Re: from EduPage...

Fanderclai Tari (tari@UCET.UFL.EDU)
Tue, 25 Jun 1996 12:16:32 -0400

I think it's awfully easy to start thinking of these issues in terms of a
contest between print and electronic publications. That's a sure lose;
they aren't really the same thing, and we're all going to end up arguing
for the medium we like best--and likely the one that published the most of
our work. Better, I think, to emphasize the differences in a way that
portrays the two as complementary in some cases, and just plain two
different things in other cases. Prove that electronic publication is
valid, that it has something to offer that we don't already have with print
publications, and nevermind trying to prove it will save the world (and
stop thinking "when _CCCC_ goes electronic, that'll teach 'em!" What, we
can't create valid electronic publications without appropriating print
journals? Uh...).

BTW, I find it kind of amusing that we're talking about print snobbery and
elitism among the traditionalists. Don't we do a lot of the same
thing--suggesting that what they're doing is outmoded and inferior and
everyone should get online and learn the skills we already developed?
Heck, a lot of electronic publications have more gadgetry than content, and
a lot of them are all but inaccessible with the equipment found on the
desks of so many academics, particularly in the humanities. We all
like playing with new toys, and we all like feeling a little smug
because we know how to do something our
some-other-arena don't know how to do.

But it probably isn't going to help me make a case for acceptance of
electronic publications if, for example, I say to my friendly neighborhood
print-loving administrator, "Here's this journal _Kairos_ that's aimed at
people in our field," and then the journal appears on the screen going
"AHAHAHAHA you don't do frames????? You should upgrade your software, or
you can look at this substitute version of the journal instead of getting
the full experience." So now my administrator thinks you have to be some
kind of geek to even read the journal, and I'm feeling a little alienated
myself because I know what the message means, and I know we don't have and
can't afford the hardware we'd need to run the required software and dammit
I thought people like me were part of the audience for this thing.

I'm not saying you shouldn't push a few envelopes if you've got the means.
I'm just reminding us of how we might look from the other side.

Tari Lin Fanderclai
Boston, MA
Subvert the dominant paradigm.