publication of IASS papers on CDROM

Gunthard Mueller gm at ANTHOSIMPRINT.COM
Tue Dec 12 14:51:31 UTC 2000

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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