Recent developments in electronic publishing

Recent developments in electronic publishing

Job Satisfaction, on Leisure Activities', 'Is the Erosion of Privacy an Unavoidable Consequence of Computer Application?', 'Computerization and the Le...

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Job Satisfaction, on Leisure Activities', 'Is the Erosion of Privacy an Unavoidable Consequence of Computer Application?', 'Computerization and the Level of Employment and the Social Accountability of Computing. The General Assembly in Toronto not only formally approved the two Working Groups, but also the Second Vienna H C C for 1979. The TC 5/TC 9 conference, on the other hand, had been surprisingly called off by the local organizing committee due to a number of obstacles, fear of getting not enough participation being one of them. In a fast action, it was cleared that this conference would be shifted from Varna to Budapest and fixed for 1979, with Professor Hatvany taking full lead. This decision resulted in two TC 9 events during 1979, but now TC 9 is strong enough to let everyone trust that all events will be a success. This was a long story, but one with final achievement, thanks to many active

people for whom social and human problems in informations processing are not a s u b j e c t f o r discussion but a challenge for hard work. Heinz Zemanek, born in Vienna, Austria, has been Professor at the Technical University of Vienna, Director of the IBM Laboratory Vienna, President of IFIP, Chairman of FIACC, and President of the Austrian Computer Society. His main fields of activity have included information theory, computer voice-output, the theory of programming languages. He has 275 publications, including 3 books, to his credit.

References [1] IFIP Summary, 1977, 1FIP Secretariat, 3, rue du march6, CH-1204 Geneva, Switzerland. [2] E. Mumford, H. Sackman (eds.), Human Choice and Computers, North Holland, Amsterdam 1975, 358 pp. [3] IFIP Minutes. [4] IFIP Bulletins.

private hosts are connected (Prestel standard) including two publishers. At the present pilot trials, 85 publishers are among the 1500 providers. All of them offer 280,000 pages in B i l d s c h i r m t e x t . Some booksellers are also beginning to deal with B i l d s c h i r m t e x t either as information provider a n d / o r as an ordering system (direct ordering).

2. Broadcast Videotex (Videotext, Teletext) The current pilot trial is due to be extended for one more year to May 1984; it began in 1980. Five big newspaper publishers are involved and offer additional text information in their newspapers. There are some problems with the broadcasting stations that transmit regional Videotext programmes nowadays too. At present there are more than 100,000 Videotext subscribers whereas about 200,000 corresponding TV sets have been sold.

3. Cable Television

Recent Developments in Electronic Publishing* Reports from the Federal Republic of Germany, the United Kingdom, and France International Publishers Association, Avenue de Miremont 3, Geneva, Switzerland

National Report: Federal Republic of Germany Recent Developments 1. Interactive Videotex (Bildschirm text) The administration problems have been mastered in passing a corresponding bill by the federal states and a charge structure by the PTT (Bundespost). Therefore the operation phase could start in September 1983 as planned by the Bundespost. Now IBM has announced *Reprinted with kind permission of the International Publishers Association from IPA Publishing News, No. 104, June 1983.


that there will be a certain delay in developing and installing some of the planned 31 regional switching computers and the main computer in Ulm. According to the IBM concept, B i l d s c h i r m t e x t is to be used on local charge to the German subscribers. The delay means that in the middle of 1984 the switching computers will get into operation step by step. Difficulties are due to the pioneer work in introducing the new European C E P T standard. The subscriber rate (modem) will be 8 Marks per month; the storage rate for the information providers depends on the number of computers used locally or countrywide. The gateway technique for connection of private computers is important. At the moment 35

In the most advanced pilot project in the Ludwigshafen area, 75°7o of this area will be on cable by the end of 1983. The legal and technical requirements are given so that this project can start on 1.1.1984. A studio and broadcasting centre have been set up and a Cable Broadcast Authority has been established. Private programme providers are admitted for the first time. There are applications from 48 providers at present to the network authority. Some newspapers, agencies, and sales promotion agencies are involved. In that region more than 30,000 subscribers are expected in the final stage. Twelve TV channels and the same number of additional audio programmes wil be offered. Apart from a single connection charge of 400 Marks, the subscribers have to pay a monthly rate of 13 Marks. Bertelsman has withdrawn from the project.

4. Video Video is regarded as a medium with a high growth rate. At present videorecorders are in 10O7o of the German households (2 million sets). In 1983 about 1.5 million recorders are due to be sold. Publishers like Klett and Langenscheidt offer their own produced videocassette;

also Otto Maier in the hobby field (including games). At the beginning of July 1983, the Bertelsmann Club Center will rent out from its 284 stores about 500 programmes. The established programme providers also are looking for a serious distribution network such as booksellers to sell good programmes. With support of the B6rsenverein the booksellers are discussing the related questions with the providers and have established a c o m m o n working group. Within the 500 better programmes, it is assumed that at least 150 programmes are especially suited for the bookseller. A pilot group of about 30 booksellers will test the cooperation conditions worked out in this group in order to make recommendations to other booksellers. This test will begin in September 1983 and last hall a year.

6. Database publishing The governmental I&D project with the former aim of establishing more than 20 databases has failed. Also the plan of combining the online databases of different fields such as libraries, booksellers and bibliographic databases has proved to be unrealistic. Now the government has announced its support of private activities, including those of publishers in creating economically working databases. There are some ideas of cooperation between publishers and the governmental databases, such as an electronic journal project by Springer. Some projects are proposed in connection with the EC call for proposals.

Manfred Seidel Frankfurt, 31 March 1983

5. Microcomputers Compared to the video market, the microcomputer market is growing still more. More than 300,000 sets were on the G e r m a n market by the beginning of this year and this number is expected to increase to about 3 million microcomputers in 1988. Furthermore, in some years the turnover for software will be almost as great as for hardware. Therefore some publishers are also beginning to become software publishers. For instance, Klett is cooperating with Apple and has already developed software for schools and teaching in the field of mathematics, physics and biology. Reference material and software catalogues will be produced and distributed in addition to the cassettes or diskettes. I~angenscheidt has developed an electronic two-language dictionary calculator with 4000 words each. Besides the educational publishers some publishers produce special user software for the readers of their magazines, for instance in the agricultural field. In connection with Bildschirmtext, the Austrian publisher Bohmann has demonstrated to some German publishers the possibility of storing software iin the central Bildschirmtevt computer and loading it for a time in the microcomputer to process it offline. This kind of telepublishing and software distribution can be called 'Telesoftware'. It is offered for instance to readers of civil engineering magazines or to other experts and allows them energy optimization cak:ulations.

Report from The United Kingdom 1. Publishers Databases Ltd. All the legal and technical matters which surrounded the formation of the co-operative electronic publishing consortium, Publishers Databases Ltd., have now been resolved. The company was launched and advertised by circular early in 1983 and brochures outlining the details of membership are available on request from the Secretary of the company, Peter Phelan, at the Publishers Association, 19 Bedford Square, London WC1.

lions and is released |or public discussion from April 1983. It should be read alongside a recent publication from the BNB Research Fund, entitled 'The Impact of New TechnoLogy on the Publication Chain'.

3. PA - Electronic Publishing Committee The Electronic Publishing Committee has embarked on two projects which will provide background information for PA members on Electronic Publishing. The first of these will be a checklist; 'The Technology of Publishing: Characteristics and Comparisons' sets the advantages and disadva1~tages of traditional publishing alongside those of electronic publishing. A survey of organisations active in the sphere of electronic publishing is also being compiled. This will be divided into lwo sections: UK Video Producers and Distributors and UK On-line Publishers.

4. Government initiatives The UK Government has decided to press ahead with Project Hermes designed to experiment with a document delivery system based on teletex. A firm called Scicon will be co-ordinating the experiment and Publishers Databases may participate in this, also in the EEC experiments for which calls for proposals have now been issued. The PA European Commission Report on Electronic Document Delivery is now available from Pira, Randalls Road, Leatherhead, Surrey at a price of £250.

5. Computer Software 2. The Impact of Electronic

Publishing A Working Party set up by the U K. Office of Arts and Libraries has produced an interim report. This examines in detail the relationship between the prospective participants in the new systems: authors, publishers, printers, booksellers, libraries, information intermediaries, database producers and endusers. It looks at economic problems, at challenges and opportunities and at current and possible future developments, especially in conventional on-line systems and in videotex. In general, it proposes positive and co-operative solu-

The UK educational publishers' Software Committee has now produced a report entitled 'Microcomputers in Schools: an Overview', which looks at the UK schools market mainly in terms of available computers. A satisfactory system has been established through which projects initiated by Government organisations like the Microelectronics Education P r o g r a m m e and the Scottish Microelectronics Development Project may be offered to commercial Publishers.

John Davies 187

Report: Electronic Publishing in France 1. New Regulatory and Judicial Framework of Interactive Services Electronic publishing is affected by the new law on audiovisual communications to the extent that this law fixes the rules which directly concern the operation of interactive services on the one hand, while, on the other hand, the law has to conform to the Telecommunications Code presently in effect. 1. 1. Despite the rigidity of the law, the Ministry (of Telecommunications) is planning on developing a liberal policy which it has presented as follows: According to this plan, the Government shall accord both transitory authorizations (this system leaving r o o m for the more favorable one of the prior declaration) and dispensatory regulations (since the Government makes all authorizations, measures which apply to other services can be avoided). Each user of a requested service will only receive those things asked for in response to their request, and this goes for written texts, as well as pictures or sounds (Article 77). These services require prior authorization up until January 1, 1986. It is possible to consider, according to the draft of this text, that interactive services using cable television networks, thereby proposing a choice of programrues (a request for programmes stored in a central videoth6que, for example), cannot be excluded from this system--with the exception of films, which must be authorized. The system attributed to diffused videotex (Antiope) seems to be different according to the interpretation that one gives to its effective utilisation: it could be a matter of an authorization according to Article 78 in the case of a limited service; a public service concession if presented to the public-at-large in a general way; and an authorization coming from the highest authorities if services are to be distributed locally by cable television. Still with regard to the law of July 29, 1982 on audiovisual communication, the Minister o f the P.T.T. has expressed his intention to apply the law in a liberal way. 188

He has in effect declared that a liberal application of law no. 82-652 of July 290, 1982 is presently being studied. It must first be emphasized that Article 77 of this law concerns only audiovisual communication programmes destined for the public, and not all interactive communications established with databases; total liberty, therefore, remains the standing rule for all communication stemming from private correspondence. It remains, however, that it is indeed difficult to define with precision this law's field of application: the Commission for the follow-up of telematic experiments destined for the public, whose participants include members of Parliament (both Deputies and Senators), will make known shortly its conclusions regarding this problem. Without prejudging these conclusions, it is possible even at the present time to determine the essential principles upon which the application of Article 77 of the law is founded: (1) Audiovisual communication destined for public use excludes internal communications of an organization, and more generally, all communications of a private nature. (2) The system of authorization provided for by Article 77 of the law of July 29, 1982 is a provisional system which will make r o o m in 1986 for a system of simple declaration. Problems o f interpretation which could arise will therefore have to be dealt with in a liberal manner, and this refers just as much to the liberty of private correspondence guaranteed by the P.T.T. Code, as well as to the liberty of audiovisual communication affirmed by Article I of this law. (3) The application decree of Article 88 will establish a system for the operating of databanks which shall be much less restrictive than the system prior to the law on audiovisual communication.

1.2. Although interactive services follow a differentjudicial system (Art. 77) than the one used by cable (Art. 8, 78), a difficulty persists between the text of the law itself and the Telecommunications Code, and this should be resolved by the application decrees. In fact, the Telecommunications Code stipulates in Article L33 that no telecommunication installation may function without the P . T . T . ' s authorization, and that this arrangement shall apply 'to the transmission and receiving of radio-

electric signals of any nature.' From discussions and responses of different Ministers, it seems possible to say that the law on audiovisual communication is distinct from the law referring to the Telecommunications Code. Consequently, authorizations will be distinct: if it's a question of 'access to the public via the Hertz line or by sound or picture cable, e t c . . . ' (Art. I), then either the law on audiovisual communication becomes applicable--as well as dependent technical a u t h o r i z a t i o n s - - o r else the application is governed by the Telecommunications Code. More than dispensation alone, it is necessary to recognize the juxtaposition of two systems which accord a dominant role to public administration which neither whatever rare occurrence (as in the case of frequencies) nor possible attempts in the public sector can justify: both the establishing of a 'collective' cable on private property on the one hand, and the installation of a sender risking to disturb public service distribution on the other hand, are in effect distinct in their effects. Article 8 has therefore just as much to do with a regal principle as with a m o n o p o l y by the P.T.T.: in fact, only those privative installations situated on private property shall be exempt from authorization, since no contact with other private property or anything belonging to the public domain, is necessary. 1.3. Finally, if such interactive services are to be carried out by the telecommunication satellite network, they must be submitted for prior authorization by the Government. The Government has decided to grant authorization to private firms only if they do not develop a group strategy of multimedia and multi-network communication. Only public groups can opt for such a strategy.

2. Developments of Videotex and the Behaviour of Users Four years of use and one year of operational functioning, with 2500 households (selected by a stratum selection procedure) participating for 18 months in the telematic experiment on a public scale, make it possible at present to analyse the T616tel 3-V experiment, as


Middle executives, office workers and retired workers, all of whom equally use T61etel in order to have access to sources whose access is commonplace and, therefore, direct. (10.6%). 55% of the users link up to Tetetel in order to use a particular service; 22% in order to discover general services; 18.5% for both reasons; and 4% express no opinion. 29% systematically look at new services which are offered.

2. 1. Utilisation of TOl6tel

2.2. Request Services

As far as domestic terminals are concerned (terminals which have been installed in Zone 3-V schools and in several posl offices), 3500 to 4999 weekly communications are registered on the average, each one resulting in 3 to 4 requests from suppliers of services. These communications last about 15 minutes and seem equally distributed throughout the week. Nevertheless, it should be noted that 30% of the subscribers (volunteers for the experiment, and therefore motivated) do not use their terminal, ;and that 1/3 of the requests is transmitted by only 6% of the subscribers (that is, 150 persons). Below is the monthly frequency of requests, all categories being joined together: 6% more than 30 communications; 5% between 21 and 30; 17% between 11 and 20; 21% between 6 and 10; 15% between 4 and 5; 22% between 2 and 3; 14% one alone. Two categories of subscribers have a higher traffic rate: they consist of households having children between 12 and 14 years of age, and those consisting of married couples under 30. The weakest traffic rate is found among retired couples. At present, only 3 principal types of users are distinguished: - Middle execut{ves, office workers, ,-mail merchants, craftsmen and retired workers, all of whom use Tdldtel for the purpose of information and communication (55.7%); Industrial and commercial managers, senior executives and the liberal professions, all ot whom use Tdletel in order to divide their ;activities in the most profitable way possible: 'time saved' (32%):

Of the 190 users of gathered information, 15% make up 75% of the traffic. The 6 main ones take up 50% of the requests. In terms of strategy, videotex permits users of this service to increase their part of the market, and at low

well as its future development and its effective utilisation among users. 190 users are already benefiting from this market. Proposed services, initially made up of advisory services (use of general software), are orienting themselves at the present time towards personalized services (information of a private nature, bank account consultationl and diqant services (orders by



3. H a r d w a r e a n d P r o g r a m m e s In France, the development of new media, which has 3een underway consistently since 1980, is followed up just as much by the development of hardware as by software.

3. 1. Storage of Hardware 3.1.1. Telephone: As of January 1, 1983, 19.5 million principal telephone lines had been installed in France, as well as approximately 8 million secondary lines-which represents a rate of 82-83% of French household equipment. The growth of stock for 1982 is, therefore, 1.73 million. A 95°7.oequipment rate is expected to be achieved by the end of 1986. 3.1.2. Television sets:


The distribution of requests is concentrated around: - Press services which occupy a dominant place with 20-25% of the requests; Services in the 'transport, tourism and travel' sector which take up 8-9% of the requests; Banking services: opening of personalized services, which make up 8-9% of the requests, Computer-assisted education (American Society D I D A O ) makes up 4-6% of the requests; Messagerial services (support of exchanges and messages between subscribers) occupies a separate place and takes up from 11 to 14% of the requests (up through July 31, 1982). -




Games and entertainment services, although less requested than in the beginning of the experiment, retain, all the same, an important place: among the most requested services, 50% had to do with games. In 1983, 50,000 terminals will be installed in lie de France, 3,000 of which will be destined for the Velizy region. From primary experimentation, we move on to an extension phase, and therefore the normalisation of the videotex system of telematics on a public scale. The CITV will become the Centre d'Essais T616tel (T~51dtel Testing Centre), whose orientation aims notably at the follow-up of enterprise research and the improvement of proposed services.

Jan. l,'80 Total stock Black & white Color


15.6m11. 20.5 mill. 9.3 mll. 10.2 mill. 6.2 m,ll. 10.3 mill.


12.5 mill.

The rate of French household equipment--as far as color televisions are concerned--surpassed 57% at the end of 1982, as opposed to 51% at the end of 1981. Penetration rate of households was approximately 91%.

3.1.3. Magnetoscopes.'(A very small proportion can be found in private use). Dec. '80 Dec. '81 Jan. '83

200,000 330,000 1,000,000

These figures shows a growth of + 203% (83/81), and an equipment rate for television sets which jumps from 1% in 1980 and 1.6% in 1981 on up to 5% by January 1, 1983, despite the protectionist policies of the French Government (Poitiers).

3.1.4. Videocassettes: Recorded: 150,000 in Dec. '80 and 300,000 in Dec. '81 with 3,000 titles. As of )ran. 1, '83:0.2 million sold to consumers. Blank: 600,000 in Dec. '80 and 5,000,000 in Dec. '81, recorded tapes represent only 6% of blank ones. As of Jan. 1, ' 8 3 : 9 million blank tapes. It should be mentioned that the level of piracy has risen to 40-50070, while duplicating laboratories are only working at 40070 of their effective capacity. On the other hand, 1he renting of video189

cassettes continues to be prominent: it has reached up to 90% of the market in certain countries, and is concentrated in France around 2,500 outlets, of which approximately 1,000 are videoclubs and 150 are bookstores. On the European and American markets, it is presently estimated that for one magnetoscope, 14 blank videocassettes and 3 recorded videocassettes are purchased each year. In France, 13 blank videocassettes are purchased per magnetoscope. 3.1.5. Videodisc readers: 200 units. 3.1.6. Microcomputers: Number of units: 1979 1980 1981 1982

14,300 30,800 59,300 118,000

Growth 1980/1979 1981/1980 1982/1981

+ 115% + 92.5% + 95.6%

Expectations 1983


The present segmentation of the market is as follows: (a) 50% for firms and liberal professions; (b) 30% for scientific use; (c) 10% for instructional (educational) purposes; (d) 10% for (micro)-amateurs. In terms of tendency, segments 'c' and 'a' are the most dynamic. Approximately 22% of the stock is equipped with an acoustical modem which makes it possible to request information from databanks. 3.1.7. Transpac Liaisons: At the end of 1982, operational stock consisted of 9,400 access (terminals). Of this number, 8,470 direct terminal links and 930 access (telephone and telex networks). In 1983, operational stock is expected to reach 15,000 access. The countries presently linked to Transpac are: the U.S.A., the European Economic Community, Canada, Finland, Sweden, Spain, Portugal and Japan. (Translation from the French original by Richard Betts)


3.1.8. Servers, Databanks and Programmes: The development of data transmission networks, as well as the evergrowing increase in the number of operational direct access terminals--aside from the (telephone/directory) term i n a l - f a v o r s the on-line databank market. Along the same lines, however, a disturbing discrepancy between 'supply and demand' can be seen in France: in fact, it is estimated that only 22% of French databases are actively used, even in a system which is extremely competitive. In fact, the solvency of users is at stake: there are only 3,000 at the present time, as opposed to approximately 8,000 in 1985, thus an estimated gain to the tune of 24%. France represents 1% of the world market for on-line information, despite a level of production of 10% on the world market; thus approximately 150 operational databanks, representing a market of 65 million francs, thus 80,000 hours of databank use per year. 58% of French databanks and databases are produced by Government organizations, as opposed to 28% in the commercial societies sector, and 14% by non-profit organizations. The largest number of French databanks is related to the scientific and technical domain (39%); then, in descending order, economic and financial (28%), human sciences (28%), multidisciplines (5), all data which may be consulted being essentially of a bibliographical nature (58%). Our servers (of which there are 36 in Europe) provide essentially for the distribution of databases and databanks in France, the main ones being: Questel (T61~systbmes), the G-Cam (Caisse des D6p6ts et Consignations) and the CISI (Commissariat ~ l'Energie Atomique). Concerning tariffs, general practice seems to be billing on an hourly connecttime basis (90% of French databases, as opposed to 72% for the total number of worldwide databases). With the exception of publishers in the legal field, few private publishers have embarked upon delivering information on-line, and for those who have, this activity remains very marginal. On the other hand, several publishers have begun producing instructional (educational) and entertainment-oriented (games) software. The majority have done this in association with an infor-

mation developer or with a firm which has already been set up to handle these new types of products and markets: Hachette with Matra, Nathan with Thomson, Hatier with Atari, Bordas with Didao. Programmes which are generally presented on diskettes, cassettes or cartridges, and sometimes associated with books, deal with topics such as orthography, French as a foreign language, foreign languages, mathematics, introduction to programming, apprenticeship to an information language, design, music and all sorts of games of strategy. Although the majority of software producers wish to distribute their products in bookstores, the number of bookstores selling software products at the present time is quite limited. Finally, it should be noted that such software products are not to be found in the field of national education which, in this domain, has seen fit to produce its own courseware.

4. Conclusions The development of new techniques has led publishers to reinforce the Audiovisual Group and New Media of the S.N.E. in order to attempt to limit State intervention in this domain. In effect, the new law on communication, the decrees and measures which accompany it, and the official positions taken by government officials show a hasty tendency towards regulation, which could burden the development of this new publishing activity. The statute constricting the communication firms (enterprises), the indispensable protection of software-nonpatentable, the TVA rate on software and databanks, the refusal to allow private publishers to participate in the experiment of 10,000 microcomputers installed in schools, and the nature of the collective agreement applying to software producers are the principal problems that the S.N.E. wants to resolve for electronic publishing by justifying its solutions in the eyes of a large majority of public opinion which, up till now, has in fact shown itself little inclined toward dialogue. Gilles de Luze Paris, 15 May 1983