Publishing archaeology on the Web: who reads this stuff anyway?

Alan Vince1

with Julian Richards2, Seamus Ross3 and Mike Heyworth4

1Managing Editor, Internet Archaeology. The University of York, King's Manor, York, YO1 2EP
2 Department of Archaeology, The University of York, King's Manor, York, YO1 2EP
3 Humanities Computing and Information Management, Faculty of Arts, 6 University Gardens, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8QQ.
4 CBA. Bowes Morrell House, 111 Walmgate, York, YO1 2UA.
Alan Vince Alan Vince , J. Richards jdr1@york.ac.uk", S. Ross sro@arts.gla.ac.uk", M. Heyworth m.heyworth@dial.pipex.com"

Cite this as: Vince, A. (1997). Publishing archaeology on the web: who reads this stuff anyway? Internet Archaeology, (3). Council for British Archaeology. doi:10.11141/ia.3.3

Summary

Internet Archaeology (IA) is an electronic archaeological journal funded entirely, so far, by eLib, the Electronic Libraries project . The eLib project's aims are to investigate the use of electronic publishing in the Higher Education sector in the UK and to promote culture change to encourage the use of the new media. A fundamental part of this project is the evaluation of its effectiveness and each eLib project has an evaluation strategy built into it. The eLib programme has adopted a scatter-gun strategy and has supported projects with a variety of approaches. Given the speed of change in recent years, both cultural and technological, this is only sensible. The use of the World Wide Web is affected by the availability of content, publicity, the cost of access and the development of the infrastructure (in which I would include both the investment in the Internet and the development of the software and hardware required to access it). The boundaries of what is possible are moving all the time, and the constraints which determined the way in which the project set out, and which were described at the CAA 1996 conference in York, may not now present such problems. For details of these constraints see the text of the paper given at the CAA 1995 Conference in Leiden.

We are particularly keen to know more about the way in which people will use the journal since we are now planning to publish papers which will not be ready for publication until 1999 or 2000. One hurdle that has to be jumped is that of funding. At present, access to the Internet is by and large free once you have selected an Internet Service Provider. If this remains the case, then there would be a strong incentive for people to publish in their own web space. If, on the other hand, the party ends and the true cost of the Internet is passed on to the end user, then IA will have to follow suit.

Unless the journal actually fulfills a function, however, all talk of its future is irrelevant. This paper will look at the way in which the first issue of Internet Archaeology, published in September 1996, has been used in its first half-year of existence.

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