[LINK] History of Internet in Australia on Paper

Jamie Sunderland Jamie.Sunderland at aarnet.edu.au
Thu May 6 21:30:30 AEST 2010

Hi Tom,

Although I am not directly involved with the production and publication of this book (and am unaware if there are any copyright issues associated with it), I believe it is AARNet's intention to publish it in soft-copy via the AARNet website once a reasonable proportion of the initial hard-cover production has been sold.

AARNet is a not-for-profit, and while the "20 Years of the Internet in Australia" book is not intended to be a profit making exercise I'm not sure our members would have supported it's production without some effort to recover at least some of the costs involved in it's authorship and publication.  

An online-only version would still have cost a significant proportion of the paper version with no easy way to recoup any costs. If AARNet had sold an online version with any form of DRM or copy protection combined with a payment gateway - or worse sold it though a commercial online publisher, then I'm sure there would have been more than a few negative comments in the blogosphere. At least this way, those who want to pay for an early copy get a finely crated tangible thing to hold in their hands and enable future DRM-free publication online.

For those who'd like to purchase a copy now, there is a link on the AARNet website http://www.aarnet.edu.au/

I am also aware that a number of copies have been gifted to various universities, libraries and other organisations around the country (but I don't have a list of those).

I'm sure there will be some publicity when it is made available online. 

Regards, Jamie.

Jamie Sunderland - AARNet
t.+61 2 9779 6971   m.0419 100 573  w. www.aarnet.edu.au

-----Original Message-----
From: link-bounces at mailman1.anu.edu.au [mailto:link-bounces at mailman1.anu.edu.au] On Behalf Of Tom Worthington
Sent: Tuesday, 4 May 2010 9:29 AM
To: Link list
Subject: [LINK] History of Internet in Australia on Paper

The book "AARNet : 20 Years of the Internet in Australia : 1989-2009" by 
Glenda Korporaal was launched in November 2009:

But only in the last week have I been able to access it, as the book is 
only avialable as a hardback paper book. This is ironic as AARNet is a 
pioneer of online information access.

The book is a reasonably well researched, well written and well 
presented 128 page, handsome hardback, with numerous historically 
interesting photographs. The book could do with an index and seems to 
draw more than a little of its inspiration from Roger Clarke's "Origins 
and Nature of the Internet in Australia" 

The author does not shy away from discussing some of the controversies 
in AARnet's history. I recognised many familiar names and faces, some of
whom were memebrs of the "Internet Conspiracy" to get the Australian 
Government on the Internet in the 1990s (quite a few are still Linkers).

It is a shame, and symptomatic of the problems which have held back
AARnet, that few people will ever see this work. After making a bold
move into a new technology AARnet tends loose it nerve and fails to
follow up and make effective use of the what it has done. In this case
they have commissioned a book, but ensured almost no one will ever read
it, by not making it available using the technology they advocate.

The message AARnet is sending out to its clients in Australian
universities and to its backers (the Australian Government), is that
AARnet does not think the Internet is suitable for the distribution of
important information: AARnet prefers paper delivery and does not trust 
the Internet.

The copy of the book I read will sit on the shelves of the ANU Menzies 
Library, several floors away from the nearest student (who will be 
tapping away at a keyboard) and on the other side of the campus from the 
School of Computer Science: <http://library.anu.edu.au/record=b2384773>.

AARnet could have provided the book online, as a valuable educational
resource, in the form of a free web site and e-book. This would have 
cost less to produce than the expensive hardback book (and may have been 
profitable). Australian students could have then learned about the role 
which Australia played in creating the Internet. Instead Australians 
will be educated using materials from other countries and not know 
Australia had a role in development of the Internet.

Tom Worthington FACS HLM, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia  http://www.tomw.net.au
Adjunct Lecturer, The Australian National University t: 02 61255694
Computer Science http://cs.anu.edu.au/user/3890

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