"Men are never so likely to settle a question rightly as when they discuss it freely."

—Lord Macaulay

"Great things are done when men and mountains meet; This is not done by jostling in the street."

—William Blake

Given all the meetings there have been over the years on electronic publishing and its effects on publishers, libraries, and budgets — not to mention tenure, archiving, and scholarship — it's hard to imagine that we need another one.

But indeed we do, because each time more people learn more details about more issues, and each time we come closer to the answers to problems that once seemed insoluble.

This issue of The Journal of Electronic Publishing is devoted to the Second Annual Faxon Colloquium on Scholarly Publishing, which focused on electronic publishing and its effect on scholarship. We might have had a single article to report on the meeting, but that would have lost the basic meaning of the colloquium, the many voices that talk together.

Our lead-off article is by Adrian Alexander, the soon-to-be-former head of the Faxon Institute, which sponsored the colloquium and invited the attendees. He tells us Faxon's reasoning in Why We Do It, an interesting look at how a company in the middle manages to stay in the fray without taking sides.

Stanley Chodorow's well-received keynote address, The Faculty, the University, and Intellectual Property, set a lofty tone for the colloquium and does the same here. Underlying that history lesson is a cogent and penetrating exploration of the future of scholarly communication, and the side issues that will take center stage very soon.

Michael B. Binder's Information as a Commodity is a straight report of discussions at the two-day meeting, while Johann van Reenen saw in the discourse a trend that disturbed him enough to move him to activism; his article, Library Consumerism in the Digital Age, contains his plan. Margit A. E. Dementi also saw in a trend in discussion, a trend she outlines in Access and Archiving as a New Paradigm.

Douglas E. Jones, in his article From Language Barriers to Contemporaneous Minds takes the position that the questions have not yet been settled "rightly."

Karen Hunter used the colloquium as a jumping-off point in Adding Value by Adding Links; like many who attend many conferences she let her ideas flow from the discussion around her. Terry Ann Rohe is another participant who shares her stream-of-consciousness thinking in a question-and-answer format, How Does Electronic Publishing Affect the Scholarly-Communication Process?

We also offer a look at the problems of independent scholarship in an electronic environment. Not having an office means more than not having ready access to paper clips and the communal coffeepot. It is a serious disadvantage when trying to cope with new technology, as Harold Orlans tells us in A Home Scholar's Electronic Woes.

Finally, Thom Lieb checks in again with his practical look at online publishing, this time helping us understand the importance of interactivity in the online environment. He asks us to interact with him in Inactivity on Interactivity.

Special thanks to Trisha L. Davis, head of the continuation acquisition division of the Ohio State University Libraries, who, despite illness and injury, served as Guest Editor for this issue, finding and persuading her colleagues to contribute their excellent pieces.


—Judith Axler Turner