Gateways and electronic publishing
This text documents my experiences at the Gateways and Electronic Publishing Conference held a the University of New Brunswick, Fredricton, New Brunswick, Canada, October 22-25, 1995.
"Email from 37,000 Feet"
This is a test. This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This is only a test. In case of a real emergency you would be instructed to contact the nearest systems librarian. This is only a test.
Well, I somewhere over South Carolina or North Carolina climbing to an altitude of 37,000 feet and a Delta airplane enroute to Boston, MA. I am sending this note simply to see if I can be on the Internet from this high in the air. FTY, the on-board telephone costs $2.50 for a set up fee and $2.50/mintue while online, even for 1 800 numbers. To make matters worse, I think it may only communicate at only 2400 baud. Obviously, this won't (or hasn't been) easy.
Later the same day
Its now lataer the same day, and well, I didn't get to send you the message; my battery died before my mailer could send the message, but I did connect to the Internet from 37,000 feet.
This is turning out to be the travel adventure from h*ll. Three months ago I booked my flight from Raleigh, NC to Portland, ME. This was going to enable me to visit my brother for a day before the conference. After visiting my brother, I was going to drive from Portland to Fredricton, Canada.
Since then my brother broke up with his girl friend and moved back to Lancater with my parents. Consequently, there was little need to visit Portland. I proceeded to change my itinerary but discovered my ticket was unrefundable. I did reroute, but at an expense of $50 for exchanging one of my tickets, and now I am holding a bogus Delta Airline ticket worth $75 towards my next Delta flight.
To complicate matters, in order to fly to Fredicton, I have to fly Air Nova, an airline so small it does not show up on my travel agent's computer. Making numerous calls, I confirmed I could fly to Boston, MA on Delta Airlines from Raligh, but not without going south to Atlanta first. Furthermore, there was flight on Air Nova from Boston to Fredicton.
Today, the fateful day, arrived. I woke up to pouring rain, and took too long getting ready. I zoomed with my wife and daughter and caugth the plane at 7:20 AM, just in time.
As we approached Boston, the plane was put into a holding pattern causing us to arrive 30 minutes late. Again I zoomed, but this time off the plane in search of the Air Nova ticket counter. Fortunately, it was not too far away, but alas, I was too late. My plane left without me.
The just-hired ticket counter person was as helpful as he could be even though he described my encounter to a fellow employee as "being stuck with a passenger." After numerous questions and elimination of options, I got a late flight to Halifax, Nova Scotica and then the next morning getting a flight to Fredicton.
Planning ahead yet again I called more than 10 hotels trying to book a room in Halifax. I finally located one for a mere $100 where all I will do is sleep. My plane tomarrow leaves Halifax at 10:30 and arrives at noon, just late enough to miss the tourist trip for the speakers to a historic site. Thus, I will arrive at my destination 18 hours late, $100 dollars poorer, and most likely very haggard. (As you may or may not know, I don't handle stress very well.)
Now I am sitting here in the terminal waiting for boarding. The plane has arrived. It is not much bigger than the last plane I rode on where I filled one and a half air sickness bags. It's also raining. Joy.
To be continued...
The flight to Halifax was uneventful; I didn't get sick or anything, but niavate struck again upon arrival. Upon landing I discovered an "airport hotel." It was much closer to the airport than the hotel where I reserved a room. Consequently, I went there instead of my previously reserved hotel. Being the curtious person I am, I called the hotel to cancel my reservation whereupon they told me they were going to bill me anyway since they could have sold that room numerous times since my reservation.
Since my physical traveling was not going well, I desided to travel the Internet in search of MacPerl software. This time I was much more sucsessful. I traveled to Switherland a couple of time to get a few archives, and I went to Australia as well to get a few more. I plan to use the files I found abroad to learn more about MacPerl CGI scripting, write down what I learn, and add these writings to my book, Teaching a New Dog Old Tricks...
After a number of trying experiences in getting to Fredricton, I arrived Sunday around mid-day. I took the few hours before the speaker's dinner to briefly explore the town. At first glance, it was a refreshing change since Fredricton seems to have retained much of its historical buildings.
Fredricton is the captial of New Brunswick and thus hosts the province's legislative buildings. The barracks now occupy the original site of the oldest buildings of Fredricton. Lord Beaverbrook, a significant benefactor to Fredricton is promently displayed in a park. The Christ Church Cathedral was one of the more impressive churches in the town, but the hymn singing service was only attended by a handfull of people. City Hall and the Exhibition Center were interesting examples of Victorian architecture. The graveyard, established in 1784 foretells of the town's age.
Tesky, one of the main organizers of the conference and Directory of the UNB Libraries brought the meeting to order and welcomed attendees.
Visentin, Vice-President of Acaemic Affairs of UNB delivered an introduction and expressed excitment about the use of this technology.
Marshal, President of the Canadian Library Assoicataion welcomed the attendees, and gave the briefest of overviews of the Association.
Lynch described how we, as librarians, can start comming to terms with "webmania", and went through a number of guidelines for interfaces. He articulated the fragmentation of the literature comparing and contrasting online information and print information. Webbed interfaces to information exemplifies the same concept. He called for a program acting as a mediator application that: 1) lives on servers, not end-users computers 2) will be "smart" and know about your personal machine 3) will know about more not-public information information spaces. He attributed webmania because of fulltext; webmania provides instant gratification. He thingks Web interfaces are not mature, and gateway programs are not the answer; Web browsers do not provide quality/powerful services. Finally, he concluded that things are going to get more complex rather than less complex.
An employee of NSDG (Network Services Develeopment Group/Industry), Macaulay described two services he was instrumental in devloping. First, Champlain , a collection of Canadian government-related documents and servers. The other was Hudson , a directory serive helping people locate people within the Canadian government who are working in particular areas of expertise.
Iacovau, of the University of Minnnesota Gopher Team advocated a "spacial" representations of information. He exemplified this concept through gopher space with gopherVR. He then described Godot and gopherCluster, programs used to create these three-dimensional spaces.
Terry C. Noreault
Noreault, Director of Research at OCLC, described URNs (uniform resource names) and URCs (uniform resource characteristics or "metadata"), like GIS, the TEI Header, MARC. Last year at an invitation-only conference at OCLC, a number of elements were identified as common attributes for describing information across disciplines: subject, title, author, publisher, other agent, date, object type, form, identifier, source, language, coverage. He then whet on to compare and constrast various electronic journal formats. Lastly, he emphasised the ability to communicate in a enhanced manner is the goal of electronic publication.
Art Rhyno and Stephan Sloan
Ryno and Sloan of the University of New Brunswick are trying to bring library services to faculty's desktop. Library materials are an example, and they demonstrated these things. One of the more impressive demonstrated was the virtual pathfinder and VRML.
Holmes,the Director of the National Research Council (NRC) Research Journals, described the role of publishers in today's world: distributing paper as wel as enhancing the electronic medium. She shared how they are going to move from a print-based medium to a electronic medium. She was having trouble serving all aspects of her audience; some are computer literate and some are not. Additionally, her organization finds it difficult to maintain production schedules and managing change. Statistically parallel publishing cost 2-5% more with only save 18% savings in production. She advocates learning by doing and analysing who are the customers.
Lorrin R. Garson
Garson of the American Chemical Society described what the ACS is doing electronically. To a great extent, ACS is using the Web as a marketing vehicle, including elements of advertising in their service. He says the challenge is to improve the information. The use of color is an example. He describe a problem that publishers have a history they are working from making it difficult to change. In general, publsihers are publishing more pages. They have higher prices as well: paper, postage, inflation. first copy costs is 80% of costs.
Arie deRuiter, Tyson Macauley, Bob Gibson, Todd Kelly, Lorrin Garson, Jean-Claude Guedon
deRuiter of Elsevier described his company's future philosophy where there are document spaces where all articles are linked. Doing a lot of value added services. Macauleay advocates not charging for information that should be "free." He sees a need for making better use of email services. Gibson described what Micromedia was doing electronically. Kelly has been able to learn the perspective of a publisher. Garson did a bit a predicting: print+electronic will be available, few electronic-only titles will survive, electronic needs to be better than print, not much change for the types of publishers.
Eric Lease Morgan
I described the Mr. Serials Process in terms of its strengths and weaknesses, and I may have offended a few people in the audience since I advocated the reduction of libraries' dependency on print publishers and OCLC.
John B. Black
Black gave an overview, in general terms, of the things happening in library land. He advocated thatthe he fundamental roles of libraries are constant even though the technology changes. He exemplfied these ideas listing the various forms of information and technologies. At the same time there are number of challenges in librarianship. One of htem is he tide of user expectations. Another includes decreases in funding causing a fundamental constraint on what librarians do.
Tesky thinks electronic information is not going to solve library problems, and we, as librarians are facing the false impression that just because it is on the Internet the information is free. He says copyright was not an issue until mass creation of documents like rotary presses. He then went on to outline the CanCopy agreement (a Canadian copyright statement) and its implications. He looks forward to phase two of the copyright issues endorsements by the Canadian government.
Dr. Roy Bodin
Bodin outlined his association's and activities with Canadian Society of Higher Education, specifically the creation of a database containing some of the society's data. Bodin helps produce the Canadian Journal Higher Education. He then demonstrated CatchWord, a database of electronic journals.
Lord Beaverbrook Room
A friend of mine, Keith Morgan, told me to be sure to visit Lord Beaverbrook Room ("The Red Room") in the library. So I did. I was a nice, traditional looking library but unlike other such rooms, this one was filled with students. I was told later that some students to things in the back section of this room that aren't meant for public "display."
Robert Mckinney, John M. Haslip, Terry C. Noreault, Carl Grant, Grey Hawthorne, Dave Macneil
Hawthorne described the Sirsi client implementing the z39.50 and HTTP protocols. He mentioned the difficulties of developing client/server applications for large audiences. He compared and contrasted proprietory and public domain browsers. Grant of DRA listed advantages and disadvantges of clients and servers. He sees proprietary browsers and standards-based clients both having a place in the future of computing. Haslip says browsers are static and data oriented. Java will allow you to download applications over the 'Net thus providing a dynmaic browser. Noreault of OCLC described their position in the delivery of information and services. He sees z39.50 as a core server access tool but not for clients. "We need to build our service on standards but extend those services based on our extended clients." Mckinney sees browsers as the front ends to serivice like SPIRS and z39.50 servers.
John M. Haslip
Haslip, of Sun Microsystems , shared information about Hot Java and Java . Java is the creatin of James Gosling, a Canadian. It is a language similar to C++ but not quite, its object oriented, "problem constructs" have been removed (for example, it uses no pointers). The programs are architectually independent, has consistent data typing, has single source code wiht predictable behaviour.
Carl Snow, Cary Kerr
Snow and Kerr of Purdue University described their HTTP/WAIS/GPO gateway program .
Despite my travel difficulties in getting to Fredricton, this conference represented one of the better ones I have attended this year. It was well organized, small, focuses, and attended by people who had significant information to contribute.
Clifford Lynch gave gateways a bad name, sort of, and everybody was afraid to mention the word ever since he alluded to this idea. In a sentence, I suppose the questions about about electronic publishing is are still largely unanswered. For-profit print publishers are not going away and in the future they will most likey have libraries enter into contractual agreements in exchange for their "products" and in turn removing the copyright ambiguities. At the same time, projects exemplified by the work being done by David Seaman at the University of Virginia provide a ray of hope for the free or nearly-free dissemination of scholarly information.
Personnaly, I still don't understand why libraries and universities in general are not more agressive concerning these issues; I still don't understand why libraries just don't "say no" to the outrageous fees being charged for scholarly materials. From my point of view, if all of these things are driven by market forces, then why don't us libraries remove the market? Why don't we just stop subscribing to these services. I doubt these publishers have enough cash reserves to sustain themselves without any revue for one or two years. If libraries stop subscribing to these things, then scholars will have to find other outlets for their research. I would bet this outlet would be electronic publication. At that time, processes like the Mr. Serials Process could be used to collect these sorts of items and continue the tradition.
Scholarly information, in my opinion, should not be sold for profit. Selling this sort of information is short-sighted and hinders the advancement of learning. While copyright is intended to protect the intellectual rights of producers, in reality, it is endorsing the rights of publishers to sell information. If someone has an idea, whether it be a good one or not, they will express their idea, and in my opinion they will express their idea whether copyright exists.
Creator: Eric Lease Morgan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Source: This text was never formally published.
Date created: 1995-10-25
Date updated: 2004-11-24
Subject(s): Fredricton, Canada; publishing; travel log; Access;