SUMMARY: electronic WBG

Leon Avery leon at EATWORMS.SWMED.EDU
Wed Sep 13 06:49:41 EST 1995

I got a dozen or so responses to my request for ideas about how to
manage electronic WBG abstract submission.  Of course plain text
submission by WWW and e-mail will remain available--the question is
how to allow more versatile formats.  Here's the majority opinion as
expressed by Mir Hengartner:

    If HTML becomes a widespread export format, then this is the way
    to go.  If it is not yet available, then we should just wait for
    it to become available.  I guess that if it had to be done now,
    one could send mac word files to somebody nice enough to import
    them into Word for Windows and then reexport them in the HTML

    I am still a strong supporter in principle of an electronic WBG,
    so let's keep looking.


So I plan to set up HTML submission.  I believe immediate feedback is
important, so my plan is to set this up with WWW forms similar to the
plain text submission forms.  I'll probably have something up in a
week or two, although based on past experience I don't expect anyone
to use it until hours before the next deadline, when all the bugs will
suddenly become dreadfully apparent.

I am keen to come up with a way that figures can be included, and I've
already done a little work towards that.  To include a figure it has
to be available on the WWW.  Then it's easy: you just stick a
reference to it in your HTML document.  If you run a server, you can
put any figures you want on it, but most people don't run WWW servers.
So I've set up a figure archive at
to which you can send pictures by e-mail.  (There are some
restrictions, of course--I don't want to become a purveyor of amateur
erotica.)  An e-mail reply tells you the URL of your figures (also how
to delete them and probably in future how to add a description), and
you can refer to the URLs in an HTML document.  

This is all fairly clunky, and I doubt it will be used except by a few
truly dedicated people.  My hope is that when other users see those
few beautifully formatted and illustrated abstracts they will be
filled with a fever of emulation, and, the tools for producing HTML
becoming easier to use, more people will start doing it.  (Yeah,
right.)  At least there will be some mechanism for those who really
want it, and perhaps experience will show how to improve.

By the way, electronic submission for WBG 14(1) was OK but not
spectacular: looks like there will be about 50 abstracts available
electronically.  The UTSW network went haywire right at the peak
submission time (Friday from 3:30 - 7:30), so some people may have
gotten frustrated and given up.

Leon Avery					   (214) 648-2420 (office)
Department of Biochemistry			            -2768 (lab)
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center             -8856 (fax)
5323 Harry Hines Blvd				   leon at
Dallas, TX  75235-9038

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