LINGUIST List 4.546

Wed 14 Jul 1993

FYI: New Book Discussion Forum

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  1. The LINGUIST List, FYI: New Book Discussion Forum

Message 1: FYI: New Book Discussion Forum

Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1993 10:17:35 FYI: New Book Discussion Forum
From: The LINGUIST List <>
Subject: FYI: New Book Discussion Forum

Today, for the first time, we are posting notices of new
books and software which are available for discussion.
We thought it might be interesting and useful to discuss,
over the network, new scholarly works as they appear; and several
publishers have agreed to support this enterprise by sending
copies of books to our new Book Discussion Editor, Barbara Johnstone.
If you are willing to lead a LINGUIST discussion on one of the
available works, you should contact Prof. Johnstone, who will
arrange for you to receive the review copy. (More detailed
instructions appear at the end of this message.)

We are calling this new feature a "Discussion Forum," rather than
a "Book Review Series," because we suspect that this new electronic
medium will, and should, give rise to new discourse forms. It
seems likely that a LINGUIST book forum will elicit commentary
that is more informal than a review in a hardcopy journal,
and also more interactive. The discussion leader might,
for example, simply summarize one or two interesting points
in the work and then respond to subscriber questions and comments.
The author or developer of the material discussed is earnestly
invited to participate in the discussion if s/he is on
the net. And the result may be something in between describing
a book to a colleague at a conference and preparing a published

So why don't we give this idea a try? After all, most of us
enjoy discussing new books with friends; so it may be interesting
to try it on the net. As you see below, Oxford
University Press has sent us a software package for discussion.
And we hope that this will be the first of many such opportunities.

Anthony & Helen


Below is a more detailed summary of the procedure that will
be followed in initiating book discussions:

1. Publishers who wish their book discussed in the Discussion
 Forum will send a copy of the book to:

 Prof. Barbara Johnstone
 Dept. of English
 Texas A&M University
 College Station, TX 77843

 They will then send LINGUIST a new book notice in the usual form,
 mentioning that they have sent us the work. We will publish this
 under the heading "Available for discussion" in one of our "New
 Books" issues.

2. If you wish to lead the discussion on such a work, you will have
 to contact Prof. Johnstone at:
 A copy of the work will be sent to you. And you, in return,
 must agree to post to Prof. Johnstone your opening
 statement and/or summary judgment about the work BEFORE
 it is posted to the net. We ask this because, even though
 these discussions are intended to be informal, we'd like them
 to be as balanced and thoughtful as possible.

3. When you have posted your summary, the work will be considered open
 to discussion. Any subscriber--including the authors of the work
 in question--may now comment on the work and on the summary.
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