Monday, July 09, 2007

Summer Schedule

July 9, 2007, 8:30 a.m.

Summer Schedule and Beyond

Web "Publishing" I've been posting things to the predecessors of "The Web" for over 25 years. In the early years it was mostly just online versions of hard copy publications -- as published, or as selected for uploading from the prior half-century of writing.

The idea of treating original online material as publishing, and doing it on a regular basis, only began a little over 10 years ago. The driving force has not been a desire to online publish something with some regularity. The driving force has been a sense of outrage, or at least a passion regarding, a number of subjects.

The Iowa Child-ish Rain Forest Project For the past 3-1/2 years I've maintained one of the most thorough Web sites regarding the proposed indoor Iowa rain forest. Most of the relevant news stories, and lots of commentary and editorial cartoons, are linked (in full text) from there. This is the project originally called "Iowa Child" and, after many name and personnel changes, is now called "Earthpark." If you're interested, you can read the full story here.

By last fall it became ever-more obvious that this project was going nowhere. At a minimum, it was no longer generating any regular news to report or comment about. Meanwhile, I had started this blog a year ago, as much as anything just to see what blogging was like.

UI Presidential Search As it happened, about the time the rain forest was disappearing from view the UI presidential search loomed large. Following the Regents' discharge of Search Committee I, and rejection of every one of its proposed candidates, there were a sufficient number of daily developments to warrant blog coverage.

Actually, had I known Search II would drag on so long, I never would have used the blog format for my coverage of events. Others have commented about how difficult it is to find items they are looking for in all the blog entries -- running in their entirety into the hundreds of pages of text. It's not just a problem for readers; it's a problem for me as well. By the time it was over it was "UI Held Hostage Day 516" -- it had been 516 days from the time the Regents knew they would need a replacement for David Skorton until the day they announced their selection of Sally Mason.

My only excuse for not using the much more user-friendly (though far from perfect) Web page format (as with the Earthpark site) is that I truly believed in November 2006 that sufficient common sense and reason would prevail that we'd actually have a new president announced sometime in December. Silly me.

Gambling Industry and Other UI Corporate Partnerships Other UI matters have warranted blog coverage -- such as the athletic program's insistence on partnerships with the gambling industry, notwithstanding the NCAA's standards to the contrary and its specific suggestions to the University of Iowa; or the recent flap over the unbelievable proposal that a UI College be named for a corporation (and one that does business with the University at that).

Future Issues; No News Days; and Other Obligations At the present time no such new issues seem to be crying out for my commentary. As they do, I'll blog about them -- or the prior issues addressed here when they come back into the news.

But as I mentioned above, the purpose has never been to write for the sake of writing. It's been to report and comment about issues that arouse my outrage or other passions. Given that there don't seem to be any around at the moment, and given the convergence of these very slow news days with obligations to do some writing, and prepare for this next year's classes, there are going to be far fewer regular blog entries over the weeks to come than there have been during the past six months or year.

Meanwhile, the past year's blog entries remain available to your searching. There are hundreds and hundreds of pages of material here on dozens of topics -- most of which, I'd like to believe, remain nearly as relevant today as when they were written. No one will make it through all of that "summer reading" -- but, even if that were to happen, there are hundreds more items available with links from the main Web site itself.

When there's more to say I'll be saying it here. Until then, thank you loyal readers and occasional visitors alike -- and especially all of you anonymous commentators -- for continuing to make this blog the rewarding experience it is for me, and the useful resource I'm told it is for others.

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