Current Cites (Digital Library SunSITE)

Volume 6, no. 2, February 1995

Edited by Teri Andrews Rinne

Information Systems Instruction & Support
The Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720
ISSN: 1060-2356  -

Contributors: John Ober, Margaret Phillips, David Rez, Richard Rinehart, Teri Rinne, Roy Tennant

[ Electronic Publishing ] [ Multimedia and Hypermedia ] [ Networks and Networking ][ Optical Disc Technology ]

Electronic Publishing

Bower, Richard A. "The Resource Directory: Courting Legal Resources for CD-ROM and Multimedia" CD-ROM Professional 8(2) (February 1995):111-117. -- Bowers contends that although the brave new world of new media has made substantial advances in the last ten years, the legal infrastructure has not followed suit. In spite of mount- ing pressure to establish guidelines for the National Information Infrastructure and for multimedia licensing and publishing, lawmakers have been uncommonly unproduct- ive. Although the publishing industry generally loves ambiguous situations (because every twist and turn is new fodder for yet another book or newsletter), there has been a dearth of legal resources to help guide them through new media ventures until just recently. After eloquently setting the scene, Bower provides an extensive bibliography accompanied by short abstracts encompassing newsletters, serials, books, Internet sites, audiotapes and looseleaf services designed to guide the electronic publisher through uncharted legal territory. -- TR

"Novell Offers Internet Access and Publishing for End-users" [URL:] -- Novell, the new owner of WordPerfect, announced that WordPerfect 6.1 will be capable of creating HTML documents. HTML is used to present information on the World-Wide Web. With the free add-on, the Internet Publisher, users can use WordPerfect to create HTML documents without learning a great deal about the specifics of HTML as they are guided through the process. Even better, Novell is offering a WordPerfect SGML edition, for marking up SGML documents. If these products work as easily as it sounds, or even more easily then competing products, it could be of great benefit to institutions without the resources to buy the often expensive hardware and software associated with creating SGML documents, and converting them to HTML for delivery on the WWW. SGML is an emerging standard for much museum, archive, and library full-text information, but until recently this 'standard' has been hard to implement because of the high costs. There are still pieces missing, such as the SGML database for housing these documents and providing cross-document searching, but integrating the authoring tools into a popular word-processor is a leap toward making the technology more accessible. -- RR

Multimedia and Hypermedia

Langberg, Mike. "Multimedia Enrolls in School" San Jose Mercury News (February 10, 1995):1F-2F. (San Jose Mercury News is also available at [URL:]). -- TCI and Reuters, the cable and news giants have joined together to form a third company, Ingenius. Ingenius delivers multimedia educational services to schools via TV cable connections. The cost to the school is a $70 adapter, a Mac or Windows computer, and $100 per year. Then every weekday Ingenius delivers six programs over the cable to the classroom computer at a rate of about 9600bps. The programs range from Egyptology to Biology. The service is affordable, but faces the problem of having enough content to deliver. This new delivery system offers interesting opportunities to the enterprising university or museum educational department. -- RR

Ozer, Jan. "Indeo and MPEG gird for the next big battle" CD-ROM Professional 8(2) (February 1995):56-64. -- Although standards battles drive everyone crazy, this article presents a handy guide to the issues around video standards, centering on the battle between Intel's Indeo and MPEG. It touches on hardware vs. software solutions, quality vs. sheer market push (read: Betamax), and other technical and business issues which influence which standard will become the leader. Interestingly, the first built-in video standard, and the one running on most machines used in CD-ROM development, Apple's Quicktime, is not mentioned. It would have been interesting to see comment on Apple's recent litigation against Intel over video code in light of these other wranglings. All in all, an informative look at this important area of multimedia technology. -- RR

Weiss, Jiri. "Multimedia Hits the Streets" New Media 5(2) (February 1995):44-49. -- Anyone developing public information systems will be presented with the problem of on-site delivery at some point. This article will help them. It covers the various available technologies and issues around creating public multimedia computer kiosks. One solution to on-site presentation of course is just to put a computer or two in a gallery or lobby and let the user access the information from it. However kiosks can add value in several ways: for the public who are not comfortable with computer mice and keyboards, and carry work associations with seeing computers, kiosks can draw them in where a Windows-sprouting PC will not. Kiosks can also guard against vandalism or theft of fragile computer components, not to mention creating a professional shine for the institution's public face. This article is very useful in that it contains discussion of the human as well as tech issues, case studies, reviews of the options, costs, and rows of vendor contacts. -- RR

Networks and Networking

Abernathy, Joe. "The Internet [How to Get There from Here]" PC World 13(1) (January 1995):130-148. -- Cover stories about Internet access seem to be the late-winter theme in the computer press. PC World's offering is nicely done, with summaries of the four primary access methods (gateways through online services, shell accounts, SLIP/PPP accounts, and direct). Summary charts and comparison tables allow the differences in cost, functionality, and setup complexity among the four to be easily grasped. This article may not remain accurate in the fast-changing, highly competitive access market, but it is a boon for those trying to grasp or explain the current options. -- JLO

Ayer, Rick and Robin Raskin. "The Changing Face of On-Line" PC Magazine 14(4) (February 21, 1995):108-175. -- Online services such as Compuserv, Prodigy, America Online, and Delphi have been offering access to electronic information for years. Most of them are now offering some sort of Internet access as well. In this article, and its sidebar "Routes to the Net" (p. 166), the current resources, prices, access methods, strengths, and weaknesses of each service are reviewed. While the information about Internet connectivity is bound to change quickly, the article will still be valuable for its clear comparisons. The introduction to Internet provision complements as much as overlaps the information in the PC World article mentioned above. -- JLO

Kelly, Brian. "Running a WWW Service." Last updated January 23, 1995. Available via a World-Wide Web client at any of the following: -- Kelly's self-described "handbook" is an impressive collection of descriptions and hypertext links which cover a lot of the ground necessary in considering the provision of World-Wide Web resources. It serves as a one-stop online reference center for much of the information that is on the Web itself, documenting both the technical and the procedural aspects of becoming a World-Wide Web "presence." Information on the technical side, such as descriptions and references about HTML or Web server utilities, is fairly deep. Organizational and social issues, such as "Legal and Ethical Issues" or "Libraries and the WWW" are treated more thinly, but those sections are still good starting discussions. In an ironically refreshing criticism, given that it is usually leveled at material that originates in the USA, Kelly's handbook does draw examples primarily from the UK, from where he writes and works. -- JLO

Cohen-Williams, Anita and Julia A. Hendon. "Internet Resources for Anthropology" College & Research Libraries News 56(2) (February 1995):87-90, 113. -- Another in the regular C&RL News feature on Internet resources by discipline, this article focuses on sources in anthropology as both a discipline and a profession. Included are lists of electronic discussion groups, gopher and World Wide Web sites, WAIS databases and other information sources available online. -- MP

Maxwell, Bruce. How to Access the Government's Electronic Bulletin Boards Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, Inc. 1995. -- This book provides detailed descriptions of approximately 200 free, public-access electronic bulletin board systems (BBSs) operated by federal agencies and departments. Electronic bulletin boards operated by the federal government provide access to a wide range of information such as lists of federal job opportunities, staff directories for particular agencies, and documents like the full text of the Americans with Disabilities Act or congressional testimony on the National Information Infrastructure. A layperson's guide, this book describes how to reach these BBSs, what they offer, and how to navigate through them. Particularly helpful is the introduction which provides background information in simple, practical terms about what one needs to connect to electronic bulletin boards in terms of hardware and software, in addition to a basic introduction to menu commands and solutions to common problems. A follow-up book, How to Access the Federal Government on the Internet will be published in spring 1995.-- MP

Optical Disc Technology

Lucarini, Dan. "CD-ROM COLD is Hot" CD-ROM Professional 8(2) (February 1995):73-77. -- COLD (Computer Output to Laser Disc) technology is an alternative to using paper, microfiche or tape to capture and store massive amounts of data. Once page output is stored to the write-protected COLD system, it can be retrieved, viewed, faxed, or electronically distributed to workstations. The benefits of COLD enable companies to eliminate paperwaste and redundancy, save on distribution costs, and conduct archival research much faster and with more accuracy than paper, microfiche, or magnetic tape. Despite its many advantages, it has been only recently that COLD has gained in popularity due in large part to the advent of CD-Recordable (CD-R) technology as a viable platform. Lucarini outlines why the pairing of COLD and CD-R is such a promising one. -- TR

Pahwa, Ash. "CD-R Media Incompatibility" CD-ROM Professional 8(2) (February 1995):85-86. -- Pahwa explains the CD-R media incompatibility problems clearly and succinctly. Three hard- ware components comprise every recordable technology: writer, reader and media. In the case of CD-R, when using brand 'A' media on a brand 'B' recorder, the resulting disc won't work on a brand 'C' reader. Pahwa calls for the development of adequate testing studies and wide dissemination of results to remedy the situation. -- TR

Parker, Dana J. "The Gold Standard" CD-ROM Professional 8(2) (February 1995):69-71 ( -- Parker also laments the lack of CD-R interoperability in the pages of this month's issue of CD-ROM Professional. CD-R technology is in its infancy and it is going to have to do some growing up very quickly to keep pace with its increasing acceptance. However, despite its drawbacks, Parker views CD-R technology as a viable platform for large capacity data archiving and software distribution. -- TR

Current Cites 6(2) (February 1995) ISSN: 1060-2356 Copyright (C) 1995 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley. All rights reserved.

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