9.692 article in AM; MonoConc released

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Thu, 4 Apr 1996 21:19:46 -0500 (EST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 9, No. 692.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@utoronto.ca> (37)
Subject: whatever happened to the global VILLAGE?

[2] From: Michael Barlow <barlow@ruf.rice.edu> (8)
Subject: Concordance program

Date: Thu, 4 Apr 1996 07:40:42 -0500
From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@utoronto.ca>
Subject: whatever happened to the global VILLAGE?

Humanists will be interested to note the article by James Fallows,
"Navigating the Galaxies: New programs are trying to make sense of the
uncodified information on the Internet", in the online version of <cite>The
Atlantic Monthly</cite> (http://www.TheAtlantic.com/). I note with amusement
his claim that, "The most popular online discussion forums tend to be not
purely democratic but quasi-authoritarian in spirit, with an active "Sysop"
(systems operator) who both steers and stimulates debate."
Quasi-authoritarian? Me??? If he really means "quasi" ("(A) kind of;
resembling or simulating, but not really the same as, that properly so
termed", OED s.v. 2a), then perhaps the sentence is not so bad. I think our
perfectly good terms "editor" and "moderator" are much closer to the mark
than "sysop" and remove the need for the imputed authoritarianism, quasi- or

But I avoid Fallows' point, that "Precisely because no one can keep up with
all the discussion groups, all the new Web sites, and all the online
libraries, people who will do preliminary screening and point others toward
promising sites have an increasingly valuable service to sell." In academic
terms, this would seem to indicate the need for refereeing.

Fallows picks up something that we have worried quite a few times: "Reading
from even the
nicest computer screen is so unpleasant--and the expectation is so strong
that the computer will always be doing something more active than just
displaying text--that computers will remain better suited to jumping from
topic to topic than to the sustained intellectual, artistic, or emotional
experience that print can provide." Perhaps one or more humanists who number
themselves among the proponents and lovers of hypertext-fiction, and perhaps
some others, would care to comment. As the co-editor of a online refereed
series, I'm more than a bit ambivalent about this, but I myself certainly
print out anything I want seriously to read, and I note that once printed
out the more effectively electronic (i.e. hypertextual/-medial) the
document, the less sense it tends to make in printed form. Does this mean a
new style of writing is being urged on us?

Fallows makes several other interesting points. Demands of the day, not the
medium, urge me to stop here.



Date: Thu, 4 Apr 1996 08:43:15 -0500
From: Michael Barlow <barlow@ruf.rice.edu>
Subject: Concordance program

MonoConc for Windows, a easy-to-use concordance program, is now available.
The program provides searching and simple frequency information.

A demo can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.nol.net/pub/users/athel/Win/monoconc/

For more information contact me or send mail to athel@nol.net.

Michael Barlow
Michael Barlow (barlow@ruf.rice.edu)
Dept of Linguistics Home page: http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~barlow/
Rice University Athelstan: http://www.nol.net/~athel/athel.html