David Bryant david at b...
Mon Apr 14 19:46:13 BST 2003

Anne Willis asks what my academic background is, and incorrectly suggests
it's science - it isn't; it's archaeology which in this case is very much an
arts subject. What prompted that comment? Do you think my literary style is

Further to comments from Anne and JRK, I fully agree that any journal needs
to contain articles which are well written (in that they are gramatically
correct) and readable (in that they are not turgid and dull). However, I
maintain the point that the editing needs to be carried out by someone who
knows the subject, although of course they also need the skills of an editor
in any field. The point about the journal being intelligible to people with
no background in the subject is nonsense. Specialist journals DO assume that
their readers will know the subject; look at journals for any acadmic
subject - be they sciences or arts. Writings such as theses, cited by John,
are a very different matter in that they are aimed at readers who may not
have a background in the subject, not at specialist audiences.

As regards the views of the Ringing World, the editor is a member of this
list and I'm sure other members would be interested
should he choose to comment. What is perhaps surprising, given that he is to
edit the proposed journal, is that John Eisel is not a member at the present
time. Incidentally, how many members of the CC Library Committee are
actually bell historians?

One final point which I wish to make is that many specialist journals (e.g.
the Journal of Church Archaeology) are published under the auspices of a
formal society, in this case the Society for Church Archaeology. In bell
history, we have no such society, and this list is as close as we get to
one. If the proposed journal goes ahead it will be ultimately controlled by
the Central Council, which is concerned primarily with the ringing of bells;
not with their history. Yes, there will be some bell historians amongst the
CC representatives, but these will certainly be a minority. If the journal
is run on this basis, I'm sure that many bell historians will never have any
direct influence on it as they are never going to be members of the Central
Council. I am certainly in this category. Attending long and boring meetings
where many of the items on the agenda interest me about as much as watching
paint dry is not my idea of fun. I don't even attend meetings of the local
branch of the Yorkshire Association. Should people in my position be
excluded from direct influence on this basis? I think not. If the journal
does go ahead (and in principle I think it is a good idea), then some
organisation of bell historians would seem to be the best body to control
it, not the Central Council. Those who are involved with the proposed
journal would do well to remember that they rely on bell historians being
willing to provide articles, and I am aware that a number of those
well-known in the field are not keen on the whole idea at present.

Those are my views, for what they're worth. What do others think?


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