[Bell Historians] Library Committee's learned journal

Carl S Zimmerman csz_stl at s...
Thu Apr 10 20:35:29 BST 2003

At 13:34 +0100 on 2003/04/10, Anne Willis wrote:

> The Bellhistorians website
>may be an answer, but this is only a limited audience. Is there perhaps
>scope for collecting and indexing such articles so that people are aware of

Three points:

1) The Bellhistorians Website has a limited audience because access 
to it is restricted to those who are current subscribers to this List 
_and_ who have signed up as a member of Yahoo Groups (presumably 
using the same email address as that with which they are subscribed 
to the List). Not having taken the second step, I have no access, 
for example.
However, unrestricted Websites (several of which are maintained 
by other subscribers, including myself) have a worldwide audience. 
Regardless of how little they are publicized, anyone who has access 
to the World Wide Web and has learned how to use a search engine can 
find them. (Point Google at "tower bells supersite", for example. 
;-) This is a far larger potential audience than any printed matter 
(learned journal or otherwise) can hope to reach--a great advantage 
of publishing on the Web.

2) "Collecting" and "indexing" of print articles are two entirely 
different matters. John Ketteringham has already drawn attention to 
a part of his Website which is focussed on the indexing of various 
printed material, mainly that which is not already indexed elsewhere. 
(He also provides links to other sites which index material that he 
does not duplicate.) This illustrates the fact that indexing is a 
tried-and-true mechanism for identifying and/or locating printed 
material according to author, title, subject, publisher, etc. &c.
Collecting, on the other hand, is precisely what a 
bricks-and-mortar library does, and what many of us do in our own 
small ways; it is the acquiring and accumulating of complete copies 
of source material (books, articles, recordings, u.s.w.). It makes 
content available, as indexing does not.
Prior to the Web, indexing and collecting went hand-in-hand as 
essential tools for the discovery or verification of existing 
knowledge. Now the indexing aspect is becoming less essential as 
Websearch engines offer the opportunity to search not only on the 
traditionally indexed items of information but also on content 
itself, which never could be done before.

3) The disadvantage of publishing on the Web is that Websites (or 
pages within them) can be all too transient. Since the information 
is "published" in only a single copy (normally), its continued 
availability is dependent on the whims of the Website owner. That 
risk may be mitigated somewhat if whoever posted it has kept 
adequate backup copies and can/will arrange for the material to be 
reposted elswhere if necessary. But this is a far cry from being 
able to find an alternate copy of a book or journal in a different 
public library.

Consequently, I recommend that if a decision is taken to produce a 
"learned journal of campanology," it should be done without relying 
on a "subscription" business model, instead publishing to hardcopy 
for archival and to the Web for distribution. The hardcopy should be 
handled somewhat as the publication of academic theses is done, in a 
few dozen copies which are distributed mainly to selected repository 
libraries, with the production cost being subsidized [or is that 
subsidised?] by the CCCBR. (Subscriptions for cost + postage could 
of course be accepted, but that's gravy.) With current desktop 
publishing capabilities, that should be fairly simple to do, and the 
same source files could be used to produce the published content as 

I'd be happy to expound further on any of these points, but this 
message is already long enough. I hope the basic concepts, at least, 
are clear.


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