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?

4 Responses to Not Splitting the Baby

  1. Sean Wallace

    Offhand, Bill does, actually. He doesn’t index as many as one might hope, but he does. I think he started in 2000, for the online indices, with EOTU, INFINITY PLUS, SCI FICTION, STRANGE HORIZONS, and a few others. His cd-rom, however, has a lot more. (At least my edition does, which covers 1890-1997). Pretty much most sf bibliographers treat them as one and the same, I suspect. It’s all magazines. In any case, not splitting the baby does sound like a pretty good solution, and it’s nice to see it discussed and worked out.

  2. I didn’t think it was a slam against technology – I’m just endlessly frustrated with the perceived difference between analog and ebook…like one is superior to the other, writing-wise.

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  4. Lois Tilton

    Where I am tangled with “magazine” is the concept of a periodical issue. “volume N, number n” and all that. Some online magazines do fall more or less into an issue and I like to review them as such, monthly by preference [mine].

    But some websites that might be magazine-like are less issueish. They post content on a more or less continual basis, not periodically, so I am constantly having to decide where to cut them off into quasi-issues for review. Which makes me think of them as less magazineish but as some other zine-like thing.