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What do you want from an internetic journal?
Many years ago a student came to see me and asked me to help her writing a thesis about Sylvia Plath. It seemed that I was the only psychiatrist around who could read her (only) novel The Bell Jar which had not been translated yet. After that episode she introduced me to the works of Robert Coover, the famous American writer of the Brown University, the author of novels like the celebrated Spanking the Maid and Pinocchio in Venice.
It was fated I would never meet Coover and all I know of him comes from his books and the talks with that student who became a well known literary critic , Giovanna Covi.
My last encounter with Coover was on Internet (www.brown.edu) where he is concerned with hypertexts.
I was not very much impressed by that hypertext and now, reading what Marshall Blonsky writes about him in Telèma, (I warmly recommand that journal to you all, it has wonderful monographs and subscriptions are ridicolously low) I realize that I was not alone.
To write in Internet is difficult, I would say very difficult. The risk is that of being swallowed by the electronic device and loosing sight of the form and the content. I will not discuss here the subject of the hypertext, it has already been done by Felix Guattari and Jacques Derrida, I will not argue with them and beside also John Blanton has dealt with it.
I just wanted to reflect a little on POL.it and on myself too.
Let's start from myself.
I have been writing essays like this for more then one year an I have always asked myself who was going to read them.
I often regretted not getting any answer, objection or encouragment, apart that few that came from Bollo, the editorial staff and my friends.
My brother Francesco has also been so kind to tell me that he has been spotted as the brother of that one that rages through the net.
It means that I enjoy a certain little notoriety.. I was sure of that.
An internetic review though specialized like our must have a certain circulation.
I ignored the extension of that circulation and I have been surprised and obviously happy.
POL.i is acquiring new readers day by day according to statistics (http://www.publinet.it/pol/stat).
During the course of the year the amount of monthly hits has more than tripled following a rising curve which suddendly reared after April 1998.
It has an average of 3734 daily hits with peaks of 10533 hits. As everybody knows hits are the bumber of requests of files received by the server, in plain words hits are the number of daily requests of single files from the server where the site is. Considering the frequence of hits The United States, Switzerland, Germany, Argentina, Brasil and Spain follow Italy. There are accesses even from Japan, New Zealand, Malaya, Kuwait, Esthonia, Peru, Emirates, Korea.
Perhaps Italian is better known than what we think. But I am writing this essay also in English.
It is a pity not to own a good amount of shares of POL.it as POL.it is a non profit association. It would have been a good investment.
POL.it is written in Italian and therefore 68% of the hits are from Italy. In April we had 2535 sites/readers and in May 3128.
The actual value of accesses considered as visits is in fact given by the number of sites present in our counter. This is the real number to be taken into account, which, once coupled with the hits and the Kbytes sent gives a precise idea of the amount of the quality and quantity of readers of the site. From all those points of view we can safely state that POL.it represents a reality with an exponential growth and a curve superior even to that of the growth of the Italian netters and we, the editorial staff and myself, are delighted with this.
It does not intend to compete with the 167000 printed copies (83% in the Veneto) of the daily Il Gazzettino (http://www.gazzettino.it) or with the 494000 copies of the economy daily Il Sore 24 Ore and the 325587 daily accessess to its site (www.ilsole24ore.it).
POL.it is a specialistic journal, dedicated to psychiatrists and those interested in the sciences of behaviour.
The number of netters is increasing but we are still in a phase of alphabetization. Our specialization and the still growing alphabetization do not allow us to compare with printed magazines and journals nor with large consumer sites.
Our readers have peculiar characheristics, they read us from home, back from work, almost all of them between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. (but there is also some night-lover that reads us between 2 and 6 a.m.) and obviously their preferred day is Sunday (http://www.publinet.it/polstat/stats0598.html).
The home page, search engine, index and colums are among the top URLs.
The reader asks for quick, up-to-date and reliable information. He is anxsious to find a job, we know it because the URL advertising competitions is among the top ten and that also means that a large part of our readers (lucky them!)
is young and they are not alredy irremovable placed . Perhaps one could also think that even here is catching on that job mobilty so common in the States.
I know you are asking yourself whether Rizzoli (firstname.lastname@example.org) ever checked if anybody reads him. He did, and discovered that many of his essays have been very often read, thanks perhaps to the title and certain key-words (http://www.publinet.it/pol/ital/rizzoli6.htm). Therefore he has even thought of closing the essay column and openly move into another one, with the consent of Bollo.
No doubt the reader of POL.it just because he is young and cunning is very demanding and looks for in POL.it what he cannot find in our worthy italian journals dedicated to this topic. In fact these are often years out of date (in the past thay did so in order to favour the posthumous publications for university teaching qualification). Their news about conferences are often published when the records are already printed and, above all, they do not allow for a debate so lively and without censure as it happens in POL.it.
This point has been discussed in his novelized autobiography Camice matto, VITTORINO ANDREOLI, ascribing this invention to his Master.
But I had already given due consideration to that matter in my essay of July-August 1997 (http://www.publinet.it/pol/ital/rizzoli7.htm).
Our editorial stuff is not constituted by professional journalists, we are psychiatrists with different engagements to fulfil and among our activities the getting up to date obliges us to sift oceans of printed and internetic information. Ask Raffaello Biagi about it!(email@example.com). Our efforts have been rewarded up to now. It costed us a lot in terms of time, tempers and drags. We are ready to face others, we to not lack courage but above all we do not lack the confidence of our readers which supports us.
POL.it is not an ordinary journal, it reaches homes absolutely free and is asked for much more than you cannot find in large libraries.
According to me POL.it succeded in avoiding being the mere copy of printed journals and at the same time entering the shallows of hypertext at all costs . It has a very good content, a reliable up to date information, a synthetic language and an excellent level of scientific qualification. Those who know me cannot certainly charge me with captatio benevolentiae: during the latest meeting of the editorial staff, all guests of Albertina Seta, I almost quarrelled with Bollo about the need of a professional attitude on the net.
Both of us were right and from the dispute, well, almost dispute, (we both are a little fiery because our tempers are both passionate) POL.it as taken to fly again. But I do not want to indulge in self-praise.
I can only say that the special issue concerning the law 180, about which I disagreed, i shoulder the responsability of this, has given the ampler and more balanced possible vision of our psychiatric reformation and I apologize for not having been able yet, but I will do it, be sure, to synthetize foreign judgments.
I would like to read your opinion about the present POL.it. Write to me about(firstname.lastname@example.org)