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Fw: Purpose of this forum

  • Subject: Fw: Purpose of this forum
  • From: "Larry Day" <l@larryday.com>
  • Date: Tue, 4 Aug 1998 12:54:47 -0400

Good afternoon
Let me introduce myself, I am a new member of this list and Maphist as well. I am a collector who has collected for the last 15 years but I have increased my level of interest in the last year or so.
I am quite familiar with technology having managed a number of data base, publishing, and information companies, the last decade being spent in the financial services arena where we built web based systems for Wall Street firms. I am fascinated to see how email (a very old technology) and the web (a newer one) is interacting with traditional businesses including the antique map trade.
Lists such as this and the many new web sites on antique maps (there are probably an order of magitude more web sites introduced per year than all the books and papers published on the subject in a year) are opening up access to information on the subject on an exponential basis. We are going from scarcity to overload in this field from a collector's perspective. I think one of the biggest challenges is to organize access to the information and the information itself in better ways. This should be one goal of this list.
I understand that some librarians and academics may not want to become involved with the commercial aspects of this process(i.e. the collector/dealer sets of needs) and the maptrade list can serve these requirements. The dealers involved in both lists can act as information transfer agents and keep the casual collectors "out the hair" of the academics. The dealers earn their living by imparting information about the subject and the inventory items they sell to the buyers. They are a good point of intersection between the two lists as long as their different roles in each list are understood by all.
As a first suggestion, I think that all book sale and new catalog (web or print) announcements belong on this type of list, not on Maphist....this could be an evolutionary process. Similarly, collector or dealer "I am looking for map or atlas X" should also be on this list, not Maphist. This means that all dealers who operate over the web will belong to this list for sure!
One project that could help all of us is to put most of the messages into a data base so that they can be easily retrieved. This will create an online tutorial over time so that the newbees don't drive the vets nuts. Not every message belongs in a data base but many of them could be valuable if organized. Maybe this is done aready, I don't know. (I mean a true data base, not a giant message file or set of monthly or quarterly subsets).
As for the suggestion that this be a DEALERS ONLY list, why bother with a list? You clearly all know each other well and can use email for private discussions, negotiations, inventory sales, etc. Email is much more efficient for that type of activity than the  listserv approach which is a public broadcast medium.
I have a number of additional thoughts on how this list can be used to benefit its users. However, I'll send them over time rather than in one big email....this is too long already...email should be kept short.
Thanks for letting outsiders look into inner the workings of your profession. Together we can all learn more and the dealers who leverage these technologies can continue to expand their market.
Larry Day

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