I hope the online program is useful to some people, at least . . . I just
got a message from Eric, and he indicated that the version he's gotten to
use to put on the web is not the final version that went to the
printer's, so h and his compatriots at Missouri are busy checking for
errors these days . . .

But you know, something else besides the difficulty of getting the
programs across the border struck me this morning.  I was looking at my
program book, and I realized, for the first time, that it is, indeed, a
BOOK.  I had been reading it as something else . . . but if you look at
it, it's perfectly clear that the technology that produced it was
book-producing technology:  It's bound, it looks typeset (or whatever
passes for typeset in publishing places these days), and at 350 pages,
it's even a heftier tome than most of the ones put out by NCTE.  I wonder
where it's actually printed.  (My husband used to work for a company in
Ann Arbor which produced a lot of NCTE's books; sheesh, if they did the
programs, I probably coulda gotten them a week and a half ago . . . )

        But book technology is notoriously slow.  How long does it take
to get a book from manuscript to print after all the editing has been
done?  My guess would be a couple of months, at minimum.  The impression
I've gotten from reports of conversations others have had with the folks at
NCTE is that they don't get much more time than that to prepare the
convention programs.  And they still can't get them out in enough time to
send them to everybody.

        My first thought is that book technology is the wrong way to
distribute these kinds of immediate texts.  But, access issues (which are
considerable) aside, we _need_ those texts to exist as physical objects
and not just as computer files because we need to read them in
circumstances where there are no computers.  We need them to be portable,
and not need batteries or A/C power, and not to interfere with the
navigation systems of aircraft.

        Well, there isn't a real clear point to this rambling, except to
say that in the case of the C's program books, some of the needs of readers
are compromised by the delivery system, even as other needs are
accommodated by it.  It's always a dance between conflicting needs and
interests, isn't it?  Doesn't matter if you're writing on the web or on
stone tablets . . .

Marcy (who's got Reading Technologies -- -- on the brain these days . . . )

                        Marcy Bauman
         Writing Program, University of Michigan-Dearborn
              4901 Evergreen Rd, Dearborn, MI 48128
                      fax: 313-593-5552
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