[FoRK] [chemweb] Whatever happened to the Web? (fwd from h.rzepa@imperial.ac.uk)

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Mon Nov 1 10:34:00 PST 2004

----- Forwarded message from "Rzepa, Henry" <h.rzepa at imperial.ac.uk> -----

From: "Rzepa, Henry" <h.rzepa at imperial.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 1 Nov 2004 17:29:04 +0000
To: chemweb at imperial.ac.uk
Subject: [chemweb] Whatever happened to the  Web?

A rant (please excuse).  I do so because for the first  8 years or so of the (Chemical) Web,
most of my colleagues largely ignored it for teaching. In the last two, most now have
some sort of presence on our teaching site.   But I cannot remember the last occasion when
HTML has been offered. Its all  Acrobat now, bloody great big globs of it. Typically
between  1 - 5 Mbyte (although the record is  18 Mbytes thus far). The contents
are linear, ie depart not all all from the serial fashion of yesteryear, and contain no
"interactivity"  whatsoever (let alone semantic markup), or simple navigation
aids such as a ToC.  So I expect most students
rail about the cost of printing our lecture notes nowadays! We have of course largely stopped
photocopying them for students now that they are "available on the web". 

None of it streams either (whatever happened to 
streaming Acrobat?), so the students can forget viewing it unless they use broadband
on their computer.

In 2nd place is raw Powerpoint. HTML, like eg Apple computers, 
has possibly  2% of the market!

Lets hope Adobe don't go out of business! 

By the way,  talking about libraries,  I have heard that Acrobat  downloaded
from Journals may be subject to surprising restrictions.  Thus some journals may
require all local copies to be deleted if at any time the institutional subscription is 
cancelled. Most journals only allow  "personal use", which means eg passing a 
reprint on to a student is disallowed.  As  for  "scraping" say an entire themed
issue of a journal, that has resulted in the
<<entire institute>> being barred from using the journal (at least for a period;
the explanation was that one naughty user called "Web Cache"  was responsible, 
according to the publisher). 

Henry Rzepa. 
+44 (020) 7594 5774 (Voice); +44 (0870) 132 3747 (eFax); rzepahs at mac.com (iChat)
 http://www.ch.ic.ac.uk/rzepa/ Dept. Chemistry, Imperial College London, SW7  2AZ, UK. 

(Voracious anti-spam filter in operation for received email.
If expected reply not received, please phone/fax). 

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