4.1132 Humanist Access on the Nets (1/37)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Tue, 5 Mar 91 20:48:55 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 1132. Tuesday, 5 Mar 1991.

Date: Tue, 5 Mar 1991 09:17:02 IST
From: David Sitman <A79@TAUNIVM>
Subject: Who has access to Humanist?

In recent war-related discussions on Humanist, a few people claimed (or
at least hinted) that while Israelis have access to the net (and
therefore to Humanist), other areas involved in the conflict do not have
access. This is not true. While I am not aware of any e-mail access in
Iraq, there are actually 8 Bitnet nodes in universities in Saudi Arabia
and 3 in Kuwait (although the link from Kuwait to the outside world, via
Saudi Arabia, has been inoperative lately.) I checked the list of
Humanist members, and found that nobody from a Saudi or Kuwaiti node
belongs to Humanist, but I was surprised at the number of countries
which are represented. The vast majority of members are from the US,
Canada and the UK. Other countries represented include (apologies in
advance; I'm doing this from memory): Australia, Austria, Belgium,
Brazil, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Israel, Italy,
Japan, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan and Yugoslavia.

I wonder to what extent the distribution of Humanist membership reflects
the state of computing in the humanities throughout the world. Note that
there are several countries which are connected to Bitnet or its
affiliated networks which are not represented on Humanist (in addition
to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait): several Latin American countries, Greece,
Turkey, to name a few.

A Bitnet connection, however, is not required for Humanist membership,
of course. All that is needed is the ability to correspond via e-mail
with Bitnet or Internet, something that is possible from a large number
of regional and even commercial networks, so that many other countries
are potential Humanist markets (examples that come to mind are the Soviet
Union and South Africa).

I've noticed that in many countries, the first e-mail connections are to
technical institutions rather than large universities. Is it simply a
matter of time until e-mail access becomes available to the humanities?
Does Humanist require a higher level of verbal skill in English than
most computer- and science-related lists, which scares away prospective