9.153 networked information

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Wed, 13 Sep 1995 20:14:53 -0400 (EDT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 9, No. 153.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)

[1] From: Donald Spaeth <dspaeth@dish.gla.ac.uk> (40)
Subject: Humanities networking requirements

Thanks to everyone who sent me comments about networked
information requirements for the humanities. These
comments proved very useful in highlighting issues for the
JANET support staff to whom I was speaking. I'm not sure
they wanted to hear about the humanities, but it will have
done them good! The fact that these are the views of
several users should mean that they have more impact than
if they were just from me.

Here are the comments I selected for the talk:

- `sometimes it takes too long to actually access certain
web pages and this means that I am unable to delve into
them once accessed'

- `It dangles the prospect of an Aladdin's cave of riches
in front of one, but the amount of time that can be wasted
trying to locate and recover documents can be substantial'

- At the moment it is ... complete chaos ... it seems like
we are having two thousand city-maps for a village of just
a few houses'

- `It's difficult ... to gauge the academic worth of many
sites since any one can 'publish' anything they please on the

- `what really IS needed is a system of directories to archival sources'

By the way, one of the most frequent complaints was about
the slowness of the Web. This is primarily a problem
between regions rather than within them. Effectively each
region (eg, the UK, Europe, and North America) is an
island. According to a UKERNA (UK networking) report, the
capacity of the 'fat-pipe' connecting the UK and the US was
doubled from 2 Mbits to 4 Mbits in June, and it was hoped
they would be able to add another 8Mbits later in the
summer. This won't be enough, of course, but it should
lead to improve response at least temporarily.

Dr Donald A Spaeth
School of History and Archaeology
University of Glasgow
1 University Gardens
Glasgow G12 8QQ
United Kingdom

Tel: 0141 330-4942 Fax: 0141 330-5518
E-mail: dspaeth@dish.gla.ac.uk