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Subject: Conservation literature

Conservation literature

From: Jack Ogden <jack>
Date: Thursday, April 18, 2002
Congratulations to all concerned on the AATA Web availability from
June.  But the move raises some thoughts:

Abstracts are indices/signposts/summaries. They are too short to act
as primary academic research literature (but admit it ...)

Academic journal articles are too plentiful, too widely disseminated
in a myriad publications (too seldom in a library near you) and
generally too long for the time-pressed researcher to take pleasure
in reading in full (how many people actually read each article
rather than just skim it and alight on the 'meaty' bits--other than
the author!).

Modern communication methods allow the ideal mid-way--articles
produced not as fine prose to fill opulent volumes on Fellows'
library shelves, but as succinct research notes available on the web
( .pdf) or sent to non-internet Society members (perhaps
loose-leaf with punched holes to file as they wish). The notes would
be easily indexed on the web and cross-linked with (eventually)
centralised references etc. And with 'articles' I would include
conference proceedings and even some books.

You can think of it as lengthening an abstract until the article is
unnecessary, or shortening and summarising an article until the
abstract is unnecessary.

Who would be the losers academically speaking? (bibliophiles will
complain, but I'm talking about academia not aesthetics or
nostalgia). Access, speed of dissemination, ease of translation,
economies of time (and of money for journal-publishing Societies)
etc all seem to point to this as the obvious long-term answer. This
approach won't suit every article, but many, perhaps most, could be
reduced to less than half their length without any loss of

So if  an Internet-based, research-friendly compromise between
'short' abstracts and 'long' articles is likely to occur over the
next 5-10  years then the AATA move and existing web-available
articles (such as JAIC) might be viewed as the traditional 'camps'
in place ready to create the future.

Now is the time for long-term strategy planning--or at least
thinking about what is needed to plan a strategy.

    **** Moderator's comments: Seems like a good chance to remind
    people that Conservation OnLine is, and has been, available for
    dissemination of documents of all levels of elaboration. Items
    for CoOL should be sent to waiscool [at] palimpsest__stanford__edu.

    Some of what you describe does exist in other fields, usually
    called e-print archives.

Dr Jack Ogden
Specialist for the technology of ancient and historic metals and
Institute of Conservation

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:71
                  Distributed: Friday, April 19, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-15-71-002
Received on Thursday, 18 April, 2002

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