hi Margaret, we are discussing copyright issues and emerging issues at the Center for Digital Discourse and Culture..."

Greg 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 other policy."

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Very true Greg."

Helen says, "Do you think libraries and writers are on "opposite sides" re copyright?"

Andrew Oldham says, "They always are on opposite sides."

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "I think libraries are on the same side as writers have traditionally been"

Greg 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."

Greg 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."

Inna says, "And what is your answer, Greg Newby?"

Deena 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? "

Greg 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."

Deena says, "Yes, Greg and Jeremy, how are we determining what is quality and ensuring quality electronic publications?"

Jeremy 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."

Andrew 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".

Deena says, "We have some participants who create electronic journals--what do you guys do to ensure quality? And to get around this snobbery?"

Greg 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. "

Andrew Oldham says, "How many hard copy papers do we know or even mags that have forgone the expense of realtime publishing for web publishing?"

Jeremy 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. "

Helen says, "But digitising print materials - even with annotations -- is quite different from making available works CREATED fo the digital medium"

Deena 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..."

Andrew 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"

Deena says, "Andrew, is that a rhetorical question about the expense of hard copy vs. electronic?"

Helen 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"

Deena 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..."

Greg 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)."

Andrew Oldham says, "I accept academics prefer electronic publishing but it still hasn't got through to many writers"

Deena says, "Yes, Andrew all how do we deal with peer reviews that think this is inherently a "Lesser medium"?""

Greg Newby says, "Andrew, part of the issue is HOW people like to read. Also, the sort of access to materials they get with different media."

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."

Deena says, "Jeremy, what kind of inroads have you made in recognizing electronic efforts as valid? and how can we make more inroads?"

Jeremy 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."

Andrew Oldham says, "In the last 12 months I have seen a revolution in the quality of work getting published by e-zines, mags etc"

Deena says, "Andrew, what is behind this revolution, do you think?"

Inna says, "Peer reviews shouldn't concern the media, it's about content."

Deena cheers Inna and starts chanting "Content, content, content !!!!"

Andrew Oldham says, "Inna, but when peer groups inherently see the web as an area of less repute, they acquaint it with less quality."

Deena hands round loads of content-laden cookies and lemonade

Andrew Oldham says, "I think, Deena, that the amount of publishers turning to the e-publishing."

Greg 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."

Deena says, "Greg do you see an interest in PG increasing as electronic readers become easier and cheaper to use?"

Greg Newby says, "Ezines and magazines are largely orthogonal to scholarly journals and books..."

Molde_Guest 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, "

Greg Newby says, "Interest in PG has gone up steadily."

Deena says, "Right, it seems as though we are dealing mostly with perceptions of quality rather than quality itself"

][mez][ 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?"

Greg 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...""

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "I agree, with Greg that zines, etc. have different millieus(sp)"

Deena says, "Andrew, perhaps as more publishers turn to epub and it becomes more mainstream these reputation questions will go away on their own?"

Andrew 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"

Andrew Oldham says, "But it does come down to how we read, we see the computer as a tool of commerce"

Deena says, "Andrew--how will this be a problem? Is it that as more is published, we get a wider variety of quality?"

Andrew Oldham says, "Peer criticism, Deena, the very problem in Literature in the UK"

Greg 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."

Helen says, "Greg, this is worrying"

Deena says, "Helen, what is worrying?"

Helen says, "Worrying = Greg's "Byzantine licensing provisions" I don't think it's the answer to scholarly publishing"

Deena says, "Right, it is a question of how we read and how we get that material--how we make it available "

Greg 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 stuff...."

Deena says, "Jeremy, what issues does the Center for Digital Discourse and Culture see in availability online and copyrights?"

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Yes, but fair use is seemingly a different thing when books are considered software"

Deena says, "Jeremy, how is fair use seen differently in the electronic medium than in print and hard copy?"

Jeremy 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"

Jules_Shannon says, "MIT is making huge amounts of courseware available... is this being covered by some Digital Rights Management?"

Deena says, "Jules, do you see MIT as a precedent?"

Greg 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. "

Molde_Guest says, "But isn't web publishing an opportunity to bypass the normal filters of publishing and distributing mechanisms?"

Deena 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 pubbing?"

][mez][ 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..."

Greg 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!"

Jeremy 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."

Helen says, "Portals = publishers = reputation = trusted content""

Greg Newby says, "Jeremy, that's the ideal situation. In fact, fair use has been completely revoked by the DMCA for nearly all digital media."

Helen says, "DMCA?"

Greg 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 for some basic info."

Jules_Shannon says, "I see MIT setting a personal precedent that says "Knowledge should be made available" before we mandate the Digital Rights Management"

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "I agree, authority is a key issue"

Deena says, "Exactly Greg, how do readers know what to read and what is accurate when anyone can publish?"

Greg 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."

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Yes, which fits back with my comment on books=software"

Deena says, "Yep. authors are more interested in accessible works rather than renumeration--it doesn't seem like we can have both"

Helen 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"

Greg Newby says, "Helen, the DMCA is being spread about the world via WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization and related treaties."

Deena says, "Helen, all, any ideas on how we can preserve fair use yet still compensate authors for their work?"

Helen 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.""

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "But the thing is that most practitioners don't follow the DMCA, though profit incentives will change that"

Inna says, "Sorry but I need to go, bye to all, it was (is) really interesting" Greg Newby waves to Inna. ][mez][ says, "Cya inna" Deena says, "Inna thanks so much for coming!" Inna says, "Thank you Deena, bye"

Deena says, "We had a business chat last summer on these issues--how to make a living while writing..."

Jules_Shannon says, "Icopyright has some interesting stuff in their business model"

Jules_Shannon 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!"

Andrew Oldham says, "The e-publishing industry is still very new, an infant, on the other end of the scale there is the legacy of books, of

real 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 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."

Molde_Guest 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"

Andrew Oldham says, "But not to some."

Deena 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?"

Geiranger_Guest arrives from Courtyard

Deena 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."

Deena hands round permits and authorities to uncontrol information.

Greg 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."

Deena hands round more creaky cookies and punch.

Jeremy 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 open"

Helen 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 frAme)"

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "We have to get some model of remuneration for the production of 'public goods" first, but then like you have other problems"

Deena says, "Jeremy, what models of renumeration do you foresee?"

Jeremy 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"

][mez][ 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 implemented that reflects this, rathere than try 2 emulate a dead-tree publishing mentality..."

Andrew Oldham says, "But what happens when the academic both has private iinterests in writing and scholarly writing, different ball park?"

Deena says, ""Mez, all, what future trends do you see in these fields?

Do 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?"

Greg Newby says, "Deena, other issues include archiving, authentication (making sure you get the TRUE version) and what we mentioned before: quality."

Deena 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"

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Popular enough to generate income, but then that is why universities underwrite academic publishing to a great extent"

Jules_Shannon says, "Thus a plus for DRM and Icopyright and other places that could provide "Authenticity" control."

Deena says, "Greg, how is PG addressing authentication? "

Greg 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."

Helen 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"

Deena says, "How do we provide authenticity--and let readers know which sites are authentic?"

Andrew Oldham says, "Quick question will universities endorse publications on the internet?"

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Yes, universities will, and some do already in certain cases"

Jules_Shannon says, "By paying for a doc you can determine where you got it and perhaps authenticate."

][mez][ 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 and accessibility..."

Deena says, "Mez, what is rt-publishing?"

][mez][ says, "Real-time publishing "

Greg 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."

Deena 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 we will get to a point where people just know which sites are peer reviewed?"

Greg Newby says, "Authenticity is not hard, but making it convenient is. Your Web browser has lots of capability to verify content (e.g., SSL)."

Deena says, "Greg, what is SSL?"

Greg 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)."

Andrew 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?"

Greg Newby says, "Universities can find other ways to make money."

Deena says, "Jeremy, all, will there be different standards for confirming publications for hard copy and for electronic pub?"

Jeremy 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."

Molde_Guest says, "Author, authority, authenticity, authenticate."

Deena solemnly hands round author and authority badges to all.

Helen says, "Andrew: the costs of producing the etexts should be less, so the cost to the students less: but resale would be more of a problem!"

Andrew 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"

Deena says, "So there are hidden economic agendas in terms of paying for content..."

Jeremy 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."

Deena says, "Are security systems like SSL used in online journals and scholarly pubs?"

Greg 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 profitting by selling (required) laptops to all freshman students."

Deena 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 Review Web?"

Jeremy 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. "

Greg 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."

Andrew Oldham says, "But there are certain courses that won't want to do that, such as Literature and Drama"

Greg 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."

Deena 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..."

Greg Newby says, "Deena, electronic media is the fastest growing portion of library budgets, at least at Research I universities like UNC-CH."

Deena 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."

Jeremy 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"

Greg Newby says, "We spent $50,000 just for access to one database last year (I can't remember whether it was Infotrac or something else...)."

Jules_Shannon says, "Print on demand might solve some of this... it ties into e-pubs, too, surely. Just because it is digital does not preclude print."

Feathers says, "Purely from the students' point of view, the required reading texts would always be available in an online archive ..."

Greg 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)." "

Greg Newby says, "So, they move forwards... "

Deena 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..."

Jules_Shannon says, "The problem stems from the inherent "Ubiquity" of the content..."

Jeremy 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"

Andrew Oldham says, "Jeremy, maybe it's the readdressing of print cross combined with e-publishing."

The housekeeper arrives to remove Molde_Guest and Margaret. The housekeeper arrives to cart Helen off to bed.

Deena says, "The field is changing so rapidly."

Andrew Oldham says, "And change is a good thing."

Deena 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?"

Greg Newby says, "Deena: give stuff away."

Greg Newby says, "Not restrict it."

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Yes, I agree, give stuff away"

Deena says, "Greg, how will giving stuff away and not restricting it help provide the access and the authentication?"

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "But the secret is to give stuff away that is of very high quality"

Andrew Oldham says, "And how do we define high quality?"

Deena says, "Right. and WHO defines high quality?"

Greg Newby says, "This doesn't mean no 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."

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Thus creating a new intellectual economy, where the authors must pursue, this field"

][mez][ says, "X.actly, deena, the WHO is the killer ][app][ qs..."

Deena hands round pies and cakes and makes sure that each person has one designed especially for their tastes...

Deena says, "How did these journals and book publishers get their authority in the first place?"

Greg 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."

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "High quality will be determined by the discipline, but it can be coopted by good editors, good reviewers, and similar processes"

Greg Newby says, "Jeremy and I are on the same wavelength, clearly."

Andrew 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?"

Deena 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?"

Greg 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."

Andrew Oldham says, "Darwin for a kick off"

Deena hands round footballs with Darwin's face on them...

Jules_Shannon says, "Never forget that unpopular ideas often turn out to be correct, too."

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "That is why archives exist Jules, to preserve all sides of the intellectual tradition"

Deena 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?"

][mez][ says, "Jeremy, I have a distinct problem with some of the terminology that pre-supposes that these qualities are s.sentially

pre-fixed..."Good" editors, reviewers etc...shouldn't "Good" b x.amined heavily to reflect an evolving /floating medium??"

Andrew Oldham says, "The idea of quality sticks in my throat"

Greg 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 press."

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Oh, academic disciplines hardly ever agree internally on quality except in broad terms."

Deena hands round throat unstickers..but thinks about it...has never been able to define quality

Deena throws round Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance chataquas instead.

Greg 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"

Andrew Oldham says, "But how do you do that objectively, look at the heritage of real-time publishing"

Jules_Shannon says, "And more publishers with more content makes it harder to patrol and determine quality..."

Deena says, "So, we are going to just import long-standing disagreements into the electronic realm..."

][mez][ says, "Looks like it deena."

Jeremy 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."

Andrew Oldham says, "Deena, exactly, the argument will always remain the same, it just changes fields."

Andrew Oldham says, "It expands to the point that one day it might be answered."

Deena looks askance at all the long standing arguments sneaking into the electronic realm.

Greg 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."

Andrew Oldham says, "Ah, but then there are readers."

Jules_Shannon says, "Even if it is inaccurate or wrong ;^)*"

Andrew Oldham says, "And cultural quality."

Deena says, "So we import the peer review structure, security layers, and attempt an archive so we can preserve the quality when we see it..."

Greg Newby says, "With epubs, quality is what we agree has high quality... and the Internet lets us do it faster and better. "

Jeremy 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."

Deena says, "Right, Andrew, how do we direct readers to what is quality?"

Jules_Shannon says, "Beefing up education and teaching Critical Thinking, all around!"

Deena says, "Jeremy, will these databases help show what is cited and thus create at least a numerical criteria for quality?"

Deena thinks about everyone citing poor studies and shudders...

Greg 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 nyone could become popular based on the quality of what they're doing."

Andrew 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."

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "That was the goal, but I don't really believe that judgement can be rationalized like that."

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "But we direct people to quality every day of our lives, Andrew."

Andrew Oldham says, "Then how did TV come about?"

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "TV plays on the same principles in a different medium."

Deena 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..."

Jules_Shannon says, "It's called Branding. I read Washington Post, he reads Newsweek..."

Andrew Oldham says, "But what about quality?"

Jules_Shannon says, "Don't go to the FOX network to see something you want on PBS."

Andrew Oldham says, "Precisely."

Bill Bly arrives. Deena says, "Hi Bill, we are talking about who you can trust and how you can determine quality online..."

][mez][ says, "Greg, can u cite any online literature refs metaphorically? that migh n.hance yr cred a little;)"

Greg Newby says, "Huh, mez? You mean, instead of fiction and philosophy? How about Peek & Newby, Eds. 'Scholarly Publishing: The Electronic Frontier.' 1986: MIT Press."

][mez][ 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..."

Greg 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."

Jules_Shannon says, "What we are doing is creating the space and aligning ourselves with Brands and Others who Think Like We Do."

Andrew Oldham says, "Anyway TV plays to demographics, not quality but quantity."

MazThing 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."

Andrew Oldham says, "Precisely."

Andrew Oldham says, "It becomes elitist."

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Quality may be observed as the targeting of micromarkets by certain discursive systems, TV is just larger markets"

Bill Bly says, "Gimme a sec, I gotta put my groceries away."

Jules_Shannon 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..."

Greg 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."

Jules_Shannon says, "But more money is generated to get more people to go through and e-publish the "Good" stuff... in a reputable place..."

Andrew 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"

Andrew Oldham says, "It's a mass marketing tool."

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "That is what academic publishing does too, Andrew, but the demographics are just smaller and more specialized."

Andrew Oldham says, "But it doesn't answer the quality question."

Jules_Shannon says, "And we are seeking to blow the doors open by applying a mass medium to it..."

Andrew 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?"

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "In a way it does, it makes the argument that quality is determined by increasing specialization, TV doesn't lack quality."

Greg Newby says, "Oh oh, we're almost going to turn into pumpkins. Or coaches or fieldmice, or whatever."

Jules_Shannon says, "And I don't think e-pubs are going away. I think it will make us work harder to discern and find quality."

Jules_Shannon says, "Among soo much content!"

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "It is just that TV isn't the highest quality medium."

Andrew 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"

Jules_Shannon says, "But I think that the consolidation of quality work on to fewer sites will be happening to help people."

Jeremy 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."

Greg Newby says, "If you don't like a PG your own (or send correction). That's how the collection becomes better. Sort of like open source software, really."

][mez][ 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"

Jules_Shannon says, "PG is a "Consolidated site" we know where to send the corrections... that is a giant help..."

Greg Newby says, "Jules, we do dozens of corrections every week. I just did some before the MOO..."

Greg 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."

Jules_Shannon says, "That is exactly why PG and Universities and other sites are so much better than just "Surfing" to find stuff..."

Deena has disconnected.

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "I guess it depends on what kind of "Stuff""

Greg Newby says, "Jeremy, convenience is still a really huge factor. That's part of why we turn to CNN... or Elsevier..."

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Yes"

Greg 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 mass media)."

Feathers says, "I believe that word of mouth also comes into play. I check many websites on the recommendation of other people."

Andrew Oldham says, "Interesting, Greg, that we turn to things for convenience but does that mean we get the correct information?"

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "There are also other things tied to journal production, such as editorial wages, etc. that undermine the openness"

Jules_Shannon says, "And it depends on your level of expertise... the big thing is having access to author or source...."

Jules_Shannon says, "So each person can evaluate, participate, make decisions."

Andrew Oldham says, "That is really important"

Greg Newby says, "Andre, 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."

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Yes, Jules"

Jules_Shannon says, "I think, aside from money, this is the aim of DRM"

Greg Newby says, "'Good enough' is another important concept, up there with convenience."

The housekeeper arrives to remove Geiranger_Guest.

Jules_Shannon says, "Good enough is definitely important -- in Lit. is one thing, in cutting edge research, different."

Greg 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."

Jeremy 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."

Andrew 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."

Greg Newby says, "I agree with Jeremy....DRM may be great, or it may fizzle. "

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "There is a significant difference for the center to be able to use something and to have to pay to use something"

Greg Newby waves to Andre

Jules_Shannon says, "I think setting up the environment by which we learn to even grapple with the issues is very cool. Thanks all..."

Greg Newby nods to Jules

][mez][ 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."

Everdeen says, "Thanks all byeeeeee"

The housekeeper arrives to remove Andrew Oldham, Everdeen, ][mez][, kjscott and MazThing.

Jules_Shannon says, "I will look for more of this... bye to all!"

The housekeeper arrives to cart Deena off to bed.

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Well it looks to be about that time"

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Last questions?"

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Anyone"

Greg Newby says, "Hmmm..."

Greg Newby says, "It's been fun, Jeremy"

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Yes, it was"

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Got a bit fast for me there, strangely unlike IRC"

Greg Newby says, "The fastest typist wins, like in IRC.."

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "So are you in ALIST and heading up to dc for that?"

Greg Newby says, "I think Deena had some pre-pared questions. "

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Yeah she did"

Greg Newby says, "I'll be at ALIST, but just for a day or so. You?"

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "She was supposed to spring them on us 30 minutes before"

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "I'm considering it"

Greg Newby says, "(Doing a poster session about IR on Monday)"

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Yeah, monday looked like it would be a cool day"

Greg Newby says, "ALIST Is a great conference... the hotel is very nice but super-expensive."

Greg Newby says, "Well, I guess I'll split too. Bye for now""

Jeremy 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"

Jeremy Hunsinger says, "Ok c ya"

The housekeeper arrives to remove Greg Newby, Jules_Shannon, Jeremy Hunsinger, Bill Bly, Feathers.

Deena arrives.

Deena dusts herself off from her long fall from the internet to find everyone gone...

-- End log: Sunday, September 16, 2001 4:08:51 pm CDT


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