Read Me First!

If we weren’t so busy with other things, we’d be able to introduce this page with a picture of the sort of fence you see around construction of new buildings, where there are openings for passers by to see how work is progressing: If you are reading this, you have arrived at our site while the construction work is still in its early stages. We think you might like to know a bit about what you would see if you were looking at our work progressing through one of those “sidewalk superintendent” windows.

The reason that you are getting the view you are is that we have had to reconcile a number of conflicts: Setting up a Web site is, plainly, difficult, we’ve picked a tough nut to crack, and we are motivated by a sense of considerable urgency. The result is that you get a chance to watch the structure being built, get to suffer with us through the delays that result from our monumental battles with reconciling the inconsistencies of competing software, and have the opportunity to make major contributions to our progress.

Thus:

You will find many of our directories painfully empty. That is not because we don’t have material for them, but because in many cases we are still building structures that we think are robust to last for many years. First the steel structure goes up, then the floors get added, and, many operations later, the furniture moves in. Since we haven’t yet moved in the furniture, you can contribute to the decisions on what we move in, and where it is put. Our metaphorical furniture supplier and interior decorator have been quite overwhelmed; they (and we, by the way) will be more than willing to accept any help you can offer by way of contributions of material and suggestions for proper placement.

For the reader who can’t be convinced to check back with us every few days to see what’s new, we are trying to meet the following (rather crude) schedule: We expect to have our own, dedicated server some time toward the end of November. The basic logical structure of our directories should be complete some time in December (we warned you the job was a big one). And we expect rapid changes in the directories to continue for another 12 to 18 months; after that, things should settle down to a more relaxed pace. Search engines and other innovative search tools (we’re not talking; you’ll just have to wait) will be implemented in mid 1997, as the sizes of directories grow large enough to justify them. Of course, this all assumes that our guardian angel is not once again distracted by a pinochle game (he’s a rotten player, by the way, but a fun kibbitzer).

For the reader who wants to help, we can use just about any kind of assistance you can offer (other than technical assistance, which we have covered quite nicely for the present): data for directory listings, notices and information that ought to be listed, pointers to other repositories of valuable information (e.g., on-line museums and galleries), advertisements, money, sales, sympathy, good wishes, . . . , even an occasional pastrami sandwich would be more than welcome. For the time being, anyone wishing to contribute should send e-mail to¬†[email protected]

O.K. We have to get back to work. Put on your metaphorical hard hat, follow the instructions of the foremen when they give you directions, pardon us for the moment if we keep the public away from certain areas, and enjoy your visit. We hope to see you again, soon.