5.0085 Bryn Mawr Classical Review (1/184)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Tue, 21 May 91 15:37:47 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 5, No. 0085. Tuesday, 21 May 1991.

Date: 21 May 91 13:16:30 EST
From: James O'Donnell <JODONNEL@PENNSAS>
Subject: Electronic BMCR: a change

A Change for e-BMCR

*Bryn Mawr Classical Review* has now published four issues,
comprising 70 reviews in 198 pages; 60 of the seventy titles
reviewed were published since 1 Jan. 1990, i.e., within the last
sixteen months, a record of timeliness that we hope to maintain as
a hallmark of the journal.

The first four issues were `published' twice each: once in hard copy
(copies mailed gratis for the first year to every classics department we
know of in North America, subscriptions available for $10 the year) and
once on Bitnet/Internet (subscriptions gratis). The electronic
publication is, we think, an exciting harbinger of things to come; but
it is still very much an experimental medium. The principal surprise
has been the difficulty caused, both for us and for many of our
subscribers, by squeezing a 150-200K pig through the Bitnet and Internet
pythons. Discovering that difficulty has had the serendipitous effect,
however, of rubbing our editorial nose in the realization that
`publication' in hard copy and e-form need not be so slavishly similar
to one another. Traditional publication takes the form it does for
material and economic reasons related to the physics of printing and
distributing the hard copy artifact. The physics of e-world are vastly
different and allow a different form of `publication': thus we begin now
a new experiment.

Beginning in a few days, we will distribute reviews as they become
available: that is, as soon as they have been submitted and gone through
the minimal editorial massaging (inserting missing commas, removing
libelous assertions) that we do. This means that e-subscribers will see
periodic mail messages with a subject line something like: `BMCR:
Nietzsche reviews Wilamowitz' -- you get the idea. Subscribers will be
able to collect and download these as they come; at regular intervals
(every couple of months), reviews already e-published will be gathered
together, printed, and published in hard copy form.

But e-BMCR will not be limited to reviews. From the outset, we had
hoped that readers of BMCR would be stimulated to contribute a variety
of other novelties: `Seen Elsewhere' (news items, reports of
publications in other fields of interest to classicists), `Definite
Articles' (reports of recent or not-so-recent scholarly articles that
seem to be of particular merit, especially those that for reason of
place of publication might escape wide notice), and the occasional
quotation from Ennodius. Submissions in that vein have been
disappointingly few; but for the electronic medium, we think and hope it
will be easier to stimulate discussion. Reactions to reviews, for
example, will be eagerly received (and we note with approval the
favorable reaction to our incipient habit of publishing two or more
reviews of the same book: let a hundred flowers bloom!). Subject to
limitations of space in the hard copy publication, the `Best of e-BMCR'
will appear in print in due time.

It should be emphasized, however, that we do not envision e-BMCR
becoming yet another electronic chat-line. If you are familiar with
unmoderated lists (like IOUDAIOS@YORKVM1, which classicists should know
about and many should listen to) or moderated lists (like
HUMANIST@BROWNVM: ditto), you will regard e-BMCR as a `heavily-moderated
list'. All submissions other than reviews will go to the electronic
editor (O'Donnell), who will collect them, do minimal editing, perhaps
write back to contributors and suggest enhancements, and then distribute
them in collected and readable form. Thus you will be spared not only
the random queries (`Does anybody know how to do Greek in WordPerfect?')
but also the flurry of fourteen different answers cascading into your
e-mail box, several of which may actually be germane to the query.
Queries will be welcome, but they will be relayed by the editor, and
responses will be collected, winnowed, checked against each other, and
`published' in a compact and usable form.

In all, then, we would expect that e-BMCR would trespass on your e-mail
box no more than three or four times a week with a single message; the
total quantity of distribution will not be markedly greater than what is
now the case with `old' BMCR, but instead of sending out 200K pigs
bimonthly, we will send out convenient packs of pork rinds as the
craving dictates. We hope that this relatively heavy editorial hand
will maintain a level of quality and interest that will encourage
subscribers to read the relatively small number of items they receive
from us, not zap them unread along with binsful of other e-mail, as many
of us do so much of the time already.

Some technical details:

If you are already a subscriber, you need do nothing: your status will
remain unchanged.

If you are not now a subscriber, send a mail message to
MAILSERV@BRYNMAWR or (Internet form) MAILSERV@BRYNMAWR.EDU, with nothing
written on the SUBJECT line and a single message line reading as follows:

SUB BMCR-L Your Name Here

Your name should be given in the form in which your e-mail account
is registered. There is no need to add your e-mail address: the
server takes it automatically from the header to your message.
(Note please: Bryn Mawr College does not have the machinery or
software to mount a LISTSERV of the sort you may be familiar with:
the MAILSERV software is somewhat similar to a LISTSERV but less
powerful and less interactive; so please note the idiosyncrasy of
our instructions. In particular, if you need to stop e-BMCR
mailings, you must UNSUB the list, you cannot do a NOMAIL command
as you can with a LISTSERV.)

To submit material for e-BMCR, to propose books you might review,
or to complain about editorial heavy-handedness, send ordinary e-
mail to any of the following addresses (Bitnet form first, then

Snailmail address (esp. for hardcopy subscription requests
containing checks!):

*Bryn Mawr Classical Review*
Thomas Library
Bryn Mawr College
Bryn Mawr, Pa. 19010

Finally, a word about responsibilities. The founding co-editors
are Richard Hamilton of Bryn Mawr College and James J. O'Donnell of
the University of Pennsylvania. The two of us have been arguing
amicably about the future of computers in humanistic scholarship
for fully a decade now, O'Donnell weaving visionary dreams of e-
ecstasy, Hamilton pooh-poohing with all the magisterial dignity
appropriate to one holding the Paul Shorey Professorship of Greek;
the terrain of that debate has shifted over time, and it now tends
to take place in a room where Hamilton may be found operating three
different computers at once while making the emphatic, and very
credible, point that computers are *not* the wave of the future.
To our credit, O'Donnell knows that he is something of a crank, and
Hamilton is aware of the ironies of his position. All decisions
affecting BMCR are consensual (Bryn Mawr is a Quaker foundation)
and collegial; but day-to-day responsibility for the hard copy
production will tend to devolve upon Hamilton, and on-line
editorial responsibility will be mainly that of O'Donnell (hence
the occasional quotations from Ennodius). We have materially
benefitted and will continue to rely upon the selfless assistance
of an editorial board including the following worthies; prospective
reviewers should make preliminary contact either with Hamilton or
O'Donnell or with one of the following. (Again, where two
addresses are given, Bitnet appears first, then Internet.)

Joseph A. Farell (Penn)
jfarrell@pennsas -- jfarrell@pennsas.upenn.edu
Ralph M. Rosen (Penn)
rrosen@pennsas -- rrosen@pennsas.upenn.edu
Jeffrey Rusten (Cornell)
jsr@crnlvax5 -- jsr@crux1.cit.cornell.edu
David Sider (Fordham)
David S. Potter (Michigan)
Mary Whitlock Blundell (Washington)
Alain Gowing (Washington)
Michael Halleran (Washington)
Martin Cropp (Calgary)
William Scott (Dartmouth College)
Daniel Tompkins (Temple University)

For all BMCR purposes, e-mail submission of material is the
fastest, most accurate, and easiest for us to handle; second-best
is disk-submission (Macintosh: MSWORD with SMK Greekkeys; IBM:
WordPerfect, NotaBene, or any all-ASCII form); third-best is
anything involving paper. We prefer that electrons, not trees, be
sacrificed in the service of philology. Postings for e-bmcr will
usually end with this blurb:

Bryn Mawr Classical Review

BMCR-L is a moderated list published electronically at Bryn Mawr
College and the University of Pennsylvania. Electronic
subscriptions are free; to subscribe, send mail to
mailserv@brynmawr.bitnet or mailserv@brynmawr.edu with the text
SUBSCRIBE BMCR-L. Inquiries and submissions for the list should be
sent to bmcr@brynmawr.bitnet or bmcr@brynmawr.edu. Electronic
publication is irregular and continual, with individual items
published as available; the published material is collected and
published in traditional form five times a year. Subscriptions to
the hard copy publication cost $10 per year; to subscribe, write
Bryn Mawr Classical Review, Thomas Library, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn
Mawr, Pa. 19010