Carl Malamud: Internet Talk Radio, flame of the Internet.


Malamud: This is Geek of the Week. We’re talk­ing with Dale Dougherty who’s the pub­lish­er of GNN, the Global Network Navigator. He’s a staff mem­ber at O’Reilly & Associates, has been with the O’Reilly & Associates since they began pub­lish­ing obscure books on UUCP and man­ag­ing Usenet. Welcome to Geek of the Week, Dale.

Dale Dougherty: Thank you. Glad to be here.

Malamud: You’re the pub­lish­er of GNN. Why don’t you tell us what would GNN is.

Dougherty: Global Network Navigator… Well, per­haps if I start off say­ing we thought it would be cool to have an online mag­a­zine that was dis­trib­uted over the Internet. And we start­ed with that idea in ear­ly 93. And as we start­ed putting it togeth­er it sort of grew into more than just a mag­a­zine, and so we start­ed call­ing it an infor­ma­tion cen­ter. And in that infor­ma­tion cen­ter we have about four publications. 

We have a news week­ly, and the pri­ma­ry focus of the news week­ly is to pub­lish announce­ments, let peo­ple know about new ser­vices that’re com­ing on to the onto the Internet. 

Then we have a mag­a­zine, which is what our orig­i­nal idea was. And it was to devel­op sto­ries, take a theme, take a focus such as the gov­ern­ment and the Internet; our sec­ond issue will be edu­ca­tion and the Internet, what going on. So we have a broad­er can­vas with which to work and a lit­tle more sta­ble time­frame, mean­ing quar­ter­ly there for the magazine. 

And then the third pub­li­ca­tion is the Whole Internet Catalog. And many of—

Malamud: Which is Ed Krol’s book.

Dougherty: Right. We took the cat­a­log por­tion of the Krol book and we’re already start­ing to main­tain it for new addi­tions to the book. And we real­ly expand­ed it and put it online so that we could real­ly serve as an index to infor­ma­tion ser­vices that are avail­able on the net­work. So some­thing like if you are a biol­o­gist and you can come to the Whole Internet Catalog, look up under biol­o­gy” and see what infor­ma­tion ser­vices are out there. And not only read about them but con­nect to—using Mosaic and the Web—to that actu­al ser­vice out there. 

Malamud: So you’ve tak­en the direc­to­ry part of Ed Krol’s book and instead of say­ing You could FTP over to this site” you just put a lit­tle link in there [crosstalk] and then some­body actually— 

Dougherty: Right. And in many ways it’s com­plete­ly trans­par­ent to the user whether it’s a Gopher or an FTP or a Web site that they’re link­ing to.

Malamud: Okay. Well let’s go through those pieces one by one. We brought you on the show not just as a shame­less plug for one of our spon­sors, but actu­al­ly since you’re build­ing a busi­ness on the Internet it’s inter­est­ing to see what an online mag­a­zine infor­ma­tion cen­ter is gonna look like. You’ve got a newsweek­ly, does that mean you have reporters that work for you that’re going out there look­ing for news?

Dougherty: Well, pri­mar­i­ly we have an edi­to­r­i­al staff. And are we’re in the process of grow­ing sort of a report­ing staff of sort of free­lancers and peo­ple on staff. Pretty much know our edi­to­r­i­al staff is look­ing at things out there and try­ing to… You know, what hap­pens on the Internet in terms of these infor­ma­tion out­fits, you actu­al­ly hear of them you know, Come to the net if you fol­low the right thing,” but often peo­ple put up a neat ser­vice and they say Here it is.” They don’t tell you any­thing about it. So, a lot of what we do in the newsweek­ly is to just sim­ply go out, find the ser­vice, look through and say you know, on the whole these are the inter­est­ing things about this ser­vice and give it some char­ac­ter and talk to the peo­ple who’s putting it up why are they doing this. How long will it be up. Sort of the back­ground on a lot of the ser­vices is some­thing that we’re try­ing to make part of the foreground.

Malamud: So your newsweek­ly is about the net. You’re not going to some com­pa­ny press con­fer­ence where they’re appoint­ing a new vice pres­i­dent of sales and report­ing on that.

Dougherty: No. No. These pub­li­ca­tions are all aimed at Internet users for real­ly— You know, we use the phrase we try to be like Triple A of the Internet, a place to go to get infor­ma­tion about inter­est­ing things to do on the net, or where things are, how do I find out about neat things. Seems to me that on the Internet, if you join enough alias­es and enough mail­ing list you’ll hear about things. What we kind of want­ed to do is cre­ate a place where well, we’ll fol­low a lot of those lists and we’ll pub­lish on a reg­u­lar basis so that you can go into the news and say, Oh, here are the new things that came on the net over the last two weeks or so.”

Malamud: Do you sum­ma­rize news­groups as well?

Dougherty: No, we don’t summarize—

Malamud: Because you could do some­thing very valu­able for me. If you could comp-priv on my behalf and just let me know once a month if some­thing happens…

Dougherty: Well. That’s some­thing— It’s an inter­est­ing direc­tion because I think it’s one of the things that— You know, our per­spec­tive is what can a pub­lish­er do to add val­ue on the Internet? Not exploit what’s there, but how can you add val­ue and in a way that peo­ple will pay for that val­ue. And I think digests are one of the key ways. It’s some­thing what we’re look­ing into down the road. In the Whole Internet Catalog, for instance, we’re sort of start­ing this by appoint­ing field edi­tors. Someone to take the mol­e­c­u­lar biol­o­gy top­ic and devel­op that as a…you know review the resources that are there and say these are good, these aren’t, fol­low new ones that are com­ing up. And also relate them to a broad­er world. Many of these resources, some­times they’re put up with­out any­one behind them. Meaning just some­one thought on a sun­ny day that it was a good idea to put them up. They’re not main­tained, they’re not updat­ed. You know. So part of the field edi­tor’s job is to say well you know, this is an online ver­sion of this print source, per­haps, but it’s not actu­al­ly spon­sored by the print source, or there’s some rela­tion­ship there that need to be made explicit. 

Malamud: Okay, so you have the book, and there you have area spe­cial­ists that track their areas. You have the newsweek­ly, and that’s kind of a flame of the day, inter­est­ing hack that I found. And the mag­a­zine seems to be in the mid­dle. It’s a quarterly…is there a theme for each magazine?

Dougherty: As I said ear­li­er, we’re try­ing to take a gen­er­al top­ic like like edu­ca­tion, like busi­ness, like gov­ern­ment, and col­lect— We basi­cal­ly have three sources for news. Some is the orig­i­nal report­ing where we’re hir­ing free­lancers to write arti­cles or peo­ple on staff; a lot of it’s staff-written. We also take arti­cles that have—we try to get rights to arti­cles that appear in print that we think have rel­e­vance to Internet users. In our first issue we had arti­cles from The Nation and from New Republic that served as sort of polit­i­cal con­nec­tions to the Internet. And the third source is to find infor­ma­tion that’s already on the net­work that may either be…just it lacks con­text. It does­n’t have—you know, often when you look at some pub­li­ca­tions, what they’re doing is tak­ing a speech or a col­lec­tion of arti­cles and putting them togeth­er in an inter­est­ing way and giv­ing some con­text for what’s of inter­est. Perhaps it’s excerpt­ing some of those arti­cles, um—

Malamud: Sequencing information.

Dougherty: Yeah, yeah.

Malamud: Taking data and putting it in, say­ing right here are the rel­e­vant bits and here’s the order your ough­ta read em in.

Dougherty: Yeah. Exactly. So, you know, again it’s edi­to­r­i­al that we’re try­ing to put together.

Our primary—in all three of these pub­li­ca­tions is say­ing you know, what we think we can do—what O’Reilly can do as com­pa­ny is good edi­to­r­i­al. And by putting things togeth­er here we real­ly want these pub­li­ca­tions to work on their own, apart from sort of the online deliv­ery mod­el. That’s just how we’re get­ting the bits to you, but we real­ly think that the key to these being suc­cess­ful is hav­ing strong edi­to­r­i­al con­tent over time.


Malamud: Dale Dougherty, you men­tioned ads, you men­tioned mak­ing mon­ey. You’re a for-profit cor­po­ra­tion. How do you intend to make mon­ey off of an online mag­a­zine? I mean, tech­ni­cal­ly how can you know that?

Dougherty: Yeah. Well, a fourth pub­li­ca­tion which I did­n’t men­tion was the GNN mar­ket­place. So, that is where we’ve in some way seg­re­gat­ed the adver­tis­ing. We’ve looked at the pub­li­ca­tions here and said well, one way to do tech­ni­cal pub­li­ca­tions is to get a major­i­ty of your rev­enue from adver­tis­ing. And giv­en that we want­ed to grow this mar­ket, we real­ly want­ed to find who’s out there and how do you get them used to read­ing mag­a­zines. We did­n’t want to put a sub­scrip­tion fee, sub­scrip­tion charge, on the mag­a­zine itself. So we want­ed to explore ways to get oth­er kinds of fund­ing, and adver­tis­ing seemed like a suit­able way to do that. Most tech­ni­cal pub­li­ca­tions are you know, 80 to 90% sup­port­ed by adver­tis­ing any­way, even if they’re…

Malamud: Well but your adver­tis­ing is off to the side. When I read Computer World or Foo World or one of these things, I turn the page an d the ad hits me in the face. Are you doing that when I click on a mouse but­ton, does an ad come up unexpectedly?

Dougherty: Well, no. What we’ve done is sort of two forms of adver­tis­ing. One is the mar­ket­place in which it’s basi­cal­ly a resource direc­to­ry and you can put adver­tis­ing there. And then in the pub­li­ca­tions them­selves we real­ly just have what we call refer­rals. We put an icon for the adver­tis­er at the top of an arti­cle, or at the bot­tom we say you know This arti­cle’s spon­sored by so-and-so” and it con­tains a link which can put them into the mar­ket­place and in into a par­tic­u­lar doc­u­ment that the adver­tis­er wants the read­er to see. 

But it is very much a choice-based adver­tis­ing sys­tem. And the point of it real­ly is tra­di­tion­al print adver­tis­ing has usu­al­ly an image and a punch­line that will get you some ini­tial atten­tion. But it ends up at the end say­ing call an 800 num­ber or send mail to this to get the full sto­ry. What we like to think we’re doing in GNN in terms of the adver­tis­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty is to give the full sto­ry to the read­er right there so that they have con­tent, infor­ma­tion about the prod­uct, real infor­ma­tion not just the tagline. But they have real infor­ma­tion about the prod­uct or ser­vice, and about the com­pa­ny. We encour­age the adver­tis­ers to put up arti­cles and things in that—we call those infor­ma­tion cen­ters or resource cen­ters. We real­ly think it’s an oppor­tu­ni­ty to com­mu­ni­cate with your cus­tomers or poten­tial cus­tomers about what you do.

Malamud: Well do the cus­tomers do that? Presumably you can track where peo­ple are going in your mag­a­zine. Do peo­ple look at the ads? More than once?

Dougherty: Yeah. We have track­ing, which means when so— We haven’t dis­cussed the tech­nol­o­gy, but gen­er­al­ly in a server-based sys­tem you come in and request some­thing of that serv­er, so it keeps a log of what’s gone on there. Right now it just keeps track that such an arti­cle was request­ed. And on look­ing at the four pub­li­ca­tions, we have say about 15% of the traf­fic is in the mar­ket­place. Which does­n’t make it is as big as the oth­er three pub­li­ca­tions just say on a mon—you know, this is about on six to eight weeks’ expe­ri­ence. But we will be able to know, from the log­ging. And that’s some­thing that tra­di­tion­al print adver­tis­ing cer­tain­ly can’t guar­an­tee you. They can guar­an­tee that so many peo­ple sub­scribe to that mag­a­zine, or pick it up at news­stands, but they can’t real­ly tell you whether peo­ple are actu­al­ly get­ting to that ad that you put in there.

Malamud: Are you being…too active here? Are you, by actu­al­ly watch­ing how the read­er reads, are you invad­ing his pri­va­cy? Is there such a thing as too active a magazine?

Dougherty: Mmm, it’s pos­si­ble that some peo­ple would have con­cerns over it. I real­ly think that what we’re doing is col­lec­tive sta­tis­tics. Nothing indi­vid­ual in terms of main­tain­ing… It just does­n’t have any mean­ing to us, and I think for con­cerns of pri­va­cy we cer­tain­ly would­n’t want to explore whether an indi­vid­ual read­er you know, likes this or that. But we do know you know, which…more…you’re look­ing for pat­terns. And we’re just start­ing off. You know, look through a com­pli­cat­ed log of data and say­ing that for peo­ple that go from the table of con­tents to the intro­duc­tion of an arti­cle, two thirds of those actu­al­ly con­tin­ue on to see the arti­cle itself. Things like that which tell you a bit about how you’re struc­tur­ing your infor­ma­tion. So I real­ly don’t feel like we are say­ing you know, Joe in Kansas like this kind of stuff and we’re gonna give him more of it.” I do think that there are areas for online pub­lish­ing, how­ev­er, if we knew more about you we might be able to give you choic­es among the infor­ma­tion that would be mean­ing­ful to you. The tech­nol­o­gy isn’t there, but that’s something—

Malamud: Well let’s talk about the tech­nol­o­gy. What is your pub­lish­ing plat­form? What do you put your GNN togeth­er with?

Dougherty: Yeah. Well, GNN is a World Wide Web appli­ca­tion. Which basi­cal­ly means we’re using the spec­i­fi­ca­tions defined by the World Wide Web, and that’s some­thing that orig­i­nat­ed at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau are the main devel­op­ers of those spec­i­fi­ca­tions. In the United States of course, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at Champaign, Illinois is the hotbed of web devel­op­ment. And what they’ve devel­oped there are real­ly pow­er­ful clients for Unix, PC, Windows, and Macintosh, as well as the serv­er side. 

Now, what is of sig­nif­i­cance to me in this client-server mod­el of the Web is that as a pub­lish­er we sim­ply run a serv­er. And we actu­al­ly run mul­ti­ple servers. We’ve put them in dif­fer­ent coun­tries and dif­fer­ent places where we think peo­ple can get are the infor­ma­tion fair­ly eas­i­ly. But the user choos­es the tool that they want to use, whether it’s Mosaic, or there’s anoth­er brows­er from University of Kansas called Lynx which is an ASCII-mode brows­er. And so, we’re giv­ing the user choic­es in terms of the func­tion­al­i­ty that they want in the brows­er, and there’s no rea­son not to assume that one day we’ll have com­mer­cial web browsers out there which have far more pow­er­ful inter­faces than what we have now. But the data that we’re send­ing across the net­work can remain con­stant or be part of the spec­i­fi­ca­tion. We don’t real­ly write to a par­tic­u­lar soft­ware pro­gram, we write to the specifications. 

Malamud: What about the Web made that the attrac­tive pub­lish­ing plat­form? Why aren’t you using WAIS, or why did­n’t you write your own server?

Dougherty: Well in fact we are using WAIS as well, but WAIS… To me the Web is a big step up from Gopher. And that’s prob­a­bly the major point. In the Web, we are able to dis­trib­ute doc­u­ments, in a sense, that have styled text and graph­ics, and even­tu­al­ly sound and video. But we are able to real­ly present a doc­u­ment mod­el. We’re able to cre­ate these pub­li­ca­tions, they don’t look like menu choic­es and things like that [crosstalk] as they do in Gopher.

Malamud: It’s not just plain ASCII

Dougherty: Right.

Malamud: It’s not menus and ASCII text.

Dougherty: Right. It’s styled fonts. We’re able to spec­i­fy some­thing about the struc­ture of the infor­ma­tion and its rela­tion­ship from one doc­u­ment to anoth­er. So, it’s start­ing to look—at least from my point of view, it looked like the world I was famil­iar with in terms of pub­lish­ing, in terms of hav­ing doc­u­ments and mov­ing from one doc­u­ment to anoth­er. And so, as a pub­lish­er we just set up the struc­ture so that you can— You know, you have a table of con­tents, and you have the doc­u­ments you want to get to, and you set up a design for the whole pack­age. So I think it fit into the pub­lish­er’s needs. And that’s why we start­ed using it. It’s not the end of where we want to be, but it was cer­tain­ly a good place to start. The Web offers a nav­i­ga­tion­al mod­el based on hyper­text, or this idea of being able to link from one place to anoth­er. Most hyper­text pro­grams to date man­age their own name­space, which basi­cal­ly they define all those loca­tions and they resolve the address­es. What was unique about the Web was that it had real­ly a glob­al name­space for link address­ing, so that you could move from one doc­u­ment on one com­put­er to anoth­er doc­u­ment on anoth­er com­put­er, com­plete­ly trans­par­ent­ly. In fact—

Malamud: And so that’s the con­cept of the URL, right—

Dougherty: Right.

Malamud: The Universal Record Locator.

Dougherty: Right. And you know, it’s almost too trans­par­ent. I find—you know, when I’m giv­ing a demo some­times I want to stop, wave my hands and say, Look, look. Do you real­ize you just went out to London, England to retrieve that list, or did you real­ize you just went over to Australia to get that doc­u­ment?” It just hap­pens trans­par­ent­ly in the system. 

But the Web offers a nav­i­ga­tion­al mod­el, and I think we real­ly need as well a search and retrieval mod­el, and that’s what WAIS offers. So in fact you’ll see that in GNN we have a WAIS serv­er run­ning as well as a web serv­er, so that you can type in a text string and get back a list of doc­u­ments that con­tain a cer­tain words.

Malamud: So what the user sees on this book inter­face of Mosaic or some oth­er view­er is a bunch of text and pic­tures, and some­place there’s enter key­word to search for?”

Dougherty: Right. Or there are links in the doc­u­ment, which they can contain…you know, that’s how they move from one doc­u­ment to anoth­er either through the search mod­el or through the nav­i­ga­tion­al mod­el of hyperlinks.


Malamud: Dale Dougherty, the World Wide Web that you pub­lish in with GNN has hyper­text con­cepts, but it also has pub­lish­ing con­cepts. I know you’ve made an inten­sive study of SGML and you’re using an SGML vari­ant with­in the World Wide Web known as HTML. Could you tell us a lit­tle bit about how SGML and this World Wide Web vari­ant relate to each oth­er? Is this the same SGML we’ve heard talked about for the last ten or fif­teen years by the pub­lish­ing community?

Dougherty: Well HTML is best viewed as a min­i­mal sub­set of SGML. SGML itself is…it’s like a spec­i­fi­ca­tion for a lan­guage, and then you end up with— You know, what you end up actu­al­ly work­ing with is a lan­guage itself that you go in and you define it. So HTML is a lim­it­ed lan­guage that allows us to define doc­u­ments for pur­pos­es of dis­tri­b­u­tion. We actu­al­ly at O’Reilly keep the doc­u­ment in a more rich ver­sion of SGML, if you will, and we fil­ter down into HTML.

Malamud: What do you lose? What’re some of the things you have inter­nal­ly that you can’t pub­lish with?

Dougherty: Well, it’s not so much that we lose, we just don’t need them in the online ver­sion. We might be keeping—for instance the Whole Internet Catalog online, we have con­tact infor­ma­tion, or we have an update his­to­ry. You view it more as a data­base of infor­ma­tion, and then there’s only some of this infor­ma­tion that you want to pub­lish in a par­tic­u­lar medium.

Malamud: Okay, so that’s con­tent that you’re not using. Are there styl­is­tic indi­ca­tions, are there tricks you do on paper that you can’t do on the Web? You know, switch to ital­ic, pull in a Greek char­ac­ter, cen­ter the fol­low­ing text.

Dougherty: Well there are lots of lim­i­ta­tions cer­tain­ly in the ren­der­ing on the Web. We can’t do two columns, for instance. We can’t do…you know, if you put up a graph­ic you basi­cal­ly lose all the hor­i­zon­tal space on that area unless you put up oth­er graph­ics with it. So there are def­i­nite­ly prob­lems there, or should we would say it’s not very rich, you know, when you look at say what you can do on a print­ed page. But that’s not nec­es­sar­i­ly an SGML prob­lem, that’s sim­ply we can iden­ti­fy the key ele­ments in the doc­u­ment, and what we have are dif­fer­ent browsers mak­ing ren­der­ing deci­sions out there that some make good ones, some make bad ones. Some will take the title of the doc­u­ment and put it right-justified at the top of a page, oth­ers will cen­ter it, and oth­ers will put it as part of the appli­ca­tion infor­ma­tion and it’s almost invis­i­ble. So there are dif­fer­ent choic­es that browsers are mak­ing with it. 

But in terms of— You know, get­ting back to the SGML, it’s some­thing that’s impor­tant— We’re find­ing out— We’re try­ing to sor­ta lob­by with­in the web com­mu­ni­ties to real­ly try to respect the data spec­i­fi­ca­tion here. If you author a doc­u­ment and all you do is pull up Mosaic and can look at it and say that looks fine on the screen, even­tu­al­ly that’s gonna hurt you or hurt the Web, I think, if we are so locked into a par­tic­u­lar brows­er. What SGML is try­ing to say is here’s a com­mon under­stand­ing of the struc­ture of a doc­u­ment so that all browsers can process at least the struc­ture the same way. 

Malamud: So SGML is about the fact that this text is a title, not about the fact that titles are right or cen­tered or left or a cer­tain font or color.

Dougherty: Exactly. Something like a stylesheet mech­a­nism is need­ed in the Web and is some­thing we’re try­ing to devel­op to specify—to map the for­mat­ting instruc­tions to the struc­tur­al ele­ments, such as map­ping Helvetica Bold to fact that this is a title


Malamud: Dale Dougherty, you’re actu­al­ly run­ning a busi­ness on the Internet. We’ve been hear­ing for years about pub­lish­ers. And they’ve been look­ing at SGML, they’ve been look­ing at online pub­lish­ing, and they’re get­ting ready to go. Are the McGraw Hills and the Addison Wesleys, are those com­pa­nies going to be the pub­lish­ers on the Internet? Are they going to get on there? Or are you going to be the next McGraw hill? Are you eat­ing their lunch, or are they about to step on top of you?

Dougherty: Well… One can’t real­ly know that at this point. I think based on activ­i­ty…you know, as a small pub­lish­er we’re doing a lot more than some of the larg­er com­pa­nies out there. We think it’s very impor­tant to be involved right now when things like even the Web are emerg­ing as impor­tant appli­ca­tion frame­works. It’s impor­tant to have the input into the spec­i­fi­ca­tions that are being devel­oped. It won’t be so easy to change some of these things a cou­ple years hence. 

My sense is the pub­lish­ers don’t real­ly want a close rela­tion­ship to tech­nol­o­gy these days, and they don’t want to have their hands in it. And that’s the only way, I think, right now that you can get into online pub­lish­ing via the Internet, is to go in and solve the prob­lems your­self as much as you can and work with oth­ers coop­er­a­tive­ly. It’s sort of unfor­tu­nate, because we’ve tried to work with oth­er pub­lish­ers I think in a way to encour­age a view that this pub­lish­ing tech­nol­o­gy ought to be some­thing we share, by and large, and we com­pete based on the con­tent. In oth­er words what we’re actu­al­ly deliv­er­ing. But it’s in all of our inter­ests to have browsers like Mosaic out there. To have an appli­ca­tion frame­work in which the infor­ma­tion pass­es trans­par­ent­ly from one user to anoth­er in terms of the type of sys­tem that they’re using. If you look at this online pub­lish­ing as an envi­ron­ment, they choose their own tools and it’s our job to deliv­er into that envi­ron­ment suc­cess­ful­ly. We don’t require them to have the piece of pro­pri­etary soft­ware that we licensed from so-and-so. What I real­ly see in the CD-ROM mar­ket is where you’ve frag­ment­ed that mar­ket because each CD-ROM comes with its own front end soft­ware, and there’s only so many pieces of soft­ware as a user that you want to learn. And if you can’t use the same piece of soft­ware to read an ency­clo­pe­dia as you can a dic­tio­nary as you can a biol­o­gy ref­er­ence man­u­al, you know, you’re gonna stop using that envi­ron­ment. So we real­ly think that the strength of some­thing like the Web is that infor­ma­tion can be ubiq­ui­tous in there. You can get it through lots of dif­fer­ent ways. The more pub­lish­ers that are on the Internet the bet­ter for all of us, and I real­ly mean that’s bet­ter for the users, it’s bet­ter for the pub­lish­ers. The rich­er the infor­ma­tion space, the more peo­ple you’ll have in it.

Malamud: Do you think you’re going to get those oth­er pub­lish­ers online? The old­er main­stream pub­lish­ers. Are they gonna join this world? Cause you know, when they first start­ed they were tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies. When pub­lish­ers first start­ed, the cur­rent big com­pa­nies, the McGraw Hills, were mas­ters at run­ning large print­ing press­es and doing dis­tri­b­u­tion of large vol­umes of papers to lots and lots of book­stores. They were tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies. Are they going to be able to make this shift into the next technology?

Dougherty: Well I think they should be able to. It’s not clear, because this isn’t just a tech­nol­o­gy oppor­tu­ni­ty, it’s also a mar­ket­ing and sales oppor­tu­ni­ty. And that’s anoth­er thing that pub­lish­ers should be fair­ly strong at doing. But you know, this is not only an oppor­tu­ni­ty to deliv­er your books online, but it’s an oppor­tu­ni­ty to reach the peo­ple who want to buy them in the first place. So it real­ly is a com­plete chan­nel. And I think it requires not just…you know, what you see too much is pub­lish­ers spend a fair amount of mon­ey doing a pilot project that pro­duces a one-off…you know, one exam­ple of a prod­uct at the end. And they put that out and they put it in the book­stores. And you know, they end up sell­ing a thou­sand of the thing. And they say Well, we tried elec­tron­ic pub­lish­ing, it just did­n’t work and we’ve retreat­ed from it.” I think you need a dif­fer­ent view of what elec­tron­ic pub­lish­ing is to make this work, and I think it involves some invest­ment, it involves get­ting in and decid­ing how is this thing going to work cause it has to work. It’s just a mat­ter of get­ting in there and fig­ur­ing out what are the pieces that have to come togeth­er to make it work. I don’t think the idea of send­ing some­thing off to a third par­ty, hav­ing them put it on CD-ROM for you and giv­ing you a prod­uct back which then you have to mar­ket and sell through tra­di­tion­al chan­nels is real­ly the way to break open this market. 

Malamud: Gotta do it yourself.

Dougherty: Gotta do it yourself—

Malamud: DIY, as Peter Gabriel says.

Dougherty: Yeah. [laughs]

Malamud: Well thank you very much. We’ve been talk­ing to Dale Dougherty, the pub­lish­er of Global Network Navigator. Thanks for being a Geek of the Week.

Dougherty: Thank you, Carl. 


Malamud: You’ve been lis­ten­ing to Geek of the Week, a pro­duc­tion of the Internet Multicasting Service. To pur­chase an audio cas­sette of this pro­gram, send mail to audio@​ora.​com. You may copy this file and change the encod­ing for­mat, but may not resell the con­tents or make a deriv­a­tive work.

Support for Geek of the Week comes from Sun Microsystems, mak­ers of open sys­tem solu­tions. Sun: when you think geek, think Sun. Support for Geek of the Week also comes from O’Reilly & Associates. O’Reilly & Associates, pub­lish­ers of the Global Network Navigator Send mail to info@​gnn.​com for more infor­ma­tion. Network con­nec­tiv­i­ty for the Internet Multicasting Service is pro­vid­ed by UUNET Technologies, and by MFS DataNet.

This is Carl Malamud for the Internet Multicasting Service, town crier to the glob­al village.


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