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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 28 Mar 1996 19:08:48 -0500
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First, I wish to thank all of you who've expressed interest in my
little book on Twain and religion.  For those of you who have
trouble accessing the websie or downloading the text, please feel
free to write me and ask for me to e-mail the fool thing to you
directly.  Now that I know I can send long documents without
breaking them into parts, there should be problem for me to offer
the book to you directely.

Secondly, I must thank Taylor for the overgenerous kind words he
gave this project, and thank him also for establishing this Forum
and its related projects in the first place.  I was impressed by
the thoughts he shard in his letter, and thought I'd add a

I've heard at conferences poo-pooing of electronic publishing,
often for very good resons.  Proofreading is often sad (I confess,
I have sinned), and more importantly, this kind of publishing is
often not juried, merely scholars's off-the-cuff "chat rooms" to
each other.  I'm not downplaying the wonderful immediacy list-
serves provide us, and am grateful for the open variety and give-
and-take of our informal conferences.

But each of us, as it were, are on the "cutting edge" of the
technology that will ultimatly become the most useful source of
ideas in the coming years.  It is important that our generation
create the standards for scholary electronic publishing that will
change the value the scholarly community places on internet
publication.  As Taylor suggested, by placing the BEST of our work
in such arenas as our _Forum_, we can change more than what tenure
or hiring committees consider valid listings on our vitas.  The
world of ideas can become more interactive, more eaily revised or
augmented, more fluid.  There is even an aspect of nobility to
this: for example, the handicapped community can more readily have
access to and communicate with the databases of information and
dialouge.  Other virtues, no doubt, you are already weel aware of
regarding your own experiences.

Here, I'm trying to second Taylor's motion that Twainians place
their BEST work at the website, on this Forum, or elsewhere in
other such families to help raise the reputations of our community
as a whole.  And list them proudly on our vitas as publications as
viable as those trusty, rusty journals. We'll still treausre those
books on the shelf, I'm sure, but should ultimatly also treaure the
many dynamics of this new realm.  And, we can then all take pride
in participating in the expansion of the scholarly landscape.

I realize I'm a bit of a Johhnny-come-lately, and I'm probably
singing to already converted choir.  If so, please forgive my
ignorant audacity.

I guess I need a Twain quote to make all this directly relevant to
the purpose of this Forum.  All I can think of is,  "It is noble to
do good.  It is nobler still to teach others to do good, and less
trouble."  Go ye therefore and do likewise.

the unsinkable
wes britton