en.red.ando answers back

Luís Ángel Fernández Hermana - @luisangelfh
28 November, 2017
Editorial: 154
Fecha de publicación original: 9 febrero, 1999

Little strokes fell great oaks

The gestation period has been long and the birth a difficult and painful one. Nevertheless, today en.red.ando’s 3.0 version sees the light for the first time, with its new design and enlarged content. As with all newborns, some will say that it’s a beautiful baby and others will not understand what all the fuss was about. And both of them will be right in a way. However, in tune with the times we live in, it’s the creature’s DNA that counts. And, its genetic code is, on the one hand, that of en.red.ando’s trajectory up to now, and, on the other, it incorporates the genes that readers themselves have been injecting into it in a laborious participative engineering exercise. That is what interactivity means to me. It does not just mean the ordinary capacity for response that digital technology offers –if this was the case we could call the “Letters to the Editor” section the classic and supreme example of interactivity –, instead, it represents the incorporation of audience needs, although this might mean moving in directions not initially included in the original design project. The media in the real world cannot do this. And, this is what we have done in the 3.0 version by opening up the new en.medi@ space, which will deal with debate and research into new media in the Information Society.

After three years of uninterrupted presence on the Net, en.red.ando has become a reference point for many internauts as far as the problems of digital communication are concerned. Apart from periodic contributions which can be seen in the different sections of the magazine, we also get a constant flow of questions related to lines of research into new media, searches for specialised bibliographies and materials on the problems of information in the Net. Relationships with readers through these exchanges have led us to create en.medi@, which is one of the most important new additions to the magazine along with the opening up of three webs (Spanish, Catalan and English), a search engine, a navigator for off-line reading and other new sections.
The aim of en.medi@ is to promote the research, analysis, development and design of new media in the Information Society. Digital communication is emerging as a new field of knowledge determined, to a large extent, by the impact of information society technology and changes in social relationships fostered by them. The appearance of new media on the Internet poses a wide range of questions to do with their content, the way they work, their mission, the professional and business aspects of those involved and, above all, their own particular way of integrating into the Information Society.

The complexity of this subject matter requires a certain complexity in our approach to it as well. It is true that there are distribution lists and news groups where many of these topics are debated. Nevertheless, these forums are not able on their own to include — and supply– all the ingredients that make up this new field. en.medi@ has been designed as a space on the Internet where users will be able to find the necessary tools and socio-cultural context for research into the problems of digital communication and the opportunity to develop initiatives based on the construction of the Information Society itself.

In order to fulfil its objectives, en.medi@ will work as a system made up of four closely interrelated sections: an area for discussion, experimentation, and the exchange of ideas (the laboratory), a section for reviews and publishing updates (the library), a periodic supply of articles published on the Net in other languages and translated into Spanish on subjects of interest to en.medi@ (hemeroteque) and, finally, an information service about events on the Internet and in the net world which shape and contribute to the development of the Information Society (research material). Each one of these sections is an electronic distribution list, although readers receive all of them in just one subscription. Lists are moderated to avoid “spamming” and unsolicited advertising. In addition, all messages will automatically be published on en.medi@’s web page, where they’ll will become self-classified and searchable through a search engine. Subscribers to en.medi@ will be able to send and answer messages from the web.

As from today, all those subscribed to enredando’s editorial distribution list (some 3,000) readers) will receive a message inviting them to subscribe to en.medi@. To do so they just have to “Reply” to it. The rest can visit the page where the subscription form is. Other very well-known information services are considering participating in this new space which would mean its content would be appreciably enriched.

In the 3.0 version, en.red.ando will be shown in three webs: Spanish, Catalan and English. For the moment, only 9 of the 16 sections in the magazine are in English and Catalan. However, we would like to translate the 100 % of our content, so we are in the process of negotiating with various organisations and companies for the financing of the translation of the whole magazine. In any case, all three of these webs have the means for navigating and searching in their respective languages. Moreover, from today on, the Catalan version of en.red.ando’s editorial can be accessed on the front page of VilaWeb.

Over the last three years the archives of the magazine have grown considerably. Although everything was stored in files, it was clear that a search tool was necessary, particularly for those who wish to use material for research. So, we have included a search engine designed for the new media. In general, when one searches for something on the Internet, the answer one gets is numerous (too many) URLs, each one of them accompanied by a few lines from which one is supposed to guess the content. We went for a more laborious way of doing things which we hope will be more efficient in the long run. We have extracted the “news” content from each document in en.red.ando and written a brief summary using key words and concepts. The search engine will “comb” these summaries and all the documents stored in the archives, but it will only show the summaries of articles related to the requested criteria. In this way, it will be easier and quicker to get an idea of what the document in question contains. In addition, the searches will be classified according to how close they come to the criteria in question.
Another innovation in the 3.0 version is the “off-line” navigator which will allow users to read en.red.ando without being connected. The first thing to do is download the navigator in our computer. When you open the programme, you select the pages of the magazine you wish to read. The navigator connects, collects them and ends the connection. Then one can navigate, read, print, store or throw the pages away.

We have also added new sections and enlarged others. In “des.enredos” we pick up on stories that once shook the Net and then disappeared without trace into some digital limbo. For example, whatever happened to Deep Blue after it beat the world chess champion Gary Kasparov? Or, where did Sandorf Wallace, the”King of Spam”, and his meddling company “Cyberpromotions” go after they appeared in court? Also, our space dedicated to games has grown to become a new section called en.juego. There will be a fortnightly opinion article written by Daniel Gómez Cañete, in which he will examine the games industry and the impact games have on the fields that interest us the most, from training and education to their repercussions on social perception as a result of their capacity for simulating multiple realities. Moreover, Ricard Fadrique will enlarge El Juego del Mes (Game of the Month) with a page where he will try to unravel the most difficult steps in a game. A monthly list of the best games selected by a panel of experts will also be added until, little by little, it will grow to include the votes of the players themselves.

This attempt to make en.red.ando into a reference point for the elaboration of original digital content on the Internet could not have been made without the contributions and participation of many people. To them, and all those who have yet to do so, we would just like to say that the doors are wide open to sharing in any of these tasks or contributing in any way to the magazine’s enrichment. We know that the Information Society stimulates brains and generates waves of interesting ideas, many of which end up in neurons and tucked away in drawers for lack of anywhere to display them. We are open to receiving, discussing and publishing them.

If there is one thing we can say about this 3.0 version from this side of the fence it is that its gestation has turned in to an energy-consuming machine. Nobody who has participated in the process has been let off the hook. From Partal, Maresme&Associats, who took over the job of the new design, to Espais Telemàtics, who were in charge of the complicated technological design of the web (search engine, en.medi@, etc.) and who will house en.red.ando in their server from now on. All of them have displayed an extraordinary patience during this hectic time. Despite the daily whirl that the preparation of the 3.0 version has meant, Karma Peiró, content coordinator of Enredando.com, S.L., has managed to get her degree at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, which is most admirable (and worrying, Could we have given her even more work to do?). And Pau, without whose dedication and voracious appetite for learning the tricks of the trade nothing would have come of our efforts, is already asking when we are going to start thinking about the 4.0 version. It has taken us 22 months to consume the 2.0 version. At the speed we move, maybe we should start the next one around ……..Christmas?

Translation: Bridget King.