Wilkerson, Richard Catlett (Fall, 1996.) ASD bulletin board and computer presence at the 1996 ASD conference The Association for the Study of Dreams Newsletter 13(3).
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Richard Catlett Wilkerson

In this issue the Cyberphile focuses on the ASD Bulletin Board and salutes the pioneering efforts of the dozens of volunteers who contributed to the ASD Computer and Internet programs.

Conference XIII and the Internet

The 1996 ASD Computer and Internet program brought together both technical and non- technical dream concerned individuals and groups from around the world to show that computers are not so much about being interested in machines but really about people connecting with people. In keeping with the innovative and diverse programs ASD continues to offer the world, the 1996 Computer Hub opened a door to the new millennium and gave us a peek at the future of communications in online dreams and dreaming.

Projects included dream inspired art galleries online, global research venues for data collection, never guessed at ways of sharing dreams, fabulous new designs for the collection, recording and searching of dream content, international networking opportunities and wonderful new environments for discussing theory & ideas.

Many of these projects will continue though the year on the permanent ASD Web site, while others are expected to change from year to year as the Internet shifts and new communication channels morph into new forms. The seeds have been planted that will grow in every area of dream study. Whatever we decide to keep or not keep, the foundations have now been laid for future conferences to use computers & the Internet to enhance & expand any conference's informational, educational, ideational and presentational base.

What's left now the Conference is over?

Did you miss this part of the conference in all the other wonderful programs? You can still view the report on conference XIII and Cyberspace and use the report as a Learning Guide for investigations on how to use the Internet for research on dreams and dreaming, for learning about the history of dreamwork on the Net and for seeing a variety of creative ways that networkers, artists, writers and others are using the Net with dreams and dreaming.
For the Online version of the report, point your Web Browsers to:

The ASD Web Site Update & the World Wide Web

There are several new areas on our site which I'd like to mention, but I particularly would like to focus on the Bulletin Board and encourage you to participate.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Internet, a Web site is a collection of linked documents that are permanently available (as long as the rent is paid) to the public through the Internet on the World Wide Web and linked together in a rich tapestry of conceptual ideas and images. What this means is that any part of a document can be hyperlinked to any other part of any other document on the Web. And, not just our documents but any document. For example, if this article were on the Web, it could be coded so that by selecting *this* word you could jump to the top of this article, or to the first article in this newsletter, to an article in a newsletter 5 years ago, or even to an article in another journal put out by another organization. The direction of the links are decided when the document is first typed up and coded, but can easily be changed. This is hyperlinking.

When several documents are held together conceptually, like the ASD Web site, the effect is like going into a building or home that has rooms. Each page is its own room and you can enter other rooms via the links on the page. There can be thousands of links on a page, but typically there are less than a dozen, unless the page has an index.

Now these rooms, these pages on the Web, can also be constructed so you can leave text and pictures as well as see them and copy them. The most popular way to do this is a Bulletin Board style environment. In a Bulletin Board room you can scan down a list of topics and if interested reply to the topic heading right there while you are reading the post on your computer via the Internet. And of even more interest, you can comment on other people's replies. This creates a topic thread that may be hundreds of messages deep, though it is typically less than a dozen. Its just like finding a note on a bulletin board at a college and leaving notes behind the original. And just like this college bulletin board, you can post new topics just as easily as responding to old topics.

Note: Traditionally on the Net, Bulletin Boards are called Newsgroups. What? Because there are places off the Internet that you can call up locally on your computer and get information that are called Bulletin Boards, and they have a coalition and network of thousands around the world and are not part of the Internet. When the Usenet network began setting up message boards on the Internet they decided to call them newsgroups to avoid confusion. These Usenet newsgroups eventually connected with the Internet and there are thousands of them, still called newsgroups even though they look and act like what we would usually call a bulletin board. Now that the World Wide Web is beginning to have its own message boards, the term Bulletin Board is being used more often in its generic sense as it seems to make sense to newer users of the Internet, so now we are all confused. Just note that 1. When you hear "message board" or "newsgroup" they mean a bulletin board style of posting, and 2. When you use the word "Bulletin Board" your listener may understand this to mean the local dial up non-Internet services.

The ASD bulletin board. Have you ever wanted to discuss your dream project with a group of ASD members but its only November and the Conference is nearly a year away? Have you ever been reading an article or book on dreams and dreaming and wanted to comment in a public place about the book or to the author? Jayne Gackenbach and her wonderful crew have put one of these interactive message boards on the ASD web site and it is now being used for the discussion of dreaming ideas, projects, questions, concerns and proposals. While many of us have been using the board for international communications and discussion of recent topics, it is still relatively unknown and so I wanted to focus on the board this issue and not only explain what it is, but how to use it.

How to get to the ASD Bulletin Board. Do you have a Web Browser? If not, you will need to ask your sever. All major commercial servers now have Web Browsers, including AOL, Compuserve, Prodigy and MSN. Most colleges and universities that give you accounts on the Internet provide you with a web browser. Many public libraries now provide computers connected to the Internet and provide you with World Wide Web connections, usually through a text browser called LYNX. A web browser is simple a software program that allows one to travel on the World Wide Web and looks and acts much like a word processor. The difference is that you can call up files from around the world instead of just on your own computer and the files are linked together.

Once you have a browser and start it up while connected to the Internet, it will ask you for an address, what is called a URL or Universal Resource Locator. Since the ASD Bulletin Board is on our Homepage, you simple type in:


One of the options will be Discussions, and one of the Discussion options will be the Bulletin Board.

Once in the bulletin board, you will see a page full of postings, each an organized discussion on topics including nightmares and children, astronauts and dreaming, the dangers of dream sharing online, proposals on the collection of dream bibliographies, queries for dream book discussions, places to put your updated e-mail addresses for other ASD members and much, much more. Be sure to add a topic to the bulletin board that interests you and stop back once a week to see the replies and add new comments.

For those of you with research projects, this is a place to post and collect either subjects or data, discuss your projects as in a poster session with other researchers and find support for future research. As a SPECIAL BONUS, there is an article on the bulletin board right now on conducting dream research on the Internet, which in itself is worth learning how to use a Web browser and visiting our message board.

Other ASD Web Events and Projects

For those of you who are less verbally oriented, be sure to see the ASD Dream Art Gallery, which contains beautiful graphics of many of the pieces submitted to the July show at the Claremont. The ASD Web also has added to the article collection and now has some real treasures for your reading pleasure.

Next issue the Dream Guide to the Internet continues, with updates on all the new programs that now becoming available on the Internet in dreams and dreaming, how to find them and how to reference them in bibliographies. If you have questions on dreaming and the Net you would like addressed, send them to Richard Wilkerson

This article may be slightly altered from its original form on the ASD Newsletter to conform to Web Format.