Should NSS NEWS go digital?

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Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby Dave Bunnell » Apr 6, 2013 12:53 pm

When I found out about this motion to force a digital News on folks, I made it a point to attend the recent BOG meeting in San Jose. I conveyed my support for making a current digital edition an OPTION but after talking to so many members, and seeing the posts here, get the impression that most folks really prefer a printed edition and strongly urged them not to force a digital version on people. As it turned out most of our Board members felt the same way and for now the proposal to end the printed News was handily defeated when it came to a vote. We can thank Peri Frantz for having already put a counter proposal on the agenda.
To put things in perspective I pointed out that our printing costs for the News - despite all the additions of color, heavier and glossy paper, and flood varnish on the covers - is still less than when I assumed editorship in 1996. What has really gone up is postage, of course, especially foreign postage, so if there were really a large group that would opt out of needing to receive a hard copy that would be the biggest savings. A digital version could also be a money maker for foreign subscribers since many dropped out due to the postage surcharge we had to levy (an extra 40 bucks on top of a regular membership).
The IT Committee will be looking into a way to set up a secure server and I think with luck, sometime this year, folks that want that digital copy may get the option. I'm proposing that we have to make it available in two flavors, low rez and high rez. With the high rez, when you zoom in on a photo it will look crisp, even on a big screen. On the NSS website all the copies are the low rez versions, about 4-8 mb in size. High rez could be 60-80 mb. I may also make a more intermediate high res that is about half that size.
If you haven't seen the full color versions on the NSS web server, check them out. Everything since January 2010 has been made that way. And those are native PDFs, not the fuzzy KIP scans.
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Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby gulley.jason » Apr 10, 2013 8:14 am

One approach to saving money and satisfying both groups would be to have a quarterly printed magazine with a monthly digital version. A quarterly magazine could be used to showcase the stories that are likely to generate the greatest "wow" factor on a coffee table and the digital version could be used for stories that are not quite as spectacular (but still of interest to the community). I belong to several organization that only have quarterly magazines.
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Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby normrogers » Apr 12, 2013 10:09 am

This is 2013, right? Time for a digital option.

A digital version should be an option (definitely not forced on anyone). However, if that option is to download a PDF off the NSS server, I'll stick with the print option. A better solution is to contract with a provider like Zinio, that's in the business of delivering digital magazines to a phone or tablet app. (PCs too, I suppose) That way the NSS doesn't have to invest in servers and pay for the extra bandwidth.

I subscribe to Boating magazine via Zinio, and I love it way better than the print version!!! The digital version has two really cool advantages. One is live links! With my net-connected device I can click on a link or an advertiser, and be immediately connected to the referenced site. Awesome! The other advantage is that I can tap a photo and size it to view the tiny details.

If the NSS News was available on my Zinio app, I'd even pay extra for it!
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Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby Dave Bunnell » Apr 30, 2013 1:03 am

Apparently Zinio is geared towards high volume magazines. It would cost us as much to host on Zinio as to print and mail. So we will need to stick to PDFs. The sticking point is still trying to make them "secure" on our server.
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Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby tncaver » Apr 30, 2013 8:01 am

Dave Bunnell wrote:Apparently Zinio is geared towards high volume magazines. It would cost us as much to host on Zinio as to print and mail. So we will need to stick to PDFs. The sticking point is still trying to make them "secure" on our server.


Dave, why not have a password protected area like the MEMBERS PAGE to access the PDF's? Or put the PDF's on the member's page?
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Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby Phil Winkler » Apr 30, 2013 8:29 am

The login requirements for the Members Page is hardly secure. Anyone in very short order could come up with someone's NSS number and zip code. Heck it is on most member's info on Cavechat.
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Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby tncaver » Apr 30, 2013 9:09 am

Phil Winkler wrote:The login requirements for the Members Page is hardly secure. Anyone in very short order could come up with someone's NSS number and zip code. Heck it is on most member's info on Cavechat.


Then why not add another requirement like a secret question? Other websites have security measures. After all, the NSS News isn't like a government agency or a bank that must have the most stringently secure website.
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Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby Phil Winkler » Apr 30, 2013 9:55 am

That is precisely what the IT committee is doing. Patience, patience....There are largely automated systems for maintaining this, but our membership fluctuates a lot so someone will have to maintain it closely. When a member is dropped they will have to be barred from the site, etc., etc.
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Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby wyandottecaver » Apr 30, 2013 10:54 am

Not to bust anyone's bubble here but these aren't pictures of nekkid women. Do we really think droves of people are going to drop their membership and hack into the server for free NSS news ? Really? The fact is if a couple folks get in and distribute free copies....great! Mybe someone will read them and JOIN. The only downside is if it gets so rampant it affects people getting memberships and that just doesn't seem likely. I am in 2 different caving organizations that host PDFs on websites and the world has not ended.

I know reality is a stretch in the thin air of the BOG sometimes but this just seems like a solution without a problem
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Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby bookmaker-jb » Dec 18, 2013 3:16 pm

Should the NSS News go digital?

NO!
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Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby NZcaver » Dec 18, 2013 4:20 pm

bookmaker-jb wrote:Should the NSS News go digital?

NO!

Did you even read the discussion? Old issues are already available digitally though the Karst Information Portal, so why not current ones?

As an OPTION, of course. Nobody is taking paper away from those who want it.

I'm still waiting for digital. I need to clean out over a decade of old NSS News issues. Moving them around the country is getting rather tedious.
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Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby ohiocaver » Dec 28, 2013 10:02 pm

This still is an active discussion item with BOG and the EC. I suspect that the Cavechat crew is a self-selecting, pro-digital group (ie, few technophobes are apt to be on-line here regularly). My leaning, at the moment, is toward the Indiana Model: offer digital copies to those who self-select with no dues reduction.
Unfortunately, there is no linearity in savings. That is, if 20% of our 9000 subscribers opt to go digital, it will still cost NSS 94% or so of the cost of a full run...we do not save 20% by cutting mailed copies by 20%. This is due to volume printing, paper size, etc. We do save close to 100% on postage, however. And postage -- along with paper and printing (the 3P's of Publishing) -- is a major item.
Discussion?
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Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby Extremeophile » Dec 30, 2013 10:48 am

ohiocaver wrote:This still is an active discussion item with BOG and the EC. I suspect that the Cavechat crew is a self-selecting, pro-digital group (ie, few technophobes are apt to be on-line here regularly). My leaning, at the moment, is toward the Indiana Model: offer digital copies to those who self-select with no dues reduction.
Unfortunately, there is no linearity in savings. That is, if 20% of our 9000 subscribers opt to go digital, it will still cost NSS 94% or so of the cost of a full run...we do not save 20% by cutting mailed copies by 20%. This is due to volume printing, paper size, etc. We do save close to 100% on postage, however. And postage -- along with paper and printing (the 3P's of Publishing) -- is a major item.
Discussion?
:argue:

The actual cost for those electing electronic distribution should be near-zero. So even a reduction in dues for those opting-in still amounts to subsidizing those who continue to get a paper edition. So what's the argument for not reducing dues for electronic distribution? I agree with your non-linearity argument, but if the cost per paper issue increases when some members elect to go digital then those costs should be paid by those who are receiving the benefit of a more costly printing and physical delivery system.

I also agree that those on Cavechat are probably more likely to be in favor of electronic distribution than the general caving population; however, I wouldn't characterize myself as "pro-digital" as much as "pro-progress". Likewise, I think many people are "pro-status quo" rather than necessarily being "technophobes" (i.e. they aren't afraid of technology, they just prefer things that are familiar).
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Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby czs0021 » Apr 27, 2014 3:45 pm

Yes.

I like having access to thousands of articles in Zotero [ / your favorite reference manager], all searchable for anything of interest. Why would I want paper copies of anything?

I wish ALL of NSS News, Speleo Digest, and NSS Bulletin / Journal of Cave and Karst Studies was digitized and available online to paying members. Acquiring old issues of these is problematic, even by way of interlibrary loans. We should be going the way of Biodiversity Heritage Library and making efforts to digitize everything. Hardcopies make sense for archival reasons, in libraries (whether public / membership / private), but cost far more than distributing over the internet.
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Re: Should NSS NEWS go digital?

Postby arizonaowl » Sep 15, 2014 1:37 pm

I think it is a good idea to go digital. I believe that the hard copy is a real POWER RUSH-ADRENALIN RUSH to the people who have articles in it. However, it is an expensive thing to publish, and the people wanting a copy of the hard copy should be required to pay extra. Another way to do it, might be to make the digital form available as a PDF file. Those who choose could then print it as a hard copy, either B&W or full color as they choose, and have it bound at a local printing establishment., Regards, Al Copley 20845
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