Quarterly Bulletins Now Accessible on the World-Wide-Web
Mountain View, California
There are a few seasoned veterans of the American Rhododendron Society who were around when the Quarterly Bulletin of the American Rhododendron Society debuted more than 60 years ago, and which evolved into the Journal American Rhododendron Society in 1982. "Only a small percentage of ARS members have seen Quarterly Bulletin issues," says Bob Weissman, chair of the ARS Digital Publications Committee, who was a toddler when Quarterly Bulletins began arriving by "snail mail" back in the day. However, thanks to the Digital Publications Committee's efforts, Quarterly Bulletins have now been converted into electronic format and all members will have web access to every issue.
Success with the project began with ARS past president Herb Spady who spent eight years converting his paper copies of Bulletins - 137 of them in 35 volumes - into HTML (digital) format. "That pencils out to about 2,740 hours...the project would have been completed sooner except for considerable disruption of my life by the death of Betty Spady and my remarriage and moving to Silverton..." Spady points out. Herb provided the committee with a CD containing all of the issues.
A Partner in Technology
While digitizing the Quarterly Bulletin progressed a search was begun to find a home for the Bulletins on the world-wide-web. Weissman says, "We were very fortunate to discover the Digital Library and Archives (DLA) at Virginia Tech University." The DLA is a pioneer in publishing and archiving materials in electronic format. They have impressive technology and the support staff is enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Virginia Tech should not be confused with the University of Virginia, whose Library Archives for many years have been accepting personal papers, books, video's, photos, etc., about rhododendrons. The committee contacted Professor Gail McMillian, DLA Director, who agreed to provide electronic archiving services at no cost to the ARS, and who thanked us "for the opportunity to provide this attractive, informative, and very appropriate title at Virginia Tech's DLA."
Archiving at the DLA is an ongoing effort that started about eight months ago, and there are quite a few miles yet to go before the project is a wrap. To date 12 volumes (48 issues) of the Quarterly Bulletin can be viewed at the DLA. I spend from three to four hours to prepare each issue for publication. After uploading to the DLA the files are further worked on by the DLA staff. "It's been a great pleasure working with Kimberli Weeks, past editor of DLA's electronic journals, and also with acting editor Carolyn Kletnieks."
How to Read Quarterly Bulletins in Cyberspace
It's quick and easy! Open an Internet browser on your computer and type in http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JARS/. Scroll down the page to find links to all of the on-line issues listed in chronological order. Click on the html link to bring up the table of contents (TOC) for a specific issue. Then click a link on the TOC page to view an archived article. Access to the DLA is free to the public. Give it a try!
Why not add the URL for the Quarterly Bulletin to you favorites' list? Starting with the summer Journal issue the URL address for the DLA will be published in every issue on the inside front cover of the Journal. A link to the DLA is also provided on the home page of the Society's web site.
Google search is a convenient way to find articles previously published in the Quarterly Bulletin. Google search boxes are provided at the DLA or search for articles at Google's home page.
The on-line archive includes a diverse range of articles of interest to both members and non-members. Travel around Sikkim with Britt Smith, explore Japan with Frank Doleshy, and botanize on Mt. Kinabalu in New Guinea along with E. F. Allen. Read about rhododendrons in Australia by A. W. Headlam, visit Cheju Island in Korea with Warren Berg and learn about the history of New Zealand's Pukeiti from Graham Smith. Read how the Rhododendron Species Foundation was formed and its many homes, and how the ARS Research Foundation and Seed Exchange came to be created. Hybridizers will love the many articles by well-known authors such as Gable, Leach, Greer, Shammarello and Lancaster. Caution! Reading the many fine articles published in the Bulletin can be habit forming!
To get started using the online archive of Quarterly Bulletins here's a fun quiz. Try to the find answers to the following questions:
1. What is the birthplace for plant hunter, E. H. "Chinese" Wilson?
2. Who were the 1975 ARS Gold Medal honorees?
3. What occupation did Halfdan Lem work in after immigrating to the US in 1911?
Answers: 1. Gloucestershire in England, 2. Gustav Mehlquist and William Whitney, 3. Fishing in Alaska.
Bob Weissman is a member of the De Anza ARS Chapter in Mountain View, California. He is the ARS Web Master and chair of the Electronic Media and Digital Publications Committees.