Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Cites & Insights 5:4 available

Cites & Insights 5:4, March 2005, is now available for downloading.

Taking Seth Finkelstein's suggestion to heart, here's what's included:

  • Did NIH back down to Big STM--or was this a reasonable compromise?
    Library Access to Scholarship
  • Who gets first-name treatment in C&I?
    Bibs & Blather
  • You call this a community?
    Perspective: The Dangling Conversation
  • Does anyone care about multichannel sound or ethics?
    Following Up
  • Chills, thrills, public-domain flicks
    Offtopic Perspective: Family Classics 50 Movie Pack, Part 1
  • Is a short story a book--and would you read Moby Dick on a cell phone?
    Ebooks, Etext and PoD

Beginning with this issue, Cites & Insights uses Adobe Acrobat 7 to support text-to-speech and bookmarks. You'll need at least Acrobat Reader 5, and 6 or 7 for the accessibility and organization bookmarks (7 is faster than 6).

This issue also has a few more test HTML files--the selective form that may or may not continue.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Soft trial (redux)

After looking at the 22 (23?) responses I got from the Topica posting, the 5 or 6 I got at my LISNews journal, and the 2 I got here--and looking at the HTML versions themselves, with my browser set so it would really be obvious if the font setting was, um, less than consistent...
  • I haven't made a decision yet, and almost certainly won't in time for C&I 5:4 (since that's entering the edit-and-copyfit stages). (Out later this week, most likely)
  • I've posted a new set of html trials, using a different and even simpler methodology that I'm sure won't take more than 30-40 minutes per issue.
  • Go to the C&I "All Contents" page, as before (pagination has been fixed), drop down to the bottom, and you'll find the new links.
  • I'm nearly certain that these versions will display and print consistently on any Windows PCs with Book Antiqua installed (which should mean "any Windows PCs") and any browsers with font overrides in place. Mac printing should be consistent, but I have no idea what it will look like. It's still not pretty HTML, to be sure.
  • If I do this, it's likely to use this methodology--and it's likely to be selective, as in: Leaving out Bibs & Blather, leaving out any article running more than 40% of the entire length of an issue, possibly leaving out articles that I don't believe make much sense out of context.

Given those notes, your opinion as to whether it's worth doing or not is still solicited--and if you haven't change your mind since commenting on the other trial, you don't need to comment again; I'll consider those comments in my final decision.

Once again, an important reminder: The PDF version will continue to be the most readable, most attractve, and most complete version of Cites & Insights.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Soft trial

I'm toying with making some articles in Cites & Insights additionally available in very simple HTML form.

I'm not sold on the idea. The reasons I give in the FAQ for using PDF continue to be valid. The trial run I'm mentioning here even validates one of them: despite using the most space-efficient (and somewhat hard to read, since the lines are so wide) HTML options, the articles combine to require more than twice as much paper as the issue does: 45 to 50 pages as compared to 24. (Yes, some of that's because of repeated headers and footers, but I'm not going to put articles out there without the surrounding material.) I also think the HTML form is a whole lot less readable and attractive, at least for print readers.

But I'm willing to give it a try, if I can do it without significant software investment or needing to take more than an extra hour per issue doing my least favorite part of C&I--that is, screwing around with HTML and postings to get the word out.

The methodology I used for this trial does appear to take about an hour to handle a typical issue's worth of articles, and used the cheapest software I could find that would handle copied Word text reasonably well. (It was a $5 CD-ROM that turned out to be a little more than just a web editor. If I turn this trial into a real feature, I'll mention that story in Bibs & Blather.) "About an hour" is without attempting to turn any URLs into live links, fix any cases where I've inserted a blank to make a URL break lines, or really do anything other than copy, paste, and mass-replace typeface indications.

Anyway: If you're interested--I'm only publicizing this here and on my LISNews journal--here's what you do:

Go to the C&I Tables of Contents form, click on 2005, go down to the latest issue. You'll note that each article name is a livelink. Try a couple of them.

Let me know what you think: Is this--

  • Pointless?
  • Pointless unless I make the separate articles a whole lot nicer?
  • Worth doing without any extra tweaking?
  • Worth doing, but you'd suggest a tweak or two that won't require real work on my part?

Comments either here or to me, wcc at, brand new, waltcrawford at, but I'm only likely to check that once a day or so. Comments by this Sunday, please: If I decide to do this for real, I'll try to back-convert this year's issues before 5:4 comes out (late February), then back-convert each previous volume--selectively--over the next month or four.

Extra note for this source only: "Minor tweaks" do not include suggestions for how I can pick up a bunch of other tools, learn them, and produce cleaner and better HTML by just going through a simple markup pass for each article. If the selective HTML versions happen, they'll be extras--and they have to be low-overhead extras. Otherwise, they take energy and time away from writing, reading, thinking, watching TV, relaxing...all the stuff I want to do.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Cites & Insights 5:3 available

Cites & Insights 5:3, February 2005, is now available.

This 24-page issue, PDF as always, includes:

  • Ethical Perspectives: Republishing and Blogging --no, it's not about the Wikicred conference.

  • The Library Stuff--two items and a cluster of five.

  • Trends & Quick Takes--public wifi, an opac wiki, restating Pew's blogging numbers and lots more

  • Perspective: Wikipedia and Worth [Revisited]

  • The Good Stuff--seven items

  • Session Reports: ALA Midwinter 2005--ACRL Current Topics Discussion Group and ALCTS Electronic Resources Interest Group

Additional Midwinter session reports are still welcome, as are other reports; see the reporting guidelines.