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The future of caving publications

 
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jonjasper



Joined: 09 Dec 2005
Posts: 54
Location: St. George, UT

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 3:15 am    Post subject: The future of caving publications Reply with quote

This new forum really hits a point. What now becomes the different purposes between the written publication Utah Caver, the electronic UTCaver, the growing grotto websites, and this forum.

Surely each has a purpose. Or maybe some should phased out.

Now everyone claims the Utah Caver is for trip reports, the UTcaver is for planning trips and discussion, blah, blah.

--------------------------

Here is my suggestion of how to use the different media.

This discussion forum is for debates, discussions, or arguing our points.

The UTcaver should be for general announcements that folks need to know. EI grotto meetings, cave closures, caver deaths, etc.

The website should orientate new cavers on new caving guides and meeting times. The website are also the only media to be able to show videos, high defination maps, and 3D views. The webs should impress the new and old folks of our wide-range up-to-date progress.

And now the noticably dying Utah Caver. Who wants to read all text trip reports that are months and months old. By the time news hits the press everyone should be very familiar with the news or no one cared to begin with. With the new media technologies emerging, the Utah Caver (like the dinsaurs) needs to evolve or face extinction!

The Utah Caver should leap foreward with the times. It should be the produced as our only "real" publication. It should be impressive showing the results of our efforts. It is a publication that we should be able to show off to our partnering agency to gain respect and admiration. We should not have trip reports but project reports. The publication should not be just text that could easily be posted on any of teh other medias but full color, with maps, and dazzling layout design. It should be a publication worth the money invested in it.

Looking about this publication is for most grotto the only reason they collect fees. I would rather enjoy the other near free media and have grotto members not have to pay fees but donate your time and energy to be elected into the grottos.


Bottom line: The media technologies are successfully emerging, do you think they replace the old print?


JON
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CaverStretch



Joined: 07 Dec 2005
Posts: 44
Location: Orem, Utah

PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 7:43 pm    Post subject: I agree. Reply with quote

This of course was one of the discussion points at the last Utah BOG meeting (or Utah Grottos meeting). I couldn't tell you the time I read a paper version of the Utah Caver. However, I do have multiple copies of the electronic format of the Utah Caver (Thanks to Andy H) on my computer, and I like many different reasons for this-

1. In total agreement with Duane, I don't like the fact we waste so much paper. When you can read it on the computer, why would I need to read it on paper?

2. The electronic format would be in color. And the possibilities would be limitless. The size would, for the most part, be unrestricted.

3. Having an electronic format would make distribution easier and faster.

Now, with this said. This is just my thoughts, but I think if we get away from the current Utah Caver format, which is the printed trip report oriented style of publication...Then we should get away from the Utah Caver and start new with an New Name, New Format, and New Look.

You don't want to change the Utah Caver, but start a new publication for the caving communitee of Utah. And phase out the Utah Caver.

My thoughts on this subject. And I already like the discussion group.

Robert
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Deafnss



Joined: 13 Dec 2005
Posts: 61
Location: Provo/Orem Utah

PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think with this day and age of technological advances (however slow they may be) we should move towards whatever media updates that are available to us. Mainly because of the next generation of cavers behind us. I've already been training several youth groups and several kids individually and anticipate/hope them getting into the caving mainstream (of Utah) when they come of age. Maybe they won't but who knows? But the fact is that we are aging and there's a new crop of cavers up and coming on the horizon.

The Utah Caver newsletter has been for a long time now been struggling to get enough trip-reports or even the rarer project reports to make a decent issue that's more than several pages long. Dispite pleas and begging by stalwart advocates of the newsletter for grotto members to write even simple trip reports of a couple paragraphs this is hitting a blank wall time and again.

I'd be for a single issue (or a bi-annual issue) that is a compliation of everything that is submitted to the electronic formats (and old style printed reports), or something akin to an Annual. There are going to be a few die-hards out there that will be resistant or very slow to join the on-line revolution (that's been well underway for the past few years). So they're still expecting some printed format of what people have been doing in "our" caves. For what it's worth I do still get a kick out of seeing something of a friend of mine, and my own of course Rolling Eyes being published and enjoy the printed format for personal archival purposes.

My own utcavers was initally designed just as Jon J. says that it should be. Trip-planning and project announcements as well as discussions about this that and the other thing. Several years ago I proposed a BB type of change for the group but was voted down because a number of people were still preferring only e-mails and "don't surf the web" as often as other people do. Well this is not exactly surfing but ya'll get the idea.
I do feel that the utcavers group does need to evolve and quite frankly I don't like the way Yahoogroups does things... but to my knowledge there's really no other (better) "e-groups" out there that suited to the task.

I guess it may take a while for the change to take place and perhaps as Jon said, there's still a place for a regular e-mailing group but it'll be more specific and not quite as broad as the utcavers has been. I will say that I have been proud and very pleased with the success of the e-mailing utcavers has been. There's been a lot of good stuff on there and it outshadows quite a bit of the bad stuff that popped up several years ago.

Openly I applaud Duane for creating this discussion group for us cavers in Utah and perhaps for (out-of-state) cavers that frequent Utah caves. It'll be more user friendly for those wishing to focus on this discussion and ignore that discussion.

Lets run with it! Who knows where'll it lead to?

Very Happy
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deb



Joined: 07 Dec 2005
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2005 9:48 pm    Post subject: publications Reply with quote

I've just been elected Wasatch Grotto editor ... it would be nice to get some feedback about what's helpful in trip reports. If there's anything that would be helpfult that's usually not included let me know or if some stuff is monotonous let me know that too ... anyway, maybe there could be a link on the utah grotto web sites that goes to trip reports and other caving news for those who don't want to wait for a printed paper.
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CaverStretch



Joined: 07 Dec 2005
Posts: 44
Location: Orem, Utah

PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2005 9:52 pm    Post subject: Salt Lake Grotto Web Site Reply with quote

Hello
I don't know if you have been on the new Salt Lake Grotto web site, but there is a page on the site for trip reports. Right now the only trip reports that have been posted are trips that Duane, Tami and I have been on. But we are trying to change that.

http://www.caves.org/grotto/slgrotto/

I would email Duane and see about having the Wasatch Grotto gain access to this. I think you can read the trip reports, but you can't submit a trip report unless you are an SL Grotto member. But email Duane and see what he can work out with you.

Robert
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dmccully



Joined: 07 Dec 2005
Posts: 81
Location: West Valley City, Utah

PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 12:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Salt Lake Grotto Web Site Reply with quote

CaverStretch wrote:
I would email Duane and see about having the Wasatch Grotto gain access to this. I think you can read the trip reports, but you can't submit a trip report unless you are an SL Grotto member. But email Duane and see what he can work out with you.


As long as you are a current member of any Utah grotto, you can have login access. I setup the membership database, which is what controls the logins, to be able to handle membership in any grotto. I will, however, want to know your membership expiration date.

The plan is to have the grotto secretaries have access to the membership database. They can then track the memberships there. Once this gets going, anyone wanting a login would be able to go to their grotto secretary for it. Both the Wasatch and Timpanogos grottos were interested in this idea when it was presented at the Utah Grottos meeting. I've been working on other things and haven't followed up on it.

The Wasatch Grotto should feel free to link to the Trips/Events and Trip Reports pages from their web site. The Timpanogos Grotto has already done this.
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deb



Joined: 07 Dec 2005
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the problem with that is that not all members of the wasatch grotto visit the sl grotto site. i was thinking more along the lines of a universal online publication for utah, maybe with links to it from all three grotto web sites, so that members of any grotto can put in trip reports or other articles of interest.

I understand we are probably a little behind the other grottos in our tech, but we have just elected our first web site manager for next year and hopefully he will be able to work on linking up the sites.
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Deafnss



Joined: 13 Dec 2005
Posts: 61
Location: Provo/Orem Utah

PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is what this particular forum is for... The Salt Lake site is merely the host... much like the NSS site is host to the discussion board that's national.
The Wasatch Grotto's site can link directly to here, by passing the SL site.
Duane is trying to keep it all simple..... doing a rite foine job o' it tooo.
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dmccully



Joined: 07 Dec 2005
Posts: 81
Location: West Valley City, Utah

PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

deb wrote:
the problem with that is that not all members of the wasatch grotto visit the sl grotto site. i was thinking more along the lines of a universal online publication for utah, maybe with links to it from all three grotto web sites, so that members of any grotto can put in trip reports or other articles of interest.


Not only is this forum designed to be a universal forum for all of Utah, but the Trips/Events and Trip Reports pages are designed to be as well. The Timpanogos Grotto has already linked to all three of these pages. When the pages come up, there is no indication that they are on the SLG site. In addition, it would be a fairly simple matter to pass in an indicator for an alternate stylesheet so that the color scheme, etc., matches whatever grotto site is linking to it.

If I can get the other grottos to keep their membership records in the membership database. Then members from any grotto would also be able to post trips and trip reports. They would not need to go through the SLG web site to do it either; they would be able to do it on their native grotto site.

The links that the grotto sites should link to are:

http://www.caves.org/grotto/slgrotto/phpbb2/
http://www.caves.org/grotto/slgrotto/events.php
http://www.caves.org/grotto/slgrotto/tripreports.php

These pages are not framed by the SLG web site. I would normally think that the forum site would be in its own window while the other two would be framed by the native grotto site.
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Duane McCully
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Floyd Collins



Joined: 22 Dec 2005
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As the editor of Colorado's jointly-published caving journal, Rocky Mountain Caving, I've discovered over the last two decades that cavers like to receive something tangible for their grotto membership dues. Certainly, an electronic publication is easy and inexpensive to produce, but not everyone has a fast Internet connection to download large PDFs or other format files. Plus, there is something worthwhile about having an actual printed publication, with pages to turn, that can then be read at your leisure no matter where you are and then placed in your home library for later reference and enjoyment.

We have found in Colorado that a caving publication that is nicely produced will attract quality articles. When it began in 1984, RMC carried trip reports and short news items similar to those that had previously appeared in the local grotto newsletters. However, as we upgraded the quality of the publication by upgrading to professional printing and using desktop publishing software, the submitted articles and writing began to improve to match the higher quality journal we were producing.

In recent years, thanks to the digital revolution, we've added more photographs to illustrate features and news stories. This gives the publication an increasing feeling of being a valued magazine, rather than a simple club newsletter.

I read The Utah Caver in our Colorado Grotto exchanges and find it often contains interesting stories about Utah caving. But often I am left wanting more information, such as maps and photographs, to better tell the story. Have your clubs considered relaunching The Utah Caver with a new format? The Western Region of the NSS recently relaunched their California Caver with an updated, professional format.

You might check with local printers along the Wasatch Front to see if you can find someone who can digitally print your publication. Digital printing is beginning to overtake traditional offset printing (which in turn replaced letterset printing in the 1970s). Last month, I found a local printer in Denver (Sir Speedy) which has new digital printing presses and is able to produce RMC digitally for about half the cost we were paying for offset printing. The quality of the printing and the issue is about the same, if not better, than our previous offset printing.

Probably the best media mix for grottos that are banding together for better communication and efficiency in costs would be to produce a jointly-published high-quality state or regional caving journal on a bi-monthly or quarterly basis; a single page free grotto news sheet that can be handed out at meetings with currently-scheduled trips, contacts, important notes, etc. (great for new cavers who show up to the meetings); a grotto or state e-mail list to send out to interested members "breaking news" and important information; and a state or region Discussion Board that can provide a free-flowing discussion of issues and news among grotto members, unaffiliated cavers and others. A digital version of the state or regional journal could also be offered for those who are interested for a nominal additional fee (i.e., by subscribing to The Utah Caver, you could receive the online digital version for an additional annual subscription fee of $5.00 or $10.00, including access to back editions).

It's clear that in today's increasingly-connected world that caving organizations and grottos will need to take the lead in communication and information distribution to remain relevent to their members and to attract new members. It is becoming increasingly easy for anyone with a computer to set up their own website offering information about caves and caving that once could only be found by attending grotto meetings.
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Richard Rhinehart
Editor, Rocky Mountain Caving
NSS 15822F

www.ColoradoCaves.org
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jjackson



Joined: 20 Dec 2005
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the idea of having trip reports posted online. It just seems easier to write and submite a report that way. I am with Jon I think having a annual or bi annual super publiction would be a good idea. " the year of utah caving" or something if for no other reason than to have a hard copy of what has been going on. maybe we could take the funds that are going to the publicationi of the bi monthly version towards the annual publication. Then the editors for the utah caver from the different grotto would focus on producing one or 2 publications in a year and make them nice and worth while. maybe we could have special topic like a history of a particular cave or cave area and then high light the cool stuff going on in utah caving.(not that the editors would write the whole thing of course)
Just my thoughts.
Jeremy

oh speaking of grottos is there away to mail in my membership dues I have a feeling that I will not be able to make it to alot of meeting but I do want to be a current member...
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jonjasper



Joined: 09 Dec 2005
Posts: 54
Location: St. George, UT

PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 1:56 am    Post subject: Problems with the Utah Caver Reply with quote

The Utah Caver has many problems. It has not evolved from the plain text of boring trip reports. The publication should report results, changes, current issues, status of projects, creatative writing, and art - and not common knowledge, repetative trip reports. Besides lack of content, the publication doesn't encourage photos or maps.

The lack of quality has driven out the partication of the leading Utah cavers. I personnally took up my own website to publish color photos, full maps, sound clips, and videos to a wider range audience. I have tried unsuccessfully to get articles or announcements only to see them come out 6 months later. I could publish faster in the NSS news!

The other downside is the cost. A heavy percentage of grottos' cash flow goes to the Utah Caver. Most pay about $40 per publication and on top of that are supposed to pay to have them to be mailed. When this publication went out quarterly, it spent up to 80% of the grotto's yearly spending. Now compare it to the NSS's basic website of $12/year and the Yahoo Groups free service!

So in the end, the Utah Caver needs to reform or be discontinued. It is just not worth the investment. The discussion is easy ... and is being made on its own.

-----------------

However, an idea has been throwing around to create an annual publication impressively highlighting (and documenting) the successes in Utah Caving. This full color, high quality publication would describe the advancements in exploration, the progresses in cave restoration projects, and collabative efforts with the federal cave owning agencies. This publication would be delivered to impress and encourage further partication from our members, our partners, and future contributors.

Who would be game? An electronic version could be created with just the investment of time. Initially, printed versions could be made available as deemed needed.


JON
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deb



Joined: 07 Dec 2005
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 12:45 pm    Post subject: i agree Reply with quote

Maybe it would be easier to start online -- with trip reports, photos, etc. -- linked to a Utah Caver site. Then, however often it's decided, put all that content into a published format ... I can help out on the Wasatch Grotto content, speaking of which, on the trip report site it would be helpful if each trip's sponsoring grotto was listed.

oh, and duane thanks for the links i forwarded them to our web guy ... Should I collect trip reports and send them to you if we want them posted on the trip reports site?
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observeram



Joined: 21 Dec 2005
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think an eletronic Utah Caver is a good idea. I've been a paying memebr every year and only have received about three copies. If some one could e-mail me all of the eletronic copies at, observeram@yahoo.com ,I would really appreciate it. It's a great way for me to stay in the loop. I would be willing to submit articles if I could do it over the internet! I think there is a place for both formats but maybe as times have changed the eletronic version would be more widely accepted. Aaron Batty
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