Mr. Kraft explained that the hard-copy world is discouraging for many scholars. Copyright law is confusing, and some scholars contend that publishers use these laws to control information that they have no right to control. Consequently, some scholars hold a negative view of legal structures as they now function. Since religious studies in particular, and humanities in general, are not driven by an economic market as much as by recognition and the sharing of ideas, scholars in these fields have a jaundiced view of the business aspects of scholarly publication.
Mr. Kraft next turned to electronic scholarly discussion groups. IOUDAIOS is one such scholarly discussion group; its 300 members are interested in the origins of Christianity and, in particular, are interested in access to ancient texts in electronic format. According to Mr. Kraft, the printed texts have become much less desirable as scholars have learned how to manipulate material electronically, making concordances unnecessary. The creation of electronic archives has made this information accessible to anyone on the network.
Although not a copyright issue, per se, the IOUDAIOS experience has raised awareness about uneven access to texts in electronic format. Some material is protected so that it cannot be transferred to a work station and manipulated. Other materials are easily accessed and manipulated; the scholars access material through file servers, and can copy what they want to use from the system and edit it. Similarly, Mr. Kraft believes that CD-ROM textual materials should be in flat file format, allowing scholars to use their own software and ask the kinds of questions that they want of the materials.
The publication of materials in electronic format was Mr. Kraft's next area of discussion. He described IOUDAIOS Review, which publishes reviews of books on the origins of Christianity and related topics from publishers, within a month of the monographs' publication dates, only in electronic format. Likewise, CONTENTS is an electronic list of the contents of books in the same field, which sometimes also includes a book review of the material and strives to keep scholars up-to-date in their areas of interest.
In closing, Mr. Kraft addressed the issue of how scholars gain access to what has been produced and who controls the actual electronic format production. His preference was that material be in the hands of the producers, not the publishers.