I just go my July/August issue of Telephony. In it the editor tells everyone that this will be the last print issue after 108 year. When I starting for California Water Telephone (GTE) in 1967 I used to read my supervisors issue, and was able to lean a lot of what was happening; from what I remember is was pretty good sized with a lot of ads. Over the years and in the last few it has gotten spammer with each issue. They will continue with the on line issues and a new print wil be called Connected Planet. I have had my own issue for the last 30 years, and I think I have all of those in boxes in the garage: I have looked at older issues over the and have seen the changes, gone are the ads from Automatic Electric for step stuff and Western Electric ads.
Wasn't 1967 the year that California Water and Telephone (Cal Drip and Tinkle my dad called it) was absorbed by General Telephone? I grew up in Monrovia, which was CWT territory. We didn't get a dial office until
As I recall, CWT had a large operating territory, although it was not contiguous; northern San Fernando Valley, then skip to Sierra Madre, north side of Arcadia, Monrovia/Duarte, then skip out to Redlands/Banning/Palm Srings area. Any other CWT territory prior to the General Telephone takeover?
General System bought CWT ad 2 others in 1966 and 67, but let them run on there own thru 1967, I was sent to basic CO school, but could not use most of my training for a couple of years. I was one of the last under CWT and was stuck in a 7 year top while others were under a 5 year top.
I believe the following request would be a great deal of work, but would it be possible to scan a few of the oldest issues for the Telecom Archives? (They have the Western Union Tech Review and other neat old documents).
If the publisher has an archive would you share the URL with us? But I strongly doubt they'd have 30 year old stuff on it.
When you say contact the publisher I presume you mean to check about copyright usage.
I don't follow copyrights too closely, but I understand not long ago the time limit of a copyright law was greatly extended (others could elaborate on the details). That is, a copyright used to expire after so many years, with an option to renew for one second period, after which the work would become public domain.
I can understand the desire for creators to maintain control and receive royalties for their works, especially things like motion pictures which were extremely expensive to produce and have a long lifespan. This was debated in rec.arts.tv, with many feeling old works ought to be public domain, but others recognizing not every creator is a huge corporation and individuals deserve protection, too.
The flip side is historical documents such as 30+ year old technical magazines and manuals. They have some historical value, but virtually no monetary value. Copyright law does provide some exceptions of for educational insitutions to use material without royalty in certain circumstances. I would hope that such old manuals and journals could get the same kind of exception.
Are those of you reading this thread aware the lifetime production run of the new departed Bell System Technical Journal -- one of the premier scientific journals of the world from the early '20s through the early '80s, full of classic pioneering papers like, just for example, the first publication of Shannon's information theory work -- is *nowhere* available to the general public online. Scanned copies of the entire production run are allegedly available online inside Lucent/Alcatel, but not to anyone outside.
By contrast, the complete production run of Phys Rev is available to researchers, universities, and other subscribers, in scanned and indexed form, back to Vol 1, No. 1 some time in the 1890s; Science magazine back to 1880-something; and so on.
Efforts to make all the *publicly supported* knowledge in these journals available to the public who paid for it have thus far been unavailing.
"to make the *publicly supported* knowledge in these journals available to the public who paid for it"
The research and the resulting knowledge reported in BSTJ, along with the preparation and editing of the resulting articles (plus, I would guess, a substantial fraction of the publication costs), were paid for by what was in essence, or for all intents and purposes, a very small "tax" imposed on every individual in the US who had or used a telephone - a tax collected by the Bell System and used to support Bell Labs.
There is a substantial movement in the U.S. toward making all publicly funded or tax-supported research results - specifically including their subsequent publication in peer-reviewed journals - freely available to the general public online, either instantly or after a short embargo; and that is, I think, a reasonable goal.
This otherwise admirable policy is, however, hard on nonprofit professional societies - in my case, the Optical Society of America - who organize and provide the unpaid volunteer editorial and refereeing efforts that make possible peer-reviewed scientific journals. For many decades we supported these and other useful services we provide to society from publication revenues, notably from paid subscriptions by our members along with libraries and companies. We're now trying to cope with substantially reduced revenues from subscriptions under these free-access policies by publishing totally free online peer-reviewed journals (no printed copies at all), with the authors being asked to pay for the costs of reviewing the articles and getting them on line.
In any case, the distinguished cadre of researchers who are now the alumni of the Bell Labs deserve to have their contributions to BSTJ also available on line - and I'd urge them to get organized and help make it happen.
Customers of any private enterprise always pay for the research that produced the product they are consuming. I did not, and do not now, pay a tax for Bell System Research. If I do not wish to pay for Bell System research I simply no longer consume their services and products.
A look at any P&L sheet will clearly show R&D as an expense by the company and it also feeds the company's intellectual property asset. So the Bell System or other company should just give those assets away for free?
At least, the customers certainly don't pay for it in the price they pay for the product, nor does the company in any direct way pay for it, if
-- as is very often the case -- a large part of the basic and even much of the applied research that led to, or made possible, the product was performed by faculty and students working on government-funded grants at a university; published as rapidly as possible in an open scientific journal; and acquired from there, for free, by the company.
Or if it was done at Bell Labs and published in BSTJ.
Giving this kind of knowledge away for free was exactly what the Bell System did when it published all this basic and very often quite applied knowledge in BSTJ.
And as regards intellectual property, Bell Labs did require all BSTJ authors to clear their publications (in BSTJ or any other journal) through the BTL patent office before they were submitted for publication; and Bell did take out patents -- or at least submit applications -- on some of the things that were published.
But, as is the case for so many patent applications filed by any company, the great majority of these applications were submitted primarily for defensive purposes, to ensure that no one else who subsequently came up with the same idea or result could patent it and try to block the Bell System from using it.
Bell Labs did take out patents, and did license some of them, typically at very modest rates, or in cross-licensing arrangements for patents from other companies. But patents were a minor part of the output or the objectives at Bell Labs. And, a nontrivial concern was that Bell Labs researchers had to be allowed to publish very freely, because otherwise the kind of superb people who were sought as Bell Labs researchers would never have come there.
[I suspect this will be my last post on this thread.]
Wrong. Absolutely wrong. (We've heard this argument before).
Governments collect taxes, not private corporations.
Telephone subscribers paid for _telephone service_ provided by a private company, as regulated by state and federal regulators. They paid NO "tax". You paid for that research and you received the benefits of that research in better service and lower rates; you have no claim on anything else and certainly not on the assets.
Indeed, by your argument any citizen could claim the right to be seated for free at a White House state dinner; after all, your taxes paid for it.
That is a future movement, not relevant to the issue at hand. It would be a violation of the US Constitution go to backward.
BUT, even if they didn't, I think I could get my employers to pay, say $5k for a complete searchable archive of the BSTJ. We already have it on microfilm (for which we paid a lot more than $5k over the years), but I think the searchable archive would be a huge advantage.
The thing is.... the BSTJ is not available in searchable digital form for any cost, for anyone. This is tragic since a huge amount of fundamental acoustic research was done by Bell Labs. I frequently catch people trying to replicate research that was published in the BSTJ in the 1930s, because they don't know it is in there.
But my understanding (from informal contact with senior level Bell Labs retirees and alumni) is that the full prduction run of BSTJ is available within the Lucent/Alcatel/Bell/Whatever system in scanned and indexed (though maybe not yet OSCR'ed) form.
Given access to this, conversion to something approaching full text form would be trivial, either on a full production basis for the whole archive, or on an individual paper basis for individuals with any modest OCR software.
Scott, if you have any contact with similar Bell Labs researchers, whether alumni, retirees, or just old timers, BUG THEM about this.
(And I'd be glad to get copies of any correspondence on this, or any statements re classic fundamental acoustics papers that are trapped in BSTJ. I can identify the classic laser papers, the classic e-m theory and microwave papers, some of the classic noise and quantum theory papers; but I'm not as well versed in acoustics.)
I have an EndNote library covering much of the production run of BSTJ from 1924 to 1975 (about 2500 citations, with abstracts). If someone would like access to a copy of it, email me and I'll put it on my web site.