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Usenet/Listserv... Stevan Harnad 09 Dec 1991 21:09 UTC

----------------------------Original message----------------------------
Bill Drew -- Serials Librarian <DREWWE@SNYMORVA.BITNET> wrote:

> 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. I understand that it takes a lot of overhead and
> disk space. Our computer center would never agree to it. It is clumsy
> and hard to use. 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. It is practically
> impossible to make head or tails of the newsgroup names.
> I personally 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.
> If a better interface and structure is developed for USENET I would not
> be opposed to its use as an additional alternative to listservers.

Both Listserv and Usenet have advantages and disadvantages. I don't
believe it would be difficult to set up a Usenet or Usenet-like feed to
libraries, and it seems as if it would be the most natural first
approximation to public access, rather than individual email. Perhaps
it would be worth libraries' while to develop a friendlier interface to
Usenet, because, on the face of it, Usenet is much closer to the public
library model, whereas Listserv email is much more like individual
subscriptions. On the other hand, making the library the Listserv
subscriber and then setting up public access locally is still in the
Usenet spirit, and would probably again benefit from a Usenet-like
interface, at least as a first approximation.

Stevan Harnad