Monthly Archives: July 2010

Not Splitting the Baby

Thanks to those who commented on the previous post. At my day job for a certain large aerospace concern (not the same one as a few years ago; same company, but different corporate owner), we are constantly reminded that our purpose in life is to please — actually the word is ‘delight’ — our customers. So: you are my customers, and I will listen to what you have to say.

So then; a reading of the comments to the previous post suggests that there is no solution that will please everyone. I had thought (Antiqueight) that I was *helping* by bringing Locus Online’s coverage of online publications to the same level as print publications; thus a Monitor page formatted in exact parallel with the long-standing ‘Other [print] Magazines’ page. If I put the word magazine in quotes (Antiqueight and Mishell), it’s because I think like a mathematician (which I am by training), or a lawyer, and was experimenting with precise, workable definitions of that particular word.

It’s not about reviews (Rachel); it’s not about deprecating online magazines compared to print magazines (again, I thought I was helping; Chris and Heather, how did this become a slam against technology??); splits between fiction/nonfiction (Dave) or periodicity (C.E.) or free vs not-free (steve) have too many exceptions or complications.

The one obvious distinction I thought was reasonable (Fred, mkb and SMD), print vs electronic, caused the reaction in the first place; like “separate but equal”, it is apparently not a workable solution.

(I will note a couple points of reference: Locus Magazine’s “Magazines Received” listings do not distinguish between periodicity, or among professional status; and neither do they include electronic publications. Also, last time I checked, Bill Contento’s Locus Index to SF (and his Index to Magazines) does not index electronic publications.

I’ll also note that, all along, Locus Online’s Directory pages for ‘Magazines’ (e.g. 2010 Magazines) has included references to online publications reviewed in the magazine by Rich and Gardner, and online by Lois. Actually, this was a gap in my proposed ‘Other Websites’ setup, since I’d implemented this in a separate database that didn’t synch with the Magazines database and directory pages. (I would have synched them up eventually.))

So for now… I will not split the baby, along any division. I will post a single page each week listing all new print and online publications of any type, format, and venue, that come to my attention, actively or passively, and I will be very careful not imply that anything is or is not a ‘magazine’.

(Again — sorry to belabor this — where to draw the line? Is or io9 a ‘magazine’? [ ranked 3rd in the Locus Poll for 'Best Magazine'.] I once opined that websites that updated in a periodic ‘issue’ format were holdovers from a prior mode of expression — like early movies that were merely filmed versions of staged plays — but obviously I was wrong. The issue paradigm is alive and well, perhaps as a convenience to readers, who need check a particular publication only monthly, or whatever the frequency is, whereas sites that update daily demand more attention… So, is everything online a magazine? [Slate calls itself a "daily magazine on the Web".] Where is the line between magazine and blog and mere website? I guess I will be careful not to go there.)

I have now reset last week’s ‘Other Websites’ page to this new template, at Magazines & Websites, mid July 2010, with some additional specs for format (more than just print vs online) and frequency, and some enlarged logos.

Finally.. should I reconsider Locus Online’s subtitle, at the top of every page since the redesign a year or so ago? That is, “The Website of The Magazine of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Field”..? Does this make a distinction that is misleading, if not obsolete?

Websites, Magazines, and Everything in Between

I’ve gotten a bit of feedback on the revived Other Websites Monitor page (once posted as a monthly ‘E-Publications’ page), which raises the question of whether or not online ‘magazines’, such as Lightspeed, Intergalactic Medicine Show, Clarkesworld, et al, shouldn’t be listed with the print magazines like Asimov’s and F&SF, on the Other Magazines pages. There is apparently this lingering perception that online magazines don’t get the respect that print magazines do… a situation which I, as proprietor of the online counterpart to a print magazine whose editors are regularly showered with Hugo Awards, can’t say I’m unaware of.

So let me put the question to readers of Locus Online. The intent of the various ‘Monitor’ pages, for new books and magazines, paperback reprints and reprints of classic material, has always been to alert readers of what’s newly available that they should be aware of, in as timely a manner as possible. Covering web content has been an unfortunate omission now for several years, due to my own inability to keep up [there's no one here but me, running this website], but now that I’m able to resume that coverage, the issue of where to draw the lines between departments has arisen.

So, readers, what makes more sense to you? Include periodical web ‘magazines’ on the same page with print magazines? And put blog-style websites on a separate page? Or, say, have one page for all print/online publications providing fiction, and another page for all those providing nonfiction and reviews and whatnot? (And on which of those would go? Both?) Or… simply put all print and online publications on a single, weekly, page?

Let me know your ideas.

Coming Up to Speed

Over the past month now I’ve gradually managed to bring the website ‘up to speed’, in the sense that I’ve always thought it should be: something substantial posted every day; more frequent updates of new books and magazines; better reaction and response to incoming emails (my inbox now has no more than a couple dozen items left at the end of each day, rather than hundreds of stale, unread and unanswered items).

This is due to a synchronicity of events: Locus HQ is supplying more content (sample reviews, and ‘spotlight’ interviews yet to be posted) for the website; Locus HQ’s taking over of News posts this past year has relieved me of a considerable burden (though I still do them once in a while, on weekends, which they all take off); my workplace has gradually eased off on website access during the day (though certain domains, e.g. anything on blogspot such as Matt Cheney’s blog, are intermittently blocked); I’ve found better, more effective ways of tracking scheduled tasks and dispositioning them each day; and, frankly, my focus on health over the past couple years, diet and exercise and supplements, has recently had beneficial consequences in terms of focus and energy in a sense that only my partner, doctor, and trainer can fully appreciate. (This may be TMI.)

The next step is that I’m reviving the website’s periodic ‘Monitor’ page devoted to what’s on other websites, in counterpart to the ‘other magazines’ page; I did such pages for a couple years back in the 2001-2003 time period, as ‘E-Publications’, the last post being May 2003. The new posts will be called ‘Other Websites’ and should be posted weekly. That’s the plan. Most of the first post is ready, and you will see it tomorrow, Friday 7/23. In conjunction with that, I’m checking for currency the links on the Links Portal page, which I haven’t done for a couple years, and consolidating there links to newer sites that so far have only been listed in Blinks.

One area not yet ‘up to speed’ is this personal blog — since, as everyone knows, the ideal blog should have something posted every day. Do I have anything to say worth posting every day, that people out there would want to read every day? Well, perhaps the former, and the latter doesn’t seem to bother many bloggers out there. We’ll see; that will be next.