VOLUME 13 NOVEMBER 1996 NUMBER 11
"Tuning in" Cyberspace:BY CATHY FAYE RUDOLPH
The Antique Radio Classified Web Site
Like every other business, A.R.C. must grow with the times. In the past year, this growth has been enhanced by the creation of a web site, which spreads the word about radio collecting much farther and wider than print can do. In fact, our site now draws over 100 visitors daily. We asked Cathy Rudolph, our web site developer, to share her thoughts about the A.R.C. web site. (Editor)
This month Antique Radio Classified celebrates its first anniversary on the World Wide Web. Just one year ago, I was faced with a rather formidable task -- John Terrey asked me to design a web site for Antique Radio Classified. After leafing through back issues of A.R.C., I knew that I had a challenge on my hands. How do you top the presentation, the writing, the layout of the print version of A.R.C.? Of course, the wise answer is that you don't top the print version; instead, you attempt to create its parallel on the web. Armed with that principle as the guiding factor in the design, I created the layout, formatting, and design for A.R.C.'s web site.
The new A.R.C. web site has been very successful and popular. Many A.R.C. subscribers have stopped by the web site to see the online version of the latest issue about the time before the postman begins to deliver their printed copies. However, those without web access need not worry. At present, there are no classified ads on the web version.
The A.R.C. Home Page Screen Graphic.
The web site attracts readers who order complimentary copies of A.R.C. and then often subscribe to the print version. Whether visitors to the web site wish to subscribe, to order from the fine collection of radio-related publications -- both of which they can do online -- or simply to browse the online articles or photo collections, the web site has something for all comers.
I am occasionally asked about the design of the A.R.C. web site -- about why the site doesn't feature the garish colors, animated graphics, and "trendy'" formatting of some of the "cutting edge" sites. Frankly, the information in A.R.C. and its web site stands on its own -- it is an honest, clear presentation of the topic, and doesn't need a carnival-like presentation.
It's a great credit to John Terrey's foresight to have A.R.C. on the World Wide Web. The best and brightest promise of Cyberspace is the availability of information and the ability to present and share ideas on a variety of topics. If you enter the phrase "antique radio" in any of the major Internet search engines, you will find a link to the A.R.C. site, as well as many links to magazines, museums, collections, membership and hobby groups, and newsgroups worldwide.
The A.R.C. site is updated monthly. It includes the current issue cover, a feature article or two, book reviews, Radio Miscellanea, Coming Radio Events, and links to other radio web sites. Every once in a while, a loyal reader will ask, "Will the web site replace the printed magazine?" My view is that, as appealing and searchable as web sites can be, there will always be a place for the printed book or magazine. There is an almost personal relationship between the reader and the printed word-on-paper, and there is still no electronic publication device that is so portable, so durable in shape, and so economically feasible as the friendly printed magazine or book.
Perhaps some day there will be such "reader" devices, and over time collectors will seek out the earliest models at auctions, write articles about them, and hold events to celebrate them. Who knows -- perhaps that heralds the publication of Antique "Reader" Classified.
(Cathy Faye Rudolph, 38 Sandy Ridge Road, Stoughton, MA 02072)
Cathy Rudolph is the owner of the web and graphics design firm Wayward Fluffy Publications <http://www.fluffy.com>. Her company, first founded as a publisher of children's literature, has designed such sites as "Antique Radio Classified" <http://www.antiqueradio.com>, The Wakefield Corporation <http://www.wake.com>, The Concord Review <http://www.tcr.org>, and BMUG, a not-for-profit computer users' group <http://www.xensei.com/users/bmugbos>. The firm also creates 3D computer art, which is on display at a World Wide Web artist's loft at <http://www.geocities.com/soho/4954>.