perhaps I-Ds are more like elaborated lab notebooks?
very useful for patent references, reviewing dead ends, partly
explored ideas, etc. One doesn't typically throw away lab
notebooks just because you didn't write a published paper
based on them.
At 12:23 PM 9/27/2000 -0400, John C Klensin wrote:
--On Wednesday, 27 September, 2000 09:58 -0400 RJ Atkinson
At 12:07 27/09/00, Melinda Shore wrote:
Archival material is *extremely* important for
The archival material is the RFC --*only*--.
I've got very mixed feelings about this topic: I understand the
reasons for an archive, but I'm extremely concerned that, as
Keith, Ran, and others have pointed out, turning I-Ds into a
permanent record may make it harder to get half-baked ideas
exposed in the community rapidly enough that we can make
The "library" analogy to an I-D is, I suspect, an unpublished,
privately-circulated, draft of something that might evolve into
a book. Such drafts are, precisely as you suggest, invaluable
for historical research into the development and evolution of
ideas. But, when they are retained and available at all, they
are traditionally also severely encumbered as to access.
Restrictions such as "no access during the author's lifetime",
"no access while the copyright on the final publication is still
in effect", or "no access without special arrangements that
require identification of the researcher and purpose of the
research" are all, as you must know, fairly common.
I, and I suspect many others reading this, have early drafts of
books in my personal library that contain materials that were
removed to make the books short enough to be published. Some of
those materials are valuable technically as well as historically
and an author would have to twist my arm fairly hard to get me
to destroy or return them. But I feel at least morally
obligated to honor that author's request to not duplicate or
cite that material without explicit, case-by-case, permission.
I find it interesting in this regard that you cite long-dead
authors and painters in your comparison; I strongly suspect that
a library which obtained personal journals or letters from a
contemporary figure and made them widely available without
permission would find itself in deep legal and professional
It seems to me that the real question here is not whether I-D
materials should be retained for historical or related purposes
or not: almost no one seems to be questioning that. Instead, I
think it would be helpful if the people and communities with
experience in the area, especially the library one, would help
us find appropriate analogies to the restrictions on access that
often characterize collections of what may be similar character.
In particular, "make it available, but make it hard to get to"
suggestions don't impress me as quite right. As someone who has
put out some fairly dumb ideas in I-Ds that I'd prefer not be
generally circulated --especially with the implication that they
are my final, considered, thoughts on those subjects-- I'd far
prefer that anyone who wanted to get to an old I-D needed to
identify him or herself and a reason. I'm not particularly
concerned about whether or not the reason is audited or formally
verified, nor do I think the lists of people who made the
requests need be public (although I'd assume authors should have
access to the list for their materials), but I think there ought
to be a record.
Does that seem unreasonable to you as a librarian? Can you
suggest a way to accomplish it?