(wrong string) éter Jacsó review of the FOS Newsletter

From: Stevan Harnad <harnad_at_ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2002 23:08:06 +0100

Here is a review of Peter Suber's excellent FOS Newsletter.

> Excerpt from Péter Jacsó, "Péter's Picks and Pans", _Online
> Magazine_, March/April 2002, pp. 79ff. Jacsó's column isn't one of the
> free online articles from that issue, so here's a fair-use slice.
> March/April issue of _Online Magazine_
> http://www.onlinemag.net/mar02/contents.htm
> Péter's Picks & Pans
> My first pick is the Free Online Scholarship (FOS) Newsletter archive
> edited by Peter Suber, which provides lucid, well-balanced summaries about
> developments in electronic publishing, digital copyright, and new digital
> services and products of scholarly communication. The second pick is the
> new, smartened-up version of FindArticles.com, a free full-text database of
> nearly 500 scholarly and trade journals and general interest magazines
> licensed by LookSmart from the Gale Group. The Pan is Wikipedia, an
> encyclopedia meant to be built from scratch as a worldwide community
> project by contributions, corrections, and additions from anyone, anytime
> without any substantial guidelines or formal editorial process. It may be
> fine for providing an outlet for those who pine to be a member in some
> community, but it looks more like a prank, to see how the (wo)man of the
> street and the press fall for it.
> The FOS Newsletter (www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos) is the brainchild of Peter
> Suber, a professor of Philosophy at Earlham College. Don't stop reading
> here--he is well versed in arguing against the incompetency defense for
> competent people (as practiced by "cunning and dishonest lawyers"), in
> using Dialog for teaching philosophy, and in discussing the pros and cons
> of various XML schemas. His background serves him well in the extremely
> lucid, concise, practical, and balanced reporting of developments in many
> aspects of electronic publishing, digital copyright, and the future of
> scholarship. FOS is the acronym he coined for Free Online Scholarship. It
> covers research papers, conference papers, dissertations, essays, books,
> and reference sources in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences, and
> is available free of charge on the Web.
> Each issue of the newsletter consists of summaries of the latest
> developments in the field. These summaries are not merely indicative or
> informative abstracts, but critical summaries, with links to several
> related sites for background and contrasting opinions. Amidst the many
> press releases promoting digital products and services masquerading as
> articles--even sneaked into refereed research papers--it is refreshing to
> read the opinions of a scholar who consistently looks at both sides of the
> coin, cuts through the clutter, and points to areas worthy for digging
> further to find gold. Time and again, he is the first to report on gems of
> digital scholarship. I found myself fervently disagreeing with him only
> once, as discussed in the pan section.
> Luckily, the newsletter is available also as a searchable archive hosted by
> Topica (www.topica.com/lists/suber-fos/read). The weekly issues, including
> about 500 items, can be keyword-searched using Boolean operators (the
> default is AND if you don't use operators). There is no field searching, so
> the entire text of the archive is searched. Even when you are at the FOS
> archive, only the first query searches FOS; a follow-up search is conducted
> in the entire Topica message collections. Use the BACK button to return to
> the original query cell for Search in this List. Alternatively, add suber
> to your subject search, copyright infringement suber. Although the help
> file does not tell you, truncation is possible, so you can use copyright
> infring* suber to retrieve both infringement (two items) and infringing
> (two items) from the FOS archive.
> Matches are not highlighted in full text, but you can use your browser's
> Find command to locate the passages with the matching term. A
> comprehensive, very good glossary complements the archive, providing
> definitions for hundreds of terms, acronyms, and projects related to
> digital scholarly publishing. The newsletter keeps you up-to-date, and is
> much more reliable than some of the fee-based alerting services on
> commercial database services. They too often forget to reduce their SDI
> fees even when the update frequency of a database is drastically reduced or
> the database is not updated for several months in a row.
> The well-balanced, evaluative summaries make me spend hours every week
> following the threads accompanying each item, as did Theseus returning from
> slaying the Minotaur in the labyrinth. Traditional print publishers would
> charge hundreds of dollars for such a weekly newsletter. I hope Suber will
> have the stamina to maintain the newsletter at this level. Ariadne was
> rewarded by a bridal crown for her good deeds (albeit not by the primary
> beneficiary of her guidance). Hopefully, this pick column will increase the
> number of subscribers to this excellent digital newsletter, encouraging the
> author to keep publishing it.
> [...]
Received on Thu Apr 18 2002 - 23:08:28 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:46:30 GMT