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D-Lib Magazine
December 2002

Volume 8 Number 12

ISSN 1082-9873


Taking the Bad with the Good

Recently, I received one of those 'bounced' message notifications showing me as the sender of an undeliverable message, which is not terribly unusual, but this bounced message was one with a subject line indicating a topic about which I would not be writing—to anyone.

I suspected I had been infected by one of those viruses that work by invading a person's computer and then sending messages to everyone on that person's email address list. However, I found my computer to be virus-free, and furthermore, the offensive message had not been sent from my computer. Investigating further, I learned that some bulk email distributors use Internet "crawlers" to search for and harvest email addresses that are then used, or sold to others, for distributing SPAM. Because the bogus message didn't originate on one of our servers, there was little I could do about it. However, among the things I can do—at least to minimize the chance such crawlers will pick up email addresses from D-Lib Magazine bylines—is to no longer code email addresses in D-Lib to be 'live' links (i.e., to launch a compose message window when clicked.) You'll see that change initiated in this issue of D-Lib.

Though it is tempting to grouse about the negative uses being made of Internet technology, I guess you have to take the bad—at least temporarily—with the good. For every negative use of a particular Internet technology, there are also several positive uses. For example, though the number of SPAM messages has been increasing to the point where dealing with it threatens to affect productivity, email has also dramatically cut communication times between colleagues, peers, and businesses. Without email, it would be impossible to produce a magazine like D-Lib, with short lead times between article acceptance and publication. Magazine staff and authors communicate with each other via email right up to the day the magazine is released.

In every issue of D-Lib Magazine, you will find articles and other features reporting on digital library projects that use Internet technology for good purposes. For example, in this issue, there are two articles reporting on how crawler technology is being used positively by national Web archiving projects in Austria and France.

The Internet has moved far beyond the collegial stage. It is now necessary to be aware of ways Internet technologies can be used in, at best, unauthorized and, at worst, nefarious ways. It is heartening to know that there is a great deal of work being done to thwart such uses. D-Lib will continue to report on both the good and the bad as well as to provide pointers to other organizations that are doing the same.

Bonita Wilson


Copyright© 2002 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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DOI: 10.1045/december2002-editorial