UniServe Science News Volume 7 July 1997


From the Director

Ian Johnston

Is anybody out there?

UniServe Science has a problem. We are funded until early next year. After that, so far at least, nothing. If we cannot find a source of funding between now and then, chances are that we will simply close down.

We need your support. In the leader of our last newsletter I asked readers to write in and tell us what they thought of the job we are doing. We were not exactly swamped with replies. So I am asking again.

Is what we are doing useful?

We see ourselves as offering a service to the science tertiary teaching community. We are distributors of information and opinions about Information Technology in teaching. And it seems to us that the need for our service is increasing.

The amount of information out there, as exemplified by what is on the web is growing exponentially. Everyone knows that. And 90% of it is garbage. (Everyone also knows the "law" attributed to all sorts of people, that 90% of everything is crap.) That means that if you are looking for information yourself you have to sift through an awful lot of dross before you find something useful. Searching for information can be very time-consuming. And the one thing that teaching academics do not have these days, is time.

We try to provide a one-stop place for you to find information -- whether in our newsletters, or at our workshops or on our website. If we don't have the exact thing you are looking for, then we try to tell you where to look next.

We believe that is a useful service.

So, how can you help?

We do not expect you, or your department, or your faculty, or your university to pay for our operations. We are a national facility: we ought to be funded nationally. So we have to sell ourselves, yet again, to the national funding bodies. But to do this we need evidence that others besides us believe that what we do is worthwhile.

That's where you come in. Please just drop us a message -- by letter or by email, it doesn't matter how short -- and tell us whether you think we should survive. Something positive would be nice, but if you have criticisms then we should know about those too. But if we are to survive we need support from our clients. And we can only get that from


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UniServe Science News Volume 7 July 1997

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