Michael Strangelove, Diane Kovacs, et al., Directory of Electronic Journals, Newsletters and Academic Discussion Lists. Edited by Ann Okerson. Washington: Association of Research Libraries, 1993. ISSN: 1057-37. Pp. ii, 355. $42 plus shipping. Inquiries to email@example.com or (202) 296-2296.
Reviewed by J.J. O'Donnell, University of Pennsylvania.
This is the third annual edition of the standard reference work for those who wish to survey the world of networked electronic publishing. Two years ago, it was a daring infant venture; last year, it grew to 240 pages; this year, it is a husky adolescent of a book promising a brawny and vigorous adulthood in short order.
The volume contains first of all several articles on the state of the art, including a piece of my own, plus an important article (from the National Library of Medicine) on recommended formats for citing networked electronic publication in scholarly work, an annotated bibliography of current traditionally published scholarship on the subject of electronic journal publishing, and a further annotated 'netography' of similar information available over the networks.
Then the section on journals and newsletters comprises 45 journals, from AIDS Book Review Journal to Ulam Quarterly. Last year, I think BMCR was first in alphabetic order, now we are preceded as well by Arachnet Electronic Journal of Virtual Culture, Architronic: The Electronic Journal of Architecture, AXE: Revue electronique de la litterature quebecoise et francophone, and Bean Bag ('Communication among research scientists concerned with legume systematics'). Then there are 195 newsletters, from Acquisitions Librarians Electronic Network through World View Magazine. My eye was caught by the newsletter of business affairs in St. Petersburg (not the one in Florida), Amazons International, Cult of the Dead Cow (I tried that one: the descriptor, 'The common themes running through all issues are dead cows and a focus on extreme wackiness', seemed reasonably accurate), and the Internet Business Journal.
The 'list of lists' that completes the volume is necessarily selective, and benefits from clear subject organization and as well from a detailed index at volume's end. This does not include the trivia of Usenet news groups (to navigate the byways of alt.sex.bondage and its related communities, you must look elsewhere), but seeks to be 'Academic' -- it interprets that term generously, but still uses it as a functional excluder of much chaff. I shall never sign on to firstname.lastname@example.org, which discusses the use of intuition in decision making, but I can well appreciate the subset of psychologists who would welcome that sort of form of serious discussion.
My own bent is to see this already as a historical document of a particular moment in postmodern history, but it must be emphasized that it is in the main a serious working reference tool. It would not surprise me if your library already has it, but it should be there if not; and humanities computing facilities could well find it a valuable instructional tool.