Date: Tue, 5 Mar 1996 20:22:30 -0700


Subject: Comment on Bruner Internet standards proposal

I thought the following note from my colleague Carl Berkhout, who is very much

interested in electronic editorial standards, would be useful to share with

ADS-Lers and Rick Bruner. I'm sure Carl would be happy to be drafted into

the enterprise.


Thanks for sending me that Rick Bruner proposal, which I had known

nothing about. Yes, I'm very interested in that. I hope indeed that

the ADS will be interested in that project (if, as it seems and

despite its louche appeal to high-tech companies and "journalistic

institutions," the project is genuinely concerned about good, sensible

usage--and not just English usage--on the Internet and elsewhere in the

world of computers). I am personally interested even if the ADS isn't.

I assume that you are also.

What Bruner proposes is something that very much needs to be done. All

this goes hand in hand with the many problems of correct, consistent,

and sensible citation of electronic/Internet documents and such in an

ever-changing, ever-evolving electronic world. The MLA, for example,

has been fumbling with attempted standards for the past two years but

has come up with nothing better than what you or I might reasonably

propose in any given month in 1994-1995-1996. All in all, I like

Bruner's initiative very much, but I don't know yet if his group is in a

sufficiently competent and informed position to recommend Internet

standards that all of us very much want and very much wish to take very


I note that Bruner uses the term "World Wide Web" but does not include

it among his several problematic examples. I use "Worldwide Web" as the

correct expansion of WWW--in part because that's what Tim Berners-Lee,

the Web's founder, recommends, but most of all because it's the

grammatically cleanest term. Can Bruner persuasively document his

preference for "World Wide Web"?

Bruner has not yet, it seems, announced a listserv (or Listserv or

whatever) discussion list. Such a list is of course necessary so that

participants can discuss and fight over such terms as "on-line" and


All in all, I suggest that Bruner and the ADS folk get very interested

in one another. Possibly Bruner is not quite the right person to

propose some needed standards, but he at least speaks up about things

that almost everyone else has been mum about. We should take him

seriously, and we should then get interested in his group's highest

linguistic standards.

This is not a private message. You may forward it to the ADS list, to

Bruner, or wherever.