Saturday, September 4, 2010

On hard- vs e- viability

In the last few days I've gotten e-word about 2 large web-portals that will be closing down:

1. The Well (@ age 25), now owned by Salon, which is failing, too
2. (offering xfr of existing posts to its TypePad subformat)

For the last few years I've been using both as 2nd & 3rd-publication back-ups for much of what I write here.

Hereby, I rescind my 68yr-old semitecchie assertion that being e-published has become a better viability strategy than being published in that e- shows itself 2B suicidal by its wiping-out whole constellations of people's writings of all sorts, beginning with conversational ephemera aka chats. The WWWorld may B able 2read those living ephemera archivally, etc., but...for how much longer? Server maintenance cost seems 2B the actual cyberlimiter.

Unless some e-sites become archival & so can be read as archives by Those in the know. But who are They?

Ex. My posts to Digital Equipment Corporation's internal Engineering Net (later re-named E-net, then EasyNet) from 1975~88 can still be read IF you know where 2find them out there in vast cyberspace. But who would you have2B 2know they'd ever existed@all? [Ans.] a DECcie. (DEC was eaten by COMPAQ which was then eaten by HP...that now inherits/holds all those years of internal e-posts.)

Blog portals closing down makes me realize my recently going 99% e-pubs subject to e-v@pora@tion has been all too e-trusting, so I'm once again seeking paper publication (begun @ 18/1961 w/my early poems published in Boston College's STYLUS qtly.) Paper (obviously) lasts: Ex.: my little 4-line shape-poem ("Wine-glass Elm" written in Camb MA in 1966, soon pub. in small-press magapaper Brown Sweater), was much-later republished as 'a toast' in GRACES (HarperSF, 1989) - now reprinted 27X. [QED]

3 of my (4) ~20pg small-press chapbooks are (I assume) now collector's items as are all of Hugh Fox's Ghost Dance Mag/Press issues&books. I've been canny/lucky in choosing my principal small-press publishers (Dr. Hugh Fox PhD, @MSU, E. Lansing MI; Dr. Bob Chute DSc, @Bates College, Lewiston ME; NYT-free-lancer, author&editor S. Marshall Brooks, jr., Waban, later Spencer MA, now W. Dover VT) in quite dissimilar small-press orbits (e.g., Alice Rogoff, an ed. of The [annual] Haight-Ashbury Literary Review/SF recently told me she was in a 1971 issue of Chute's The Small Pond mag./Auburn ME with me); likewise, with the commercial antho. GRACES (above.).

Like most writers, I publish what I can where & when I can, so I can now see it's time to head back to lasting paper publication while the blinking WWWeb appears to self-destruct (here & there.) The new hotting e-books are hybrids (non-WWWeb standalone physical e-pubs.) but how long will their present book-sized media-formats last? When will they become chip-based eyeglass-viewed optical-virtual devices? (as an exDECcie [since the mid '70s], I'm an habitually cautious techno-late-adopter.)

Hardbound books&mags still have the material virtue of a [gradually degrading] physical existence: being on public & other libraries' shelves (until DISCARDed), in many university archives (lots of my hardcopy stuff's collected at UCONN's Thomas J. Dodd Research Ctr. in Storrs CT), 'junk'stores (incl. The Salvation Army where I always have & still do buy all sorts of books), people's personal bookshelves, all for (lo!) these many centuries (cf. the Royal Library of Alexandria, Egypt, [328BCE-48BCE] would be nicely evidentiary - if it hadn't been accidentally burnt-down by defending Gen. Julius Caesar.)

But for now, we can still depend upon paper books' long duration & worldwide {migratory} distribution. [QED]

Note: An e-variant of this (ongoing, above) has since appeared in the Citizen Blog section of The Bay Citizen, [San Francisco CA] that supplies S.F. Bay Area copy to the NYT West Coast Ed. S.F. Bay Area pages [in Section A] on Fridays & Sundays.

~ Bill Costley (68ish)

(Santa Clara CA, Labor Day weekend, 2010)v9

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