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Is Usenet Useful (was Re: Usenet, listserv, and e-journals) Steve.Cavrak@UVM.EDU 09 Dec 1991 18:20 UTC

     Here is why I cannot recommend USENET for our library when we start
     distributing e-journals.

     - It REQUIRES the cooperation of computer centers on campus.

This is probably a good thing to require -- to get the libraries,
the computer centers, and networks cooperating.

     - I understand that it takes a lot of overhead and disk space.

Yes and no.  Every thing takes disk space.  More than that, it would
take serious management to be useful in a campus environment.

     - Our computer center would never agree to it.

Give them a chance !

     - It is clumsy and hard to use.

"It" is no such "thing."  Unix support about 1/2 dozen news readers
(readnews is the most primitive, then there is gnunews, vn (visual
news), trn (threaded read news), tin (another threaded reader), and
tass (The news!)).

     - The comands on the news readers I have tried have nothing in
     common with other programs that I use on a daily basis.  The
     commands are entirely different from mail commands.

The nice thing about the Usenet model of news is that it has evolved
to a client server architecture.  I can read mail on my Macintosh
(TheNews and Hypernews), on DOS, and on Windows.  Those models are
what I use daily.  In fact, your system manager could arrange to have
news sent to your IBM mainframe account so you can read them with Mail
or Profs or Orfice Vision.

     - It is practically impossible to make head or tails of the
     newsgroup names.

Now THIS is a significant problem, but I would be hard pressed to
argue that the Bitnet naming conventions are much superior.  In my
more carefree days, I might have though that SERIALST was the bitnet
equivalent of alt.true.crime :-)

     I personnally prefer BITNET listservers because it uses the e-mail
     for distribution.  This does not require the cooperation of
     computer centers.  I can subscribe directly to e-journals and then
     send them to interested library patrons through e-mail, paper, or
     on floppy disks.  I could, therefore, better justify the time and or
     money spent on e-journals.

Is it the distribution mechanism (which probably has changed out from
under your three times since you first got on the network), or your
reader mechanism that you prefer.  The net result, as you point out,
is to provide better mechanisms for library patrons - as well as
library information personnel.

     If a better interface and structure is developed for USENET I
     would not be opposed to its use as an additional alternative to

     Wilfred Drew (call me "BILL")
     Serials/Reference/Computers Librarian
     SUNY College of Agriculture & Technology
     P.O. Box 902,  Morrisville, NY 13408-0902
     Bitnet:  drewwe@snymorva    SUNYNET(DECnet): smorva::drewwe
     Voice:   315-684-6055       Fax:  315-684-6115
     "On a clear disk you can seek forever."  from PKware BBS.

Hi Bill !