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                The Disktop Publishing BBS -
           The Epicenter of Electronic Publishing
                   by Ron Albright, Sysop

The "First Wave" of publishing was restricted to manuscripts hand- copied by transcribers and available only to the rich. The "Second Wave" started in 1455 with Gutenberg's printing press which made books and other material widely available to all. The "Third Wave," just beginning to swell in the information ocean, is the one that will sweep us into the next century. It is the wave of "electronic publishing." The "Disktop Publishing" bulletin board system ("BBS") is your "surfboard" to ride this new wave of information access.

The Disktop Publishing BBS is a Wildcat! system dedicated all interested in the dissemination of information in electronic ("computer readable") format. The system is a single-line BBS that operates 24 hours per day at 205-854-1660. The modem online is a U.S. Robotics Courier and supports V.32/V.42 communications at 1200/2400/9600 bps. Anyone - particularly authors, publishers, and consumers of on-disk publishing - are sure to find something of interest on the BBS.

Online since May, 1991, the Disktop BBS recently converted from version 2.55 of the Wildcat! software to the highly-acclaimed version 3.0 package. The new software offers an immense array of cutting-edge facilities. These include:

  1. full screen message editing
  2. the ability to attach files to messages for immediate

downloading after reading a message

  1. file descriptions of up to 15 lines
  2. batch uploads and downloads (up to 99 files)
  3. internal support for Xmodem, Zmodem, and Kermit transfers
  4. Doors and Net & Echomail support

There are many more. While the BBS is being adapted to the new software - and still is awaiting implementation of some features - the goal of the Disktop Publishing BBS remains clear, Namely,

   1. To promote, though improved public awareness, the benefits

of electronic publishing. These benefits include availability - often on a 24 hour a day, on demand basis - of electronic publications, faster production time, cheaper cost, easier revision and updating, reduced consumption of natural resources, and - using appropriate reader software - enhanced presentation and readability.

   2. To provide a forum for discussing the unique challenges of

successfully publishing and marketing disk-based publications. Examples might include matching an author or publisher with the appropriate medium for a proposed project.

The BBS is the home of the newly-formed "Disktop Publishing Association." Like the BBS, the DPA is dedicated to the advancement of "electronic publishing" in all forms. "Electronic publishing," in its broadest sense, means the authorship and production for general consumer access of any materials which are primarily read by computer and viewed on computer monitors. Electronic publishing - also synonymous with "paperless," "digital," and "on-disk" publishing - includes fiction and nonfiction works that are stored and distributed on disk or available by modem access on "bulletin board systems" ("BBSs"). Examples include newsletters, anthologies, books, and other materials which can be read by modem or from computer disk.

Currently, the BBS has several conferences for the discussion of the issues of electronic publishing. Hypertext, multimedia and other are already in place. The usual collections of game, word processing, and utility files are supplemented with several files areas full of excellent electronic publications.

In addition, the BBS has a dozen or so "bulletins" which can be read online. These are the latest editions of several popular "electronic newsletters" including "Z*NET," "PC Review Online," "PC Review International," and "Birmingham Telecommunications News," among others. The bulletins are updated as soon as new issues of the newsletters are released.

So, you are invited to drop by and learn more about the "Third Wave" of publishing - paperless publishing. With the ability to publish more cheaply and quickly that on paper, on-disk publishing will be even more liberating to the free flow of information that one Gutenberg's press. No longer will authors be shackled to the whims and bean-counters of the New York publishing houses. Finally, anyone with something to say can find readers for his labors. Join the excitement. Grab onto the Disktop BBS and ride the surf into a new age of writing and reading. 

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