Masthead CMC Magazine / May 1, 1996

Building New Models

by John December

I don't like to be too self-referential in writing for this magazine. Our first anniversary last year went unnoted in these pages. But two years is a very long time in Web years--I don't know if any Web-based monthly magazine has been continuously published longer than ours--so I thought that we'd have a special issue this month devoted to Web publishing, and we could talk about []our experiences a bit and hear from others.

I didn't want another philosophical discussion about what Web publishing might be like. Web publishing is more than five years old now--hardly a cutting edge activity. What have we learned? I wanted to hear some pragmatic ideas for improving Web publications. I'm pleased with how this special issue has turned out. I believe we've gathered together some specific, interesting insights into Web publishing.

David Strom, a past contributor to CMC Magazine []describes his own Web site--how he has evolved it and what the lessons he learned from it. Similarly, []Jim Brain provides a practical case study of his experiences in taking over a publication and creating a Web presence for it.

But what are we actually working in online? []Wade Rowland dissects the "information highway" metaphor and suggest we are building something more complex--a human environment for communication and habitation. This re-examination of a tired metaphor has philosophical implications for what we even mean by "online publishing."

I'm also pleased to present another specific, pragmatic view of online communication: []Damon A. Chaplin's explanation of his Axis system, a communication system designed to foster what all the authors in this issue claim is a key ingredient in online publishing: the creation of communities.

Finally, []I review an important new volume in the discussion of online publishing: Scholarly Publishing: The Electronic Frontier, a book which does a good job to frame and develop some of the chief issues all publishers (offline and online alike) face. [TOC]

Copyright © 1996 by John December. All Rights Reserved.

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