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From the Production Manager:

What You See ...

Notes from Jason Conrad Teague on the making of Kairos  1.1 ...

Being production manager is one of the most thankless jobs on a journal. Don't get me wrong, all the other editors and reviewers have hard jobs too, but they are dealing with the content of the journal. They work with what everybody cares most about: the text(s). So if the journal is a success, they get the credit; on the other hand, if a production manager does a good job, the reader should not really notice his/her work. The job is to make sure everything is easy to use, easy to read, and easy on the eyes. If I don't do a good job, and people complain that texts are hard to read or the interface (in the webbed world) is too difficult, then I hear about it.

This journal was difficult to produce in its own unique way. The original design, which you can still see traces of on our homepage, was designed before Netscape released the 2.0 Beta version of their browser. This Netscape 2.0 browser included a new and nifty feature called frames. I don't know which version you are currently reading, but if you are not using frames, I would highly recommend getting a frames-capable browser.

Thus about a month ago, after thoroughly discussing the matter with the rest of the editorial staff, I completely redesigned our format to make use of this new feature. This decision was not made without some controversy; several of the editors felt, and rightly so, that we might exclude anyone not using frames from reading the journal. But, since Netscape has over 70% of the browser business (and where Netscape goes others usually follow) the advantages of using frames seemed to outweigh the disadvantages.

With frames, Kairos  is more than just a journal; it can become a useful tool for those doing research on webbed based writing environments. The problem I have always had with doing web research was that I would find an article, see an interesting link off of it, follow that, go through a few more links, until eventually I lost track of what the original article I was reading was about. The main difference between this journal (with frames) and other journals, both printed and online, is that you can simultaneously view information cited in the article you are reading or information that you have found on the web yourself, while still keeping the original article on screen. (Click the "HELP?" button if you want to know more).

What's the point of reading on the web? Sure hyperlinks are cool and there's lots of stuff out there to read. But is there any actual advantage to reading text on screen? Why not just print it out? Paper is transportable, more randomly accessible, and much easier on the eyes. However, the talmudic tradition aside, paper cannot dynamically display information from a myriad of sources. With frames, the web can do just that.

I'm very excited about the potential frames has to fulfill the promises made about the web for being a useful research device, and I believe that I have put together an interface that researchers will be able (and will want) to use when studying writing.

So, while you're reading the hypertexts in this journal, if you notice that you don't notice how easy Kairos  is to use, please let me know.

Jason Conrad Teague

Editor's Note * Assistant Editor's Note *

Kairos 7.3
vol. 1 Iss. 1 Spring 1996