[Bell Historians] Possible website project

Michael Wilby michael_wilby at y...
Sun Mar 10 11:47:04 GMT 2002

I also agree with the sentiments below. There are some important issues to address before running off and creating web sites that act in a rival manner to the RW - nothing preventing anyone doing this (sites like Bill's Sound of Bells are great and well aimed), but sober reflection on any venture is worthwhile. 
The RW has been around since 1911 and provides an extremely useful source of historical information. Long may it continue. There are a number of ringing-orientated websites around now - some good, some poor - all of which, Campanophile included, are a labour of love, and rely on the willingness of the owner to carry on without financial reward. Despite recent protestations to the contrary, I do not believe that the long term future of campanophile it secure - a change in circumstances with any of the owners/editors, and the whole project could be in jeopardy. Again, I think this would be a shame as the site is useful, though be no means comprehensive in its coverage and not appreciably growing either (story of most web ventures); it will probably level off at between 10 and 15% of all published Ps & Qs, if current trends elsewhere are to be believed (Bill may well correct me here!).
Working in the Web industry, as I do, I don't see any evidence of the web taking over from traditional forms of business just yet - there are too many people just "dabbling" on this free medium with no serious plan or idea of how to make their sites profitable and sustainable businesses - hence the dotcom bubble bursting, and the recent news that Amazon.co.uk have become the first dotcom ever to make a (relatively) small profit; never mind the billions already sunk there... 
The real difference we must recognise is that the RW is run as a (fairly successful, if marginal) business, the motivation for continuing is basically profit-orientated, with a bit of duty to the CC thrown in; all ringing websites are run by enthusiasts, the motivation being personal interest, and only a duty unto themselves and their small interest group. The latter will not provide a lasting (100 years +) alternative to the former in its current form.
The fact that the RW doesn't have much interesting information currently is down to 2 factors alone: 1) there is a reluctance on the part of authors to contribute, and 2) the editor doesn't write or source anything to fill the gaps. Everyone on this list is in a position to do something about the former, the CC/RW board can do something about the latter. The recent politics and "trouble" at the RW has very little to do with the content of the publication, if we are being honest.
In essence what I'm saying is by all means create a site to host bell-history articles, but don't do it to spite the RW. I reckon it would take surprisingly little to finish off the RW (and this has probably always been the case), and we would all be the much poorer for doing so. Such a site could be used as a benefit to all - encouraging research and authoring of papers, and then offering these to the RW periodically so that the vast majority of the exercise can gain access to them AND so that the work can be preserved in print in a location that future generations will expect to find it!

Chris Pickford <c.j.pickford at t...> wrote: I rather agree will Bill on most of this - past issues of the RW as a real
mine of useful information, loyalty to the paper, the permanence of the
printed word, but also the ability to publish in greater detail on the web.

The present RW guidelines are a bit restrictive, but the Editor does seem to
be willing to break his own rules for interesting material. We need to keep
submitting material - recognising that it may take time to appear, and
avoiding sending precious things that might get lost! The declining
subscription base is a problem, and I hope that most of us will continue to
support the RW by subscribing and by contributing material to attract and
interest readers.

I'm not a great web-watcher, and I don't spend much time crawling round
sites to see what's new - though I look at stuff if someone tells me about
it and if I'm interested. I therefore hope that if a site does get set up,
then it will include a system for notifying afficionados when new articles
get published.


----- Original Message -----
From: "oakcroft13" <bill at h...>
To: <bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Saturday, March 09, 2002 7:17 PM
Subject: [Bell Historians] Possible website project

> David Bryant:
> > future website project which I have in mind . . .
> > looking through back issues there seem to be
> > more articles on matters of bell history . . .
> > really very little in this line appearing.
> I'm a great fan of the RW. I have over 20 years of them in the attic,
> they are a very useful archive of information.
> When I set up my website, I considered publishing articles in the RW
> instead, and decided against it, on the basis that the subject was of
> restricted interest. I have never regretted this decision, the
> website has led to volumes of correspondence with people both in the
> UK and internationally who would never read the RW. And people who
> are not interested are free to ignore my stuff, I'm not taking up
> valuable pages in a general publication.
> Out of loyalty to the RW, I feel I should submit occasional articles.
> One job for this weekend is to adapt the paper I wrote on Taylor's
> adoption of true-harmonic tuning to fit the RW publication
> guidelines, and send it in. But then I ask myself why I should
> bother? Probably everyone who is really interested has already seen
> it (it has been read by 42 people since I posted it to the web). But
> if people don't keep sending in copy the RW will surely die.
> I think the clinching argument is that it is possible to publish far
> more infomation on the web than ever the RW would be able to carry.
> Bill H
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