Damn NCTE (or, the perils of publishing online)

I received an email today from a colleague in the field who wrote to ask about an article I published in the CCCs Online in September 2002, “Where Do I List This on My CV? Considering the Values of Self-Published Web Sites.” The link for the page, http://archive.ncte.org/ccc/2/54.1/krause_copy.html, doesn’t work. So I wrote to the “NCTE people” (and, of course, finding someone to actually complain to at NCTE wasn’t too easy), and the answer I received was less than satisfying. The NCTE person suggested I log into my NCTE account and get a PDF version of the file. The problem though is that the article in question was not published in the paper journal but as a web site in the online version of the journal. And just to make matters worse, the article is part of a special joint Ejournal issue which included articles about (ironically enough) publishing on the web. Which means that taking down this link messes up these other publications’ links, too.

On the one hand, I don’t want to make too big of a deal out of this, and I’m guessing that someone somewhere somehow will get this all sorted out. On the other hand, it isn’t just my article– try any of the articles linked via http://archive.ncte.org/ccc/ and see what happens. 404. I had assumed that NCTE was a bit more responsible about its web publishing responsibilities, but apparently, I assumed wrong.

I guess this just reminds me of something I’ve been thinking about a bit lately. As more publishing goes online (a good thing), we have a greater potential of losing texts that disappear more or less forever when someone decides to turn off a server (a bad thing). If that article was in print, I could refer my colleague to her or his library, or I could easily enough send them a photocopy or something. With the web site gone, I’m SOL.

After looking around my computer a bit, I was able to find what I think is the same version of the article that originally appeared in the CCCs Online, and I am going to make it available via my own web site at http://www.stevendkrause.com/academic/2002CCC. . I don’t really know what NCTE will think of this move, but considering the fact that they decided to just turn off all of the materials they had on the CCCs Online, I suspect they don’t care.

And I think I’ve learned a lesson that I will apply to my other online publications past and present: put them in multiple places in multiple formats. I don’t have time to mess with this today, but I think I’ll need to burn some CDs and print out some web pages sooner than later. I hope others in my field who have been publishing online lately do the same.

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