[unrev-II] Bootstrap's e-journal: Can we?

From: Henry K van Eyken (vaneyken@sympatico.ca)
Date: Tue Oct 23 2001 - 06:45:16 PDT

  • Next message: Jack Park: "[unrev-II] More on OpenOffice"

    Last July, the Bootstrap Institute began publishing the e-journal
    "Engelbart in Context," but a lack of active support within the
    Institute made it difficult for me, the Institute's volunteer webmaster,
    to sustain it. This is nobody's fault. Beyond Doug Engelbart there is
    only one other staff member, Doug's administrative assistant Mary
    Coppernoll. They are assisted by a number of volunteers who take care of
    the Institute's server and do other chores toward furthering Doug's aim
    of seeing his Open Hyperdocument System becoming a reality. This OHS is
    seen as a tool for more efficiently solving urgent, complex problems in
    the private and public sectors of world society.

    The Institute has some material support, but is very much in need of
    additional funding. An important source of funding used to be the
    Bootstrap Alliance, a small, international group of stakeholders. With
    the enthusiastic help of a prominent volunteer, Jeff Rulifson, a
    vice-president of Sun Microsystems, and Karen Robbins, president of
    Amtech, an attempt is made to reinvigorate the Alliance. Amtech's reason
    for being is to create partnerships among private and public
    institutions. Details about the state of the Alliance's affairs may be
    found at http://www.amtech-use.org/bootstrap/

    On its part, the Bootstrap Institute formally created a Central Planning
    Committee on October 10. Committee members are Doug Engelbart, Mei Lin
    Fung, Eugene Kim, and Jack Park. The Committee, which reports to the
    Alliance's Board of Directors, chaired by Jeff Rulifson, addresses three

    1. OHS development framework
    2. Obtaining grant funding for Bootstrap Alliance for some specific
    3. Bootstrap communication

    As a consequence, the publishing of the e-journal, although perceived as
    valuable, will not be receiving the hoped for minimal wherewithal to
    sustain it. This goes for funding as well as for participation. A few
    days ago, Doug proposed that I proceed with the journal within the
    Bootstrap framework, but editorially independent from it. In practical
    terms, there will be no funding for it in the foreseeable future - not
    until sufficient grants are, if ever, obtained for the Institute's

    The editorial independence, which relieves Doug from overseeing the
    e-journal's editorial conduct, comes with a name change from "Engelbart
    in Context" to "Fleabyte." The editorial stance remains pretty well the
    same, however. It may be summarized as augmenting human intellect or
    thinking with computers. A more detailed statement is found at

    I should emphasize that Fleabyte is intended to address people in
    various walks of life. The study of augmenting human intellect embraces
    computer science, psychology (or neuroscience as it is now more properly
    named), education, publishing, the worlds of work and of civics.

    Question at this point is, can we sustain the publication? Equipment,
    maintenance, essential subscriptions, other literature, telephone costs,
    automobile use - all remain personal expenses. More significantly, there
    is no funds for attracting editorial material. Can one who does not pay
    the piper call the tune? Additional handicaps are my age and limited
    personal skills as well as uncertainty about the Bootstrap Institute's
    future. That's the downside. Off hand, we might as well throw in the
    towel right now. But why not first try to fathom what the upside look

    Our Urev-II discussion forum has more than 200 registered members. A
    fair number of members are highly active and have produced a body of
    about 4000 posts, many rich in content and reference material. This
    content bespeaks of an interest fully in accord with the envisaged
    editorial breadth. It also is a motherlode of facts and notions waiting
    to be mined and refined for public presentation, i.e. to take another
    step toward becoming useful. Moreover, many references exist that may
    lead to morphing the very nature of publishing the e-journal toward
    becoming a true, Engelbartian DKR (Dynamic Knowledge Repository), which
    Doug often refers to as a "handbook.". One aspect of this is
    interactivity among authors and readers - in fact, becoming a discussion
    forum raised to a higher degree of lasting utility.

    We already have some volunteers as well. Peter Jones, a member of this
    forum and formerly a editor and co-author with a big publishing house,
    has done a fine job of copy-editing for our journal. Gwen Pariset, a
    lady experienced in project work, has volunteered to become a webmaster.
    Lambert Gardiner, formerly professor of psychology and now of media, has
    contributed an article and is ready take on an editorial role. We still
    have to learn how to more efficiently co-operate in turning out a
    product, but that is part of the birthing pangs of an e-journal.

    The editorial approach would be to attract material with an eye on
    forming a handbook. This material would be partly unsollicited, partly
    sollicited. Together they make the editorial process one of directed
    opportunism. Which brings us to the next question: Can I count on people
    - members of the Unrev-II forum to begin with, but also others as time
    goes by - to provide quality, purposefull content? To take the
    contributing seriously?

    I'll pause at this point and wait for reactions from this forum to see
    whether or not we may have a fighting chance to create a journal,
    experimental and evolutionary in itself, that will further the
    augmentation of human intellect.

    Any thoughts? Any specific contributions (academic advisors, subject
    editors, successors to myself, authors, Unrev-II miners, production
    people, etc.)?


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