/ Potpourri

Responses to the June, 2000 Issue

The Chinese Word for Crisis

by Dr. Oliver Obst
December 2000

"Motivational speakers like to talk about how the Chinese word for "crisis" is made up of the ideograms for 'danger' and 'opportunity.'" (From the Editor's Gloss)

I don't know what motivational speakers you have studied, but obviously not Chinese. I liked the idea above very much and took a deeper look into the background. To my disappointment, there's not much reality in it, as a professor of Chinese told me.

"Crisis" is made up of two ideograms, wei and kjei. Wei means danger but kjei does not stand for opportunity, but for mechanism, mechanic, action, drive, driving force. And that seems quite obvious for me: a crisis is simply danger in action.

What works well for Chinese must not fit well enough for motivational speakers. . .

PS: I love the JEP.

Already Being Done

by Anthony F. Beavers, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Internet Applications Laboratory, University of Evansville
June 2000

Much of what Bruce Edmonds suggest in his paper "A Proposal for the Establishment of Review Boards" is being implemented in Noesis: Philosophical Research On-line available at http://noesis.evansville.edu/bin/index.cgi. We are still in the early stages of our work, but the basic concept is there. As it is, we have found that the Noesis 2.0 model (and the one described in your paper) is still a bit unworkable. It involves quite a bit of person-to-person coordination. The final solution, we believe, is in a method that auto-organizes the academic Internet and determines its quality by watching the activities of users whose identity we know. They do what they would do naturally, and we turn it into an organized and quality-regulated dataset. Consequently, we are heading now in a different direction. But we did give the earlier model a try.

To learn more, please see my earlier paper, "Evaluating Search Engine Models for Scholarly Purposes" at http://www.dlib.org/dlib/december98/12beavers.html. It's outdated now, but it does show where we've been. I can't say at the moment where we are headed, but I am working on a paper to describe the algorithms.

The Latest Issue

by Peter Grenquist
June 2000

As usual, excellent contents. But once again my difficulty reading on screen. Scrolling through Hodge I didn't pick up who ultimately bears responsibility. Traditionally it has been the library or archive, sometimes a commercial entity . At one point, the Commission on Preservation and Access was actually considering whether the publisher would have to pick up the slack. If I had the print in front of me, I would probably look back. I also think Edmonds might have mentioned the possible reluctance of academic reviewers to subject their imperfect written comments to public scrutiny.

Archiving and Mirroring

by Steven Totosy
June 2000

I read your editor's page about the loss of your March issue, etc. May I suggest that a journal such as yours should be archived and mirrored? In the case of CLCweb (previously a Canadian-published journal with a Canadian ISSN), for instance, the National Library of Canada performs such a service as part of the library's function of preserving the publications of the country. Would the Library of Congress not perform a similar service as part of the preservation process? If this is not available, you should have a mirror site somewhere: perhaps this is what you mean when you say that now your journal is saved somewhere else each month.

Structured Information

by Neil Fein
Edison, N.J.
May 2000

From your response to the subscription form:

> If you did not receive this message after registering, or if the

> form you filled out offended you, had grammatical or stylistic

> errors, or left out questions you believe should be asked about

> people who register to receive notice of future JEP issues, please

> send e-mail to jep-info@umich.edu

The silly thought occurred to me that JEP could have, on the form for prospective subscribers [as they are not yet subscribers while filling out the form], a drop-down list of ice cream flavors. Now, as the purpose of the form is to encourage unfettered, freely flowing text, this would of course hinder the intent.

But the fact that it occurred to me at all says something about an on-line mentality; we're filling out information for storage in computers, information that will probably never be read by a human being. We're expected to sort and structure the information for easy database storage.

I'm not quite certain what this means, just yet, but it sounds like a particularly impressive pontification, so it of course must point to something more profound — possibly a future article.

For the record, Mr. Fein's favorite ice-cream flavor is coffee. We know that because we read the information he submitted. —J.A.T.

SGML and PDF: Why We Need Both

by Kevin Lanham
Lead Technical Writer, Tokyo Electron America, Inc.
August 1999

I found your article using Hotbot.com and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We are in the middle of a SGML versus PDF debate and Mr. Kasdorf's ideas will help us work together.


Young Turks and Pontificating Nerds

by Mary Herbert
Poet, writing instructor, former editor, and the proud mom of a recent UMich graduate
July 1999

I enjoyed Peter Grenquist's comments about electronic publishing, "Why I Don't Read Electronic Journals." Kudos and best wishes to him. He is a worthy candidate for your masthead and I am confident he could provide some pithy editorial commentary in the future, possibly serving in an editor-at-large capacity. Give him a byline and let him provide a healthy balance to the young Turks and pontificating nerds et al.

Questions About Printing

by Lee Wingenroth
Science Press, a division of CadmusMack
June 1999

When you become a subscriber to JEP, you are asked for an unsolicited opinion. One subscriber had a couple of questions so interesting that we pass them on to you. Please send replies to jep-potpourri@umich.edu. The best will be printed. —J.A.T.

  • How many JEP subscribers make paper copies of articles they want to read?
  • How many people would bother with electronic journals if they didn't own a printer?


by Jennifer De Beer
IT - Universiteit Stellenbosch University
December 2000
  • How many JEP subscribers make paper copies of articles they want to read?

Despite having developed the knack for reading online, since I'm at work, and since I often do not have the time to read at work, I print a copy of a must-read article to read on the way home.

  • How many people would bother with electronic journals if they didn't own a printer?

Probably not that many? But this is beside the point in that the issue is rather one of access, affordability, and convenience.


by Mika Wendy Sam
Senior Book Production Editor, Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
December 2000

When reading articles on the web (JEP and other) at work, I rarely print them out unless I'm worried that the link will eventually expire. I just bookmark the page or, if a PDF is available, download it. For academic work, however, I do need paper copies to highlight, shuffle around, and array in front of me. When writing, I have to have the sources I'm citing in front of me on the desk so I can flip back and forth, see a significant chunk of more than one thing at once (a pesky limitation of computer monitors), and toss it on the floor when I'm done with it.

My printer at home has been broken for a while, and I've just done without. I don't read less on the Web at home as a result.


by Hans-Joachim Rady
August 2000

How many JEP subscribers make paper copies of articles they want to read?

I gather it would be a high but declining percentage of readers. I personally have a strong dislike of "dead-tree-archives," so I don't print them out. . .

How many people would bother with electronic journals if they didn't own a printer?

See above: opinion doesn't change.


by Keith Kuhn
The Composing Room of Michigan
February 2000

If you're still keeping track of this:

I look at the JEP online just long enough to decide which articles I want to read first, then I save them to my computer as HTML source, and print them out after I've gone offline.

  1. I will take the printed articles home, along with my laptop computer, which I mention to make the point that, even though I could read them on-screen in different locations on my laptop, I am infinitely more comfortable with a few pieces of paper in hand. I can walk around the house with it; I can lie on the couch with it. I can annotate it and I can easily photocopy my annotated copy for a coworker.

    I don't read online for long stretches for another practical reason: I don't have unlimited hours to be online, but rather xx number of hours per month.

  2. If I had an Internet connection but no printer, I'd read a lot less, especially when it comes to things that run more than a page or two / screen-depth or two.


by Cindy Roantree
Associate Editor, Teton NewMedia
July 1999

Reply to Your Unsolicited Opinion Questions in June Issue

Hello! Yes, I print a copy of the electronic newsletter; I find that I cannot (or should I say I don't) read the articles on my computer screen.

It is hard to answer the question about the printer. I have one so it is not an issue. But if I didn't have a printer, I would still subscribe to the newsletter and I would be more selective about what I read.


by José A. Mari Mutt
Editor, Caribbean Journal of Science
June 1999

Regarding Questions About Printing in your Potpourri section:

  1. How many JEP subscribers make paper copies of articles they want to read?

    I read all JEP articles on the computer screen. I am used to reading this way and don't get tired unless the article is very long (some JEP articles are long!). Printing the articles is a waste of ink. If I want a copy of an article, I download the file to the hard disk or to a floppy disk.

  2. How many people would bother with electronic journals if they didn't own a printer?

    I would use them all the same without a printer.

Review: Good for Those Who Like That Kind of Thing

by Miriam Drake
June 1999

We received notice of Anatomy of Fire, a book written and published on line. Here is a review of that book by a member of JEP's Editorial Board. We welcome other opinions. —J.A.T.

I took quick trip through this fun and interesting book. I like what I read and saw.

However, this old reader finds reading more than a few paragraphs from a screen to be challenging. For people who can read long documents from a screen, this one is worthwhile.

Opinion: Ditch Those Issues!

by Carol K. Lee-Roark
June 1999

Please remember to un-shackle your publication from constraints that are related to the print environment. For example, another journal has a bulletin board that publishes articles when they are available, rather than conforming to the print model of "issues" at a set time interval.


by Keith Kuhn
The Composing Room of Michigan
February 2000

I must counter with a resounding "No!" If new articles may become available for reading at any time, one finds oneself checking on a regular basis to see if there are any. I simply don't have that kind of leisure time. If I checked three or four times and found nothing new, it would be a long time before I got around to looking again, and if, some time later, I came back to find eighty new things posted since I'd last looked, I would probably turn around and walk away (so to speak).

That format may be appropriate for other types of information-exchange, but this is a Professional Journal, and there are good reasons for grouping articles together the way print journals do.