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

From: Henry K van Eyken (
Date: Tue Oct 23 2001 - 20:31:10 PDT

  • Next message: Rod Welch: "[unrev-II] Bootstrap's e-journal: Can we?"

    Yes, Eric, you are consistent. This follows through on the thread you started, "Recommendations??"

    At that time I thought of going about things in a low-tech way by rapidly sifting out the chaff from the wheat by a team of half a dozen to a dozen
    volunteers. Each volunteer might look at a number of threads and sift out those that have no merit of substance other than being social glue. We put those in
    a pile delicately called (in true Fleabyte tradition) "dandruff," which is defined as the scurf of the scalp.

    While doing this sifting, the threads that are retained might quickly be given provisional labels such as "OHS" or "societal" or "linguistic" or "site
    reference," etc. Once all are done, a single person might provide an overall classification (still pretty unrefined) and we can then see if we can get
    topic-oriented volunteers to take a closer look at areas that interest them. Whatever is labelled "OHS" may be combined with the stuff in the OHS-dev forum,
    then possibly sub-classified. One classification might be "toward OHS coding," another "philosophy of OHS architecture," etc. By now we get down to the stuff
    of articles for the "handbook," to use Doug's term.

    Similarly, we may identify strains and forcefulness of societal issues. I certainly am looking forward to a listing of topical URLs that we may look at and
    evaluate for a more organized editorial treatment, etc.

    I think I have said enough in the way of examples. We avoid a mechanistic mode of thinking, but we may learn from the process what a mechanistic mode of
    sorting ought be like - a good experience in itself.

    Many hands make light work. If we have, say, ten volunteers then each one will take a quick look at about 400 posts. Yes, there will be misjudgments, but
    these will come out and get recycled as we proceed. In the end we shall have, besides a huge pile of dandruff, a lot of piles with good, useable stuff plus
    the satisfaction that, compared to computers, human minds are not all that bad.

    I am reminded of the army recruit given the task of putting big potatoes in one pail and small potatoes in an other. The responsibility rested heavily on his
    shoulders: decisions, decisions.

    Can we get ten volunteers to spend an evening or two making a couple of hundred decisions. A lousy job, but a great start toward far more interesting
    preoccupations along the lines recommended by Eric..

    Please, sign up at Your reward will be in Heaven.


    Eric Armstrong wrote:

    > The thought of mining the archive to produce publications strikes me
    > as plausible and useful. The process, as I see it, would be:
    > a) One more editors start "carving out" articles.
    > b) Said editors start setting down requirements for what they need
    > to do the job effectively.
    > c) Developers start providing tools the editors can do to construct
    > readable documents from the archives.
    > There is a lot of learning involved in this process, and it fits Doug's
    > idea of human-systems co-evolving with technology-systems.
    > It's not clear to me how much can be done on a volunteer basis, but
    > it is interesting to speculate on what kind of "benefit proposition"
    > might
    > induce subscribers and advertisers to participate in what becomes, in
    > effect, a traditional publishing vehicle that uses non-traditional tools
    > to create its work product.
    > Henry K van Eyken wrote:
    > > 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
    > >
    > > 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
    > > areas:
    > >
    > > 1. OHS development framework
    > > 2. Obtaining grant funding for Bootstrap Alliance for some specific
    > > programs
    > > 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
    > > operations.
    > >
    > > 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
    > > like?
    > >
    > > 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.)?
    > >
    > > Henry
    > >
    > >
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