permanence of electronics

Richard Zander bryo at AGIS.AG.NET
Fri Mar 21 00:20:09 CST 1997

Patricia Barlow-Irick wrote:
> Somehow I imagine that this debate is just about the same as the one in
> classical times over the issue of whether documents could be written on
> sheepskin or paper rather than carved in stone.  Now there is a really
> durable medium, but one that the librarians really resent!
> IMHO publication on the web is not a good idea.... but publication by CD-ROM
> might be very good indeed.  Right now it is already difficult to get copies
> of many publications..... I wish they were all on the web!  IF ENOUGH THINGS
> at the number of journals that have been put on microfiche.... if there were
> a way to access a microfiche reader via the net (and that doesn't seem too
> impossible) that would be extremely valuable.
> Just because it isn't acceptable for effective publication doesn't mean
> having the information out there isn't a good idea.  Here is a list of nice
> things a taxonomist might make available: scanned images or text versions of
> original descriptions, scanned images of diagnostic characters, current
> "working" versions of the synonomy, distribution information, etc.  Of course
> these ideas will not appeal to those of us that have more of a sense of
> intellectual turf rights. Of course I have not gotten around to putting
> my own work on my website.....
> Patricia Barlow-Irick
> University of New Mexico
> pbarlow at

I figure that the hardware and form factor are not the most pressing
problems. We've got tales of Beowolf, Gilgamesh and Odysseus even though
they were not originally published in octavo volumes. The problem is in
archiving and retrieval, and that's a problem that librarians and
publishers have to work out...e.g. SGML and etc. Gilgamesh, the Web, and
Beyond are not limited by hardware.
R. Zander
Richard H. Zander, Buffalo Museum of Science
1020 Humboldt Pkwy, Buffalo, NY 14211 USA bryo at

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