Rock Garden Quarterly

304 posts / 0 new
Last post
Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

McGregor wrote:

Do let me know whether you like the way the online Quarterly functions, whether the extras are worth the effort, and so on. I think it's pretty neat but would welcome views from members.

Malcolm, I'm surprised no one has chimed in yet.  I said it before, and I'll say it again, the online Quarterly experience and functionality is AWESOME. I'm an outspoken critic of poorly designed software, but I can say unequivocally that the NARGS/NXTBOOK.COM implementation of online books is superb, so easy, intuitive and highly functional; I have no complaints whatsoever. In fact, the online experience is preferred (by me) for a number of reasons; I can set full page view, then a single click to zoom in to see enlarged photos (larger & sharper than printed version) or much larger text (better for these aging eyes), pan and zoom at will, another click to return to normal full page view, easily jump to another article or page, peruse the NARGS Advertisers where the links to each advertisers are live! Many other online book reading, bookmarking, and searching features, make the experience superior to the physical publication, I would gladly opt for receiving the quarterly publication online-only, if such an option existed.

And, what's not to like about extra content; great to see the additional Photo Contest entries, memorable plant and scenery portraits that deserve viewing! The Chaetanthera spathulifolia photo-scene is spectacular, would've been my first choice pick; but then contrasted with a vastly different location, the austere setting of coastal New Foundland capturing Rhodiola rosea, the impression is equally compelling.  I could rattle on about all the runner-up photos, but you all will just have to view these online yourselves.

And then there's the Rock Garden Quarterly itself; quarterly after quarterly the quality and interest of artcles and photos continues to impress.  As a huge fan of rosulate violets (who doesn't marvel at these extreme and remarkable manefestations derived from common pedestrian violets known to all gardeners), this edition offered up a double-header, a fascinating account of finding the connection between rosulate violets and regular violets (the rosulate-transitional species rarely if ever depicted), and an account of new species Viola beckeriana, allied to V. dasyphylla, two outstanding beauties.  The balance between many other topics is quite welcome and refreshing.  I read with some interest on Penstemon haydeni, the very rare "blowout penstemon", a species that I actually received seed of back in the 1980s (when I lived in Seattle, WA area for 4 years) as part of an effort to get this rare species in the hands of growers.  I found the species very easy to grow and flower in sand beds, and that it rooted easily too.  Too bad efforts to re-establish the plant in the wild have not met with success; ironic too, that seed of the species is not allowed to be distributed in a seed exchange even if garden grown.  Wish I still had the plant, but most all plant possessions at the time were given up to nurseries when I moved residence a couple times (moving back to New England). But I digress, it is this type of diverse NARGS Quarterly information that resonates with its readers, it certainly does for me.

Well done Malcolm, and everyone connected with producing the NARGS Rock Garden Quarterly! :o :o :o

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Booker
Booker's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-30

... And hearty congratulations to Mark for putting many of my thoughts and opinions onto paper (and without me having to twitch a solitary muscle).  Both the physical Quarterly and the online version are way ahead of their time and everyone involved should be congratulated and thanked in equal measures.  Excellent in every way.

Cliff Booker A.K.A. Ranunculus
On the moors in Lancashire, U.K.
Usually wet, often windy, sometimes cold ... and that's just me!

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

As it turns out, the utility of having online versions of Rock Garden Quarterlies (RGQ) available, was recently emphasized.  I was in hospital for two days after prostate surgery (attention rock gardeners: I'm talking about prostate, not prostrate ;)).  When my wife visited, she brought me the newly arrived Spring 2013 RGQ, how thoughtful!  However, my real focus was on having adequate morphine and sleeping, so I barely looked at the journal ;).  Packing up to go home, using a large plastic bag to hold one's clothing and belongings, my wife put the Quarterly inside, as well as a nifty water/drinking jug and other sundries.  The jug was not empty and leaked, the quarterly is now badly warped and crinkled.  

But that's ok, I actually prefer reading the journal online better.  It has been interesting having both physical copies and access to online versions, with which to compare. I've seen enough of both, and convinced I don't need to receive physical copies any more.

Some (many?) NARGS Members might fall into the category of being Luddites (one who fears technology), thus probably not making good use of this superb technological advance and benefit of NARGS membership.  And it probably wont improve unless the situation is incentivised (Peter, are you reading this, I know you've probably already kicked around the following idea).  Why not develop two levels of NARGS Membership, offering a discount to those who agree NOT to receive physical RGQ.  Heck, I would opt out of physical copies even without a discount, but we hear so often that the small annual dues (dirt cheap in my opinion) is too high and unaffordable, then for those folks, maybe pealing back the membership cost by several dollars will be enough.

I don't know about you, but I well imagine most of you reading this have overflowing bookcases and wall to ceiling shelves with decades of plant society publications.  I'm at a point in my life, where I want to reduce the clutter, and as well, gain easier access to the information contained in these small publications.  The trajectory that NARGS is on to make scanned digital versions of journals, both past and present, searchable content, complete indices of articles, authors and keywords, etc., is the way to go.  A number of times I've tried going back to old journals, whether they be ARGS/NARGS, AGS, SRGC, ARS, and a litany of others, and it is truly difficult finding the odd bits of information one searches for, embracing technology is the way to go.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

IMYoung
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-31

In the SRGC we are about to introduce an "online" membership subscription, just as Mark suggests, where members will be able to opt for a reduced cost electronic sub. where the Journal is only available online, no postal implication to this subscription at all.

Ian  and/or Margaret Young ( -here it is usually Margaret)

Aberdeen , North East Scotland, UK
Zone 8a

www.srgc.net

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

IMYoung wrote:

In the SRGC we are about to introduce an "online" membership subscription, just as Mark suggests, where members will be able to opt for a reduced cost electronic sub. where the Journal is only available online, no postal implication to this subscription at all.

Excellent.  What % savings is realized by opting for digital-only subscription?

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

IMYoung
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-31

Electronic sub. will be introduced at a £10 flat rate, Mark.
E-members will  eligible for the seed ex. but will  only pay for that at the time.

Ian  and/or Margaret Young ( -here it is usually Margaret)

Aberdeen , North East Scotland, UK
Zone 8a

www.srgc.net

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Thanks Maggi, I envision the £10 flat rate as being very popular.  My goodness joining these fine plant organizations is a bargain!

Trying to get a handle on percentage reduction in sub cost, I see from SRGC.NET current Subscription Rates for single member £16 UK / £22 Overseas.  I'm assuming since electronic subscription "levels the playing field, so to speak", eliminating associated printing/mailing costs, the organization has come up with a the flat rate whether UK or Overseas, is my assumption correct?  Also if I may ask, do the original £16 / £22 subs include seed ex., or do those subs also charge separately for that benefit?

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

Whew, change is in the air! I agree very much about being able to view the Quarterly online and those extra photos are really nice to see. But I wouldn't be without my paper copies of the Quarterly, the AGS Journal or SRGC, even though my bookshelves are groaning. There is still something about reading paper copy and having accumulated this over time. I wouldn't agree with Mark about the difficulty searching for what you are looking for - the AGS Index for example is pretty good and I use it to trigger interest in plants and people I already know quite a bit about, but this a more historical perspective. I am probably not disciplined enough when it comes to online research. To what extent does an online publication encourage members to write for it? Perhaps more would do so, but also more and more people have their own blogs and websites and so don't contribute to plant societies as they might have done previously.

The articles by John Watson and Anita Flores are simply wonderful and to have someone write for the Quarterly like this, like Mark says, gives a great balance - like a really good book you save up the time to read properly and enjoy.

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.
 

IMYoung
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-31

McDonough wrote:

Thanks Maggi, I envision the £10 flat rate as being very popular.  My goodness joining these fine plant organizations is a bargain!

Trying to get a handle on percentage reduction in sub cost, I see from SRGC.NET current Subscription Rates for single member £16 UK / £22 Overseas.  I'm assuming since electronic subscription "levels the playing field, so to speak", eliminating associated printing/mailing costs, the organization has come up with a the flat rate whether UK or Overseas, is my assumption correct?  Also if I may ask, do the original £16 / £22 subs include seed ex., or do those subs also charge separately for that benefit?

Meantime the UK payment is excluding the cost of the the seed ex and the overseas rate includes the seed ex.

Ian  and/or Margaret Young ( -here it is usually Margaret)

Aberdeen , North East Scotland, UK
Zone 8a

www.srgc.net

IMYoung
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-31

Tim wrote:

To what extent does an online publication encourage members to write for it? Perhaps more would do so, but also more and more people have their own blogs and websites and so don't contribute to plant societies as they might have done previously.

Some folk may be less inclined to write for ANY journal if they are "blogging" but I am not aware that people are intrinsically less inclined  or need more persuasion to write for an online publication.

We in the SRGC, as with NARGS, have no wish to cease the paper publication of our quality journal.
I would hope that the chance to have one's work read by a possible audience of many tens of thousands rather than the restricted number of a paper journal, would be enticement enough.
(edit to clarify:  initially the most recent online journals will be restricted to subscribers but  n turn they will be posted to the open section of the website, where there are already Nos 1 to 125 of the SRGC journal available to download. A full index is there too. This is all part of the SRGC commitment to share information, as per our stated charitable aims)  

What is the print run of the AGS bulletin, for instance? The claim is for the largest alpine society and the number is probably around 5000, given the subscription income listed -  these are numbers that pale into insignificance for  open access online publications.  The "traffic" generated by the Bulb Log and the IRG  on the SRGC site is tremendous - this achieves our aim of communicating with as  many people as possible about these fascinating plants- and we hope with an electronic subscription that we can provide an option to support the club and access the "paper" journals to a much wider audience.

MY

Ian  and/or Margaret Young ( -here it is usually Margaret)

Aberdeen , North East Scotland, UK
Zone 8a

www.srgc.net

Pages

Log in or register to post comments