College Composition and Communication Online


Editorials from 49.2 May, 1998

From the Web Editor

Current Issue(s)

In his February 1997 editorial "Virtual Citings," Joseph Harris wrote, "as crucial as it is that CCC continue to serve as a site for critical dialogue on electronic discourse, it also seems clear that the journal must itself venture into cyberspace, establish a presence online" (8). Harris asked me to serve as Web Editor because he no doubt thought I knew my way around cyberspace. Truth is, I myself would also like to consult with someone who knows his or her way around cyberspace, but I doubt she has been born yet. Johndan Johnson-Eilola once noted the psychological ambivalence, the "vertigo" and "euphoria," associated with writing and publishing in the new media, especially hypertext. Vertigo, euphoria, chaos, order: these words describe the experience of creating CCC Online, and similar words will, no doubt, characterize the experience of reading (and interacting with?) it. On the one hand, creating something new and realizing that certain aspects of the project (like uploading copies of CCCC Position Statements) would help large numbers of readers was a thrill. On the other, negotiating the vertigo of cyberspace was a struggle. For example, due to such disorientation, CCC Online went through three different designs before Harris and I settled on the format which first appeared in March 1998.

The image above shows what CCC Online Version 2.2 looked like. It was fully developed and ready to publish in November 1997 until Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 emerged and changed the terrain of Web design.

This photograph (from January 1998) documents the end of the four-hour white-board session required to map the overhaul of the previous design, leading to the interface design below.

Our initial plan for CCC Online was merely to produce a Web version of the journal more or less exactly as it appeared in print. We consciously took a conservative introductory approach to the project, thinking that over time and as we learn to negotiate the order and chaos, CCC Online would evolve into something more experimental and more native to the Internet. Before taking on this project, I had already learned at least one important lesson about publishing in the new media: better to think small at first and then allow your plans to expand into the vast possibilities online communication offers rather than vice versa. While attempting to build the first electronic page for CCC Online, though, I found it impossible to replicate the print format. The opening page should promote the current issue, right? But how best to define the current issue of an online edition of a print journal: as the one already mailed to subscribers or as the version on which the contributors and editors have been working for months but which currently languishes in production? Which "issue" might readers find more important online: the last one or the next one? Or, can we promote both versions equally and effectively? If so, journal editors will need to re-imagine the parameters, definitions, and functions of one of the most rudimentary concepts of journal publishing, namely, the so-called newsstand or current issue.

Consequently, establishing a "presence online," as Harris's editorial calls for, has meant more than simply intercepting and uploading the journal's electronic files as they travel from the typesetter to the printer. There's more at stake here than just (re)presenting CCC on the Web. I agreed to serve as the Web Editor for this journal because I firmly believe that the Internet is superior to paper as a medium for archiving, distributing, and sharing most of the research, scholarship, and information in our field. I am convinced that increasing access to this body of work will benefit our profession and, concomitantly, our students. However, the prospect of publishing scholarship online raises a host of intellectual and political issues. Among them is the fact that online scholarship currently lacks credibility, particularly in the humanities and especially on many hiring and promotion committees. One of my primary goals for CCC Online, therefore, has been to increase the legitimacy of electronic publication and to help make a productive transition to a new era of scholarly publication.

Although the driving force behind CCC Online may have initially been the threat of being left behind by the Internet bandwagon (for example, another organization had already grabbed our ideal URL, "," before we could), the principles that now determine its shape and purpose are more proactive. Despite the chaos and vertigo, Harris and I agreed that two primary goals should guide this site:

  1. In order to promote the value and integrity of CCC and to increase the legitimacy of online scholarship, CCC Online should emphasize substance over style, should provide access to the widest possible range of users, and should offer researchers particularly useful scholarly information.

  2. Like CCC, CCC Online should focus intimately on the needs and interests of CCC's subscribers and CCCC's members.

These two principles have determined CCC Online's content and format. Compared to mainstream electronic journals such as Hotwired and more prototypic journals in our field such as Kairos and PRE/TEXT: Electra(Lite), CCC Online seems visually austere. Our design maximizes accessibility and navigability for the widest possible range of users so that even the most primitive Web interfaces such as LYNX can access CCC Online. However, the content is robust. For example, CCC Online includes two searchable bibliographic databases that require no additional plug-in applications or software. The first database indexes all of the articles and reviews published in CCC since 1991 (an index of all volumes is nearly complete). The second database provides a composite bibliography of every Works Cited in CCC since 1991. Compiling these two databases consumed over half of the labor hours necessary to launch CCC Online--a relevant fact because it reflects the value we placed on making the site especially useful for researchers.

CCC Online also increases the scholarly value of CCC by improving the possibilities for dialogue between authors, readers, and the texts published in CCC. Authors of letters to the editor (of CCC or any publication for that matter) often seem to find themselves at a disadvantage because they almost never get the last word. Not so with CCC Online; it allows authors, respondents, critics, and fans to continue productive Interchanges at length through published e-mail to the Web Editor. CCC Online also extends the boundaries of scholarship through its Parallels feature that provides an electronic archive for CCC authors who wish to complement their articles in print with images, hypertexts, lengthy appendices, etc.

In terms of serving our readers, CCC Online also includes the same important information for members of CCCC regularly published in CCC such as CCCC news and announcements, guidelines for submission to CCC, subscription information, and editorials. Unlike the print version, CCC Online can archive such information in a central place, including essential resources such as CCCC Position Statements and hypertextual links to other field-related Web sites. The drive to serve the needs of CCC subscribers and CCCC constituents, ironically, explains why the initial format for CCC Online does not include full-text copies of the articles in print--a prominent difference between the two versions. I predict that full-text copies of the complete contents of CCC will be available online sooner than later (almost certainly within five years), but doing so will take careful study and approval by the CCCC Executive Committee and the Editorial Board of CCC. We need to assess the potential impact that free online access might have on subscriptions and annual dues. It is likely, however, that free online access to CCC will actually increase the volume of print subscribers, as publishers of other e-journals have found. Paid subscribers may soon receive through password security full-text access to the entire contents of CCC, while access for everyone else remains limited (much like the current version(s) of The Chronicle of Higher Education).

We hope CCC Online works well for you. If not, or if you have any suggestions for improving the site, please send responses via e-mail to the Web Editor at CCC Online will go through many changes and improvements (as the print journal has); CCC's readers will no doubt play a primary role in helping negotiate the vertigo and euphoria of the new media and in working to resolve many of the current issues accompanying online publishing.


Todd Taylor
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
March 1998

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From the Editor

CCC Evolves

There are two noteworthy changes to announce this month-one substantive and the other procedural. First, CCC now has a Web site which can be accessed at, and we hope that this site will complement the printed version of CCC in productive and dynamic ways. Second, beginning with its next issue, the printed version of CCC will be numbered on the basis of the academic year rather than the calendar year and will appear on a slightly altered schedule.

CCC Online

Designed and edited by Professor Todd Taylor of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, CCC Online aims to expand access to and dialogue about work in the journal and the field. The site can be accessed through almost any web browser (Netscape, Explorer, text-only Lynx), and has a simple, elegant format that is easy and quick to navigate.

One function of CCC Online is archival. Included on the site are full texts of CCC editorials since 1994, CCC Guidelines for Authors, CCCC Position Statements, CCCC News, and recent Calls and Announcements. We will also post abstracts of articles in recent and forthcoming issues and are in the process of creating two searchable databases: one provides an index to all articles ever published in CCC and the other is a composite bibliography of works cited in CCC since 1992. But another aim of CCC Online is to expand the range of response to work printed in the journal. The Parallels Section allows CCC contributors the opportunity to post materials that supplement the work they have published here in the print version of the journal, and the Letters Section offers readers a chance to respond to essays in CCC more quickly and fully than ever before. These two sections should allow us a forum in which we can think and talk through what it might mean to work as scholars and teachers of writing in an age of hypertext. I invite you to participate in the discussions that take place there, whether you are an adept or novice online.

Online journals in composition like RhetNet, Kairos, and Pre/Text Electra(lite) have already begun to explore (and, indeed, invent) many of the new forms of discourse and publication now emerging on the Web. The goals of CCC Online are, for the moment, more modest: to provide greater access to the work represented in the pages of the journal and to expand to the range of responses readers can make to that work. There is no question in my mind that CCC Online and other forms of electronic publishing will continue to play increasingly significant roles in the work that we do as a field. I look forward to seeing what happens.

Changes in Publication Schedule

Readers will notice that this May issue of CCC contains an index for volume 49. This is because CCC is changing how its volumes are numbered in order to come into line with other NCTE journals. Starting in fall 1998, the academic year rather than the calendar year will become the basis for volumes. That is, issue one of volume 50 (1998-99) will appear in September rather than January. This means that the current volume 49 will have only two issues (February and May). The publication schedule of CCC will also change slightly, with its usual four issues appearing in September, December, February, and June.


A line was inadvertently dropped during the typesetting of Gregory Clark's article in the February 1998 issue, "Writing as Travel, or, Rhetoric on the Road." The first few sentences that begin page 14 should read:

There are usable insights here into some of the ethical problems inherent in the territorial community as a metaphor for the kind of collectivity that is constituted and maintained through discursive exchange. It is only when Van de Water travels "humbly away" from the certainty and control of identity that is enabled by his familiarity with elements of a home territory that he can recognize in himself a commonality and, more importantly, an interdependency with others whose lives and home places are very different from his own. That recognition is unavailable to him until he has crossed the boundaries that circumscribe his Manhattan and ventured well into what Dean MacCannell calls the "Empty Meeting Ground" (2) of transient space. There, on the transcontinental road, Van de Water locates himself in a collectivity of people whose commonality lies not in the place they call home but in the project they find themselves sharing-of traveling independently across the same space.

I apologize for this error.

Joseph Harris
University of Pittsburgh
May 1998

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