publication of IASS papers on CDROM

Hans Henrich Hock hhhock at UX1.CSO.UIUC.EDU
Tue Dec 12 15:34:23 UTC 2000

Perhaps CD-ROMs are NORMED; but the feeling I get from the colleagues
in Italy is that either the CD-ROM or their software is not normed to
accommodate articles produced on Mac platforms.  As far as I can
tell, Macs are widely used by Indologists of a certain generation,
simply because when they started, the special fonts needed for
Indological work were infinitely more readily available on the
Mac--and who wants to convert large numbers of heavily formatted
documents to work on a platform or with a "norm" that does not
recognize these fonts?  I believe if these concerns were meaningfully
addressed (and perhaps they have been somewhere, and I'm just
uninformed?), my resistance would be reduced considerably.


Hans Henrich Hock

>Dear computer experts,
>as an indologist and software engineer, may I correct a few technical
>points that have come up?
>(1) CD-ROMs are NORMED. There is an international norm (ISO-9660) which
>ensures exactly this: that CD-ROMs can be read in future, as long as
>mankind has access to its norms. Please remember that this is something
>extremely central and reliable. Without ISO norms, you would not be able
>to go to your supermarket and get food. You would not be able to drive a
>car. You would not be able to get clothes. In other words: as long as
>you get food and clothes, mankind has access to ISO norms and mankind
>can read CD-ROMs.
>(2) CD-ROMs have already lasted almost twenty years. The reason why you
>may not be aware of that is because in the beginning, CD-ROM players and
>media were fiendishly expensive. Nowadays, there are hundreds of
>millions of computers and hundreds of millions of other CD readers all
>over the world, and the cookies cost roughly 15 US cents to manufacture.
>CD-ROM drives cost roughly 10 US$ to manufacture.
>(3) CD-ROMs are very long-lasting. They are, in fact, the most
>long-lasting medium we have. Some manufacturers now have a 200-year life
>span estimate. As opposed to the thirty-year life-span in the beginning
>of the technology, and fifty years or less of microfilm.
>(4) CD-ROMs can be copied over to whatever new media mankind will invent
>-- and norm.
>Having said that, there is still reason for your particular IASS
>publication to be done on paper...
>Which is, mainly,
>(a) academic credit,
>(b) the fact that paper has obvious advantages, too.
>One of the drawbacks is that paper publishing is extremely expensive.
>Many times more than CD-ROM.
>As your own averse reactions to CD-ROMs have shown, CD-ROM promoters are
>ahead of their time even now.
>It makes sense to publish on paper AND CD-ROM, because both media have
>advantages that COMPLEMENT each other very well: CD-ROMs last very long
>and are intelligent search and work tools, paper is traditionally
>accepted, convenient for browsing and offline reading, and it offers
>academic credit.
>Wouldn't it therefore make sense for you to ask the IASS for both, i.e.
>paper AND CD-ROM publishing?
>I understand that paper publishing is very expensive, but if CD-ROM
>publishing offers no academic credit, the IASS is not doing its
>contributors a favour going only that way.
>Anyway, please refrain from emotional attacks on each other because of
>the CD-ROM issue. The world has already decided to go digital, and you
>are not going to stop it.
>On this jolly note,
>all the best,
>Gunthard Mueller
>gm at

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