9.586 dis-illusioning online publication

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Tue, 27 Feb 1996 21:23:22 -0500 (EST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 9, No. 586.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: Costis J Dallas <dallas@hol.gr> (45)
Subject: Re: 9.580 online publication

>>I find the key phrase here to be the last. The possibility of being
>>"on-line" simply does not exist in all the different institutions where
>>research is taking place. Of the 15 archaeological research institutes in
>>Athens, for example, only 5 were on-line as of the beginning of this year.

..... and Andrew Armour commented:

>Try as I may, I find it hard to believe that the "possibility of being
>'on-line' simply does not exist." ... And while a full SLIP/PPP connection -
>often with free Web publishing space - may not yet be as cheap as it is in,
>say, England (now as low as 100 pounds/year), they can hardly afford to
>remain in electronic isolation from the global academic community.
>Subscription to a CD-ROM-based dissertation distribution service - with the
>inevitable delay in accessing "new and innovative research" - would
>presumably be more expensive...

On the technical and financial issue, I more or less agree with Arthur
Armour. My 24 hour per day PPP account with Hellas On Line (one of the
leading Greek Internet providers) costs ca. 250 pounds per year, which is
not beyond reach for a research institution; a pseudo-SLIP account for 2
hours per day costs about half as much. Other Internet providers in Greece
offer similar packages, so one can shop around.

The main issue, however, is not one of cost or technical infrastructure.
Like the great majority of humanities institutions, archaeological schools
and institutes in Athens do not yet have the dedicated staff and digital
content that could make a network connection truly useful to their
constituency. Besides, only a minimal percentage of that constituency
(library readers, Greek archaeologists, visiting scholars in Athens) are

In my mind, electronic mail to colleagues abroad will not be an adequate
incentive for an online connection. The real issue lies with what
information will be available on line for scholars to use. Only when the
existing plan to connect the archaeological libraries of Athens to an OPAC
network materialises, there will be an essential reason for on line
connectivity. An additional incentive would be the emergence of local
resources such as photo archives in digital form, accessible over the
network; this, however, requires the prior resolution of legal and
institutional culture problems, such as the right of access to primary
information and the status of electronically published content. The
technical-financial issue (and the CD-ROM vs. on line debate) is probably
not the right hammer for this particular nail.

Costis Dallas
Dr. Costis J. Dallas <dallas@hol.gr>
20, Zephyrou Street, 145 63 Athens, Greece
voice-fax (+301) 80 84 193, voice 80 11 156