7.0578 The Information Omniverse (1/76)

Sun, 20 Mar 1994 19:43:16 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 7, No. 0578. Sunday, 20 Mar 1994.

Date: Sat, 19 Mar 1994 14:50:33 -0600
From: orso steven n <sorso@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>
Subject: The Information Omniverse

The following review of a publication of interest to net-surfing scholars
recently appeared in the electronic journals that share the family name
*Bryn Mawr Reviews*. As its contents will be of interest to many on this
list, I am reposting it with the kind permission of the *BMR* editors.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

* * * * * * * * * *

ALSO SEEN: Gateways, Gatekeepers, and Roles

Ann Okerson and Dru Mogge, edd., Gateways, Gatekeepers, and Roles in the
Information Omniverse: Proceedings from the Third
Symposium (November 13-15, 1993). Washington DC:
Association of Research Libraries, 1994. ISBN 0-918006-73-
2. Pp. viii, 176. $24. Ordering information from osap@cni.org.

Noted by James J. O'Donnell -- University of Pennsylvania

The near-annual symposia on the present and future of
electronic scholarly publishing, co-sponsored by the
Association of Research Libraries and the American
Association of University Presses, are emerging as a well-frequented
and influential marketplace for ideas in a rapidly
changing environment. The proceedings of the Nov. 1992
symposium were printed and found an audience; those of the
1993 symposium are now available three months after the
event itself, still timely and refreshing.

The theme is pragmatic. What is happening, what will
happen next. There is particular interest for scholars in our
traditional disciplines here, signaled by a Kelmscott Chaucer
illustration on the cover, alluding to the presentation by Mary
Wack of her rivetingly successful Chaucer image/text database
project. Keven Kiernan similarly displays Beowulf MSS, and
the present writer found that he (miraculously) had a few
opinions left to share on historical issues illuminating the
present day.

But the range of topics is broad: discussion of copyright
issues from one university press publisher, economic analysis
from another, discussion of the nitty-gritty of "going
electronic" by the publisher of Encyclopedia Britannica (due
out shortly with a networked text-only EB for campus use),
and descriptions of numerous current experiments. (The
project MUSE journals enterprise at Johns Hopkins, for
example, is described here; for those with Mosaic access,
http://muse.mse.jhu.edu/ takes you to a serious attempt at
putting full text of three JHU-published journals, with search
capacities, on the network along with images.

The book is worth a detour for many, but it is enhanced by
electronic availability of parts. If you gopher to arl.cni.org,
you may inspect the following items: a detailed summary
(also in the printed book) of the proceedings of the whole
symposium, the table of contents of the printed book, two of
the keynote papers (one by the present writer, the other by
cyberpunk sci-fi writer Bruce Sterling), and as a bonus the full
text of Sterling's entertaining study of real life crime,
punishment, and other misadventures in cyberspace, published
by Bantam as *The Hacker Crackdown*.

A USNews cover story a few weeks ago quoted one pundit saying that
story a few months ago the words of one pundit opining that
"For many people, the network revolution has already
happened." 'Tis true, and this is one good snapshot,
addressing the intellectual and institutional concerns of the
academic, of what it has done and what it will do. Traditional
publishing is in deep trouble; alternatives loom, but what we
will make of them is far from clear.