small logo Editorial

Publish or Perish
by Dr. H. Paul Shuch, Executive Director

"I subscribe to a ham radio magazine," a SETI League member recently wrote to me, "and they send me about 200 pages every month. Why is it my SETI League subscription, which costs twice as much, only brings me a 6-page newsletter, four times a year?"

I'm gratified that our members hunger for the latest technical information, and will endeavor to bring more of it to you. Let me emphasize, however, that The SETI League is a scientific organization, not a publishing house. Your dues constitute a membership, not a subscription. Our first priority remains not to write about SETI, but to help you conduct The Search. And at this point, our staff of one-and-a-bit could no more publish a monthly magazine than we could run a global network of radio telescopes without your help.

Many of us belong to space advocacy organizations which publish fat, full-color journals on a monthly basis. These groups typically spend about 90% of their budgets on promotion and publishing, but only 10% on science. Our ratio is just about the opposite. For example, although I enjoy the time I spend on the lecture circuit, our President has recently reminded me that "your principal job is to discover ETI."

On the other hand, your need for technical information must be met. Our voluminous Web site (now approaching 1,000 documents, and around 30 MBytes of data) is one means of fulfilling that need. However not all of our members enjoy Internet access, and the Web oft weaves itself to a standstill. For this reason, we furnish our Technical Manual in hardcopy, and many of you have availed yourselves of this information resource.

It was recently pointed out to me that several online services send out free Web browsers, which can be run offline whether or not you subscribe to their Web access. Perhaps it would be useful to our members for The SETI League to publish our entire Web site on CD ROM. The cost of CD ROM recorders and their required media is now low enough to make this process not only feasible, but more affordable than delivering like amounts of data in print form. And since our Web site changes so rapidly, we could even consider a subscription service which would bring you periodic Web updates on disk.

If this membership service would be of value to you, please drop me a note, fax, or email. If sufficient interest is expressed, I'll aks our Board of Trustees to allocate funds for a CD ROM recorder, and give it a try. Meanwhile, I beg your patience as we explore better ways to keep SETI League membership information flowing, and thank you for your generous support.

Click to email the Webmaster
| Home | General | Memb Svcs | Publications | Press | Technical | Internet | Index |
entire website copyright © The SETI League, Inc.
this page last updated 4 January 2003
Click for top of page
Top of Page