Wilkerson, Richard Catlett (Summer, 1998). Exploring Through Metaphors: The Public Digital Dream Library. The Association for the Study of Dreams Cyberphile. Dream Time 15 (1).
Also, notes on psychology and the use of the Internet.

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Digital Dreaming  
Richard Catlett Wilkerson

In this issue the Cyberphile will cover the exciting online projects at ASD, provide an update on the Dream Web from the viewpoint of Net-as-Library and add some notes concerning therapy, dreams and the Internet.

ASD Web Projects: Community of Wisdom

The www.ASDreams.org bulletin board may sound like a rather dry topic to those of you who haven't visited us, but the BB is really a hopping place where people from around the world discuss topics in dreams and dreaming. Often the board is a person's first contact ASD. Dream researchers can get the message out to others here and theorists can discuss their latest notions and ideas. This is a place to interact with folks you have met at conferences and maintain contact with other ASD members between conference. If you are interested in educating the public on dreams and dreaming, please stop by and post a few replies and comments. We would especially like to have the researchers visit and answer some of the students questions on the science of dreaming. If you are an anthropologist or sociologist, you might use the board to discuss topics in dreaming with researchers from other countries. If you are a therapist, you might give us some guidelines on how to be supportive of other's questions & concerns about dreams without getting involved in personal issues or interpretive acts.

The online bookshop has more than just books. Get special tee-shirts, videos, mugs and dream-catchers while supporting dream education. If you have ideas about what you would like to see in the bookstore, send in a list.

Have you ever wanted to see a review of the articles in Dreaming or see a discussion of the topics? Don Kuiken has provided us with an experimental project where this happened. You can see the comments and Raija-Leena Punamäki replies at the Discussion Group Archive.(1)

Request to All ASD members: If you can send in a short description of your favorite dream and dreaming related projects to me via e-mail or snail mail, I will have a better idea of how the ASD Web might be able to assist and support your interests. From research, to establishing educational programs to creating regional ASD meetings, the www.ASDreams.org site may be able to assist you. Send your summaries to rcwilk@dreamgate.com or send to my physical address(2)

Get your project listed! Do you conduct dream research and need dreams or participants? As part of the new ASD member's benefit program, you can have a research page with your own Web address. Please include contact information and a public mailing address if you don't have an e-mail address, as well as the relevant information you want us to put on the Web for you. Whether you are looking for subjects for an empirical experiment or simply need dreams of clocks going backwards for an article you are writing, the Dream Research Request site will further your project.

For the latest scoop on current and past projects be sure to visit the What's New? page. Here you locate the latest online projects and watch the Web site grow.

Be an online volunteer! Whether your interests and talents are in discussing dream topics with the public or in organizing, programming or public relations, the www.ASDreams.org site could use your help. Our volunteer program allows you to learn about the Internet while you contribute to the site in this exciting new area.

Dream Web Update: Exploring Through Metaphors

The most common metaphors that are applied to the Internet include the Net as a library, as a marketplace, as a communication channel and as a virtual world. Mark Stefik has expanded upon these metaphors to explore the various ways we see the Internet unfolding in his 1996 Internet Dreams.(3) These same metaphors may be used to explore online dream arenas providing images or snapshots of understanding more useful than just listing new web sites. In this issue, the guiding metaphor will be the digital library.

The Public Digital Dream Library. One of the most common Net metaphors is that of the Internet as library. In this view, the idea is to bring a vast amount of information online, providing easy access and intelligent cross referencing. One can now access university book and periodical systems like GLADYS and MELVL for general bibliographic research, but you still need to go to the physical library building to read the materials. In the field of dreams, we have specialized bibliography projects(4), books and articles online(5), personal dream journals(6) and the beginning of multi-media collections and presentations.(7) ASD is in the process of bringing more material online from past issues of our newsletter and journal Dreaming. The Dream Network Journal(8) now has a bibliography of all the past articles, with a few of these articles available online. Linda Magallon(9) has provided a mutual dreaming & psychic dreaming dream bibliography, and Jill Gregory(10) has specialized bibliographies online, such as children's books using dreams and book suggestions for various aged readers. Up and coming are Henry Reed's Sundance Journal(11) and Jayne Gackenbach's Lucidity Journal.(12). The Lucidity Institute(19) has also provided a wide variety of articles and made them available to the Net.

The point is not so much how fast we can scan this material in and put it online. The technology is readily available. The struggle is in knowing how much to just give away and how much to withhold. We are still confused about what the new boundaries are for publishing, for selling, for making public repositories and how to develop standards which assure relevancy. When the cost of printing (ink & paper, distribution, storage) disappears, what is the role of the bookstore, or the point of a library? As John Browning(13) worries, if we now all have to pay to get online access to information directly from the publisher, what happens to the role of the library in providing information to those who can't afford to buy all these books and journals? For right now, the general quality of an online publication may be lower and disappear overnight. Publishing is cheaper, but the cost of being online can be expensive and exclusive. With digital reproduction, there will no longer be late fees and library fines, so the digital libraries will have to seek new ways to fund themselves.

If you have ever tried to use one of the popular online search sites like Yahoo or AltaVista to find the resource you need, you probably know what a difficult and sometimes pointless task it is to find what you want on the Internet. There are too many references and little quality control. Advertisements for books and the books themselves are given the same listing. Imagine going to a library, looking up a book and then when you get to the shelf, there is an order form to buy the book! It may be that the Digital Library will shift less into a ~place~ to find things than a ~metaphor~ of locating things. Listings of books and articles could be clearly separated from summaries, abstracts and advertisements for those same books. The New York Public Library might become more a designation of quality and content rather than just a system of buildings to visit.

The reference librarian's role will continue to expand. As a metaphor of intelligent cross referencing, the digital reference librarians will be cyborgs. These are not the dreaded bee-hive minded Borgs of Sci-Fi, but technologically expanded humans with extended capabilities. Just as our jaw is a technological extension, so too the Internet extends our range and scope. Hopefully we will also learn to extend our relevancy. At ASD we are experimenting with various referencing methods. We are using traditional lists of our resources, as well as providing search machines, links and a bulletin board service where questions & answers can be posted and conversations can be conducted. This is not only an extension of the phone and letters-reply system that has been handled by the ASD central office for years, but the development of the library as a ~place~. ASD presently limits these Q&A to very general questions about dreams and dreaming, but there is hope of extending and deepening our online response in the FAQ Project(14) I mentioned in the last Cyberphile, a collection of frequently asked questions and a variety of responses. ASD members with Web sites can help by paying closer attention to the keywords that are in scripted in each Web page. If you don't know how to generate the HTML tags for this, there are sites(15) that will do this for you.

There are some other interactive resources online for answering questions on dreams and dreaming. I've mentioned in previous Dream Time issues the work of the Electric Dreams community(16) which continues to provide online dream news and resources for those interested in dream sharing. Charles McPhee(17) has been providing a free question and answer service for nearly three years and gives general advice as well as providing tips on using dreams to enhance one's self-knowledge and life condition. Ann Klein's(18) site also offers comments on dreams. The pay-services and program response services I'll cover in another article. The issue here is how the public library metaphor and particularly the reference librarian role is being developed in Cyberspace.

Interlinked & Personal Dream Libraries. One of the hopes of the digital library system is to have many or all of the libraries interlinked. Since dream libraries are few and far between, we are relying at this point on simple linking systems. These link smaller personal collections with potentially larger collections via annotated hyperlinks. Thus the personal journal links may include individual dream journals as well sites like Cynthia Pearson's Dream Journalist.(19) Or Stephen Laberge's Lucidity Institute site(20) which can be linked with various individual accounts of lucidity and discussion groups. However, this form of indexing will soon become too large to manage. The options being explored are special search engines often referred to as knowbots.(21) This technology will allow the individual researcher to refine a search so that the relevant parameters can be passed from one library to another. If I want all the texts on lucid dreaming that have research using MRI scans, the knowbot will visit the various sites and generate a report for me that might include not only peer reviewed publications, but conversations on Usenet and conference abstracts between 1996 and 1999. Eventually the knowbots will get to know us just like our local reference librarian and be able to refer us to new materials in our interest area, to give us daily, weekly or quarterly updates and if this material is in a foreign language, it will translate it for us. Out of my mind? Well, I just yesterday was looking for some information on the Senoi and came across a page http://wwwusers.imaginet.fr/~ghibelli/revue.html which was completely in French. So I stopped by http://babelfish.altavista.digital.com/cgi-bin/translate? and dropped the URL in the translator which produced a readable translation in about five seconds. I was recently at an online bookstore which remembered my having visited recently and suggested several books that were in my interest area. The friendly knowbot is just around the corner.

Dream Research Surveys. It is still very difficult to get people to participate in surveys and other queries that last longer than thirty seconds. The most successful have used a wide variety of approaches which I have expanded upon at the DreamGate Cyber-Dream Reference Library.(22) Briefly, the process includes using as many of these options as you can select here: 1. Set up a web site with the appropriate indexing and register the site with as many search engines as possible. 2. Post the survey or a link to the survey to the appropriate Usenet Newsgroups and Web bulletin boards. 3. Get the word out to the online dream magazines, newsletters and announcement services. 4. Tell people on appropriate e-mail discussion lists about your project.

These surveys are proliferating, so it is important to follow all the above recommendations. Peggy Coats and I have tried to further these surveys through the Global Dreaming News.(23) After publication, they are archived at Peggy's DreamTree Research Page.(24) At last count I saw over 40 surveys! If there are any of you who might be interested in participating, please stop by and read the questionnaires. Two new surveys I noticed are the Gayle Delaney sexual dreaming survey(25) and the Pat Kampmeier fish, worm & wolf survey(26). I point them out as examples of more sophisticated approaches that use a specialized form to process the information rather than requesting the participants to e-mail the survey. But your survey needn't be so sophisticated work as most people prefer using e-mail anyway.

Ways to participate in the Digital Dream Library. The first action is to get the material online you feel might benefit others without drastically reducing your own income. If have your own web site, be sure to send an annotated link to ASD and to put a link on your site to ASD. Be clear about what is actually there, and what is an advertisement.

If you have material you would like to share with the public, but don't have access or interests in programming and web design, there are many projects to help you. If you submit material to Dream Time, be sure to include a permission for online publication. You can post small articles and resource lists on the ASD Bulletin Board. The Electric Dreams community will publish just about anything on dreams in an monthly electronic magazine that is then archived on the Net. I would also recommend going to the ASD links page and looking up the topic area you want to submit in and contacting via email any of the web site managers in that area. If you have an article or resources on lucid dreaming, for example, you may want to check with the Lucidity Institute or one of the many sites on Lucid Dreaming which will often welcome new or old material and put this material up just for the asking.

Volunteering a few minutes answering questions on the ASD bulletin board will help build a community of knowledge in dreams and dreaming. If you don't like the Web but do like e-mail, you can still volunteer to answer questions we get on dreams and dreaming and these answers can eventually be gathered into a larger knowledge database.

My hope is that the ASD web site will be regarded in the future as more than a repository of information. I see it as evolving into a virtual orb of dream wisdom that can be conjured from any connected spot on earth. A kind of dream village where every child and adult on the Internet can get the sense of our unique community as well as our knowledge and experience.

Notes on Dreams and Therapy in Cyberspace

Although I have not been directly involved with the cyberpsychology movement, I have watched the developments with some interest. For those of you interested in this area, you may want to contact two ASD members, Jayne Gackenbach and Don Kuiken, both of which have been involved in developing Internet and Psychology classes and seminars.

Very little research is available in this area regarding dreams. The notable piece of work I've mentioned before is John Herbert's(27) comparison of dream groups conducted online and offline where he finds an increase in intuitive satisfaction with online groups and more emotional satisfaction in offline groups. Jeremy Taylor's(28) work has also been noted.

It is my feeling that the general issues of therapy in Cyberspace will also apply or at least be relevant to therapy that involves dreams. The legitimacy, standards and legal side of all this are now being brought together and discussed at The International Society for Mental Health Online (ISMHO) (29) which has been formed "promote the understanding, use and development of online communication, information and technology for the international mental health community." The Society also explores and promotes discussion and projects in research online, therapy online, groups online, and resources.

The specifics of computer mediated therapy and resources are being developed and discussed by a variety of channels outside of ISMHO as well, including e-mail discussion lists, electric & traditional periodicals, web sites and traditionally published books. I have placed a fuller list of these at the Cyberpsychology Resources Site(30). Here I just wanted to point out that there are many new journals, books, societies and discussion lists. Some, like the MFTC-L e-mail list cover Marriage and Family Therapy Counseling. The Virtpsy e-mail list discusses all aspects of psychology in cyberspace. The MHN Research List focuses on research and ethics related to online therapy.

The researchers themselves are beginning to build web sites related to their field of study. Storm King's Web site contains a wide collection of issues related with psychology and the Internet. John Suler's site offers virtual research and considerations for therapists working with dreams and other content. Martha Ainsworth has a very complete site concerning online therapy with ratings.

I have also included on the resource site a collection of books and articles in this area. Here are two critical articles: Sampson, J., Kolodinsky, R. W. & Greeno, B. P. (1997). Counseling on the

information Highway: Future possibilities and potential problems. Journal of Counseling and Development, 75, 203-211 and King, S.A., Poulos, S. T. & Engi, S. (1998). Using the Internet to assist family therapy. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 26,

1, 43-52.

Next Issue: Dreams Sites that defy categories. As the Internet transitions from its first educational and experimental launch in the early 1990's to its now hyper-real virtual space of intense free market positioning, so too have the dreaming projects. However, venture capitalists in dreams tend to discover that dreams are a difficult commodity to sell. As anyone who has tried to make a profession of dreams outside of psychotherapy or sleep research has found, dreams resist commodification. I might even be tempted to speculate that the financial haul of the latest movie box office hit made more money in one weekend than all the commercial, therapeutic and research groups combined since the Interpretation of Dreams in 1900. Still, some wonderful dream sites have been constructed with defy and combine the simple metaphors of marketplace, library, communication medium and virtual community. If you can't wait, be sure to check out the ASD What's New page on www.ASDreams.org

If you have comments or suggestions for future Cyberphiles, drop me a line at rcwilk@dreamgate.com or join us for an extended discussion on the ASD bulletin board.


1. Discussion Group Archive - www.asdreams.org/journal/index.htm

2. Richard Wilkerson, 4644 Geary Blvd STE 171, San Francisco, CA, 94118

3. Stefik, Mark (1996 ). Internet Dreams: Archetypes, Myths and Metaphors. Cambridge MA.: MIT Press.

4. Dream Bibliography Project- See DreamGate's collection www.dreamgate.com/dream/bibs

5. Dream Books and Articles - See ASD Links www.ASDreams.org/links.htm

6. Personal Dream Journals - See Electric Dreams www.dreamgate.com/dream/resources/

7. Dream Multi-media - See for example the ASD Art Gallery www.ASDreams.org

8. Dream Network Journal - http://dreamnetwork.net/

9. Linda Magallon's Psychic Bib http://members.aol.com/DreamPsi/archive/

10. The Dream Library & Archive http://members.aol.com/dreammzzz/jillhome.htm

11. Sundance Journal - www.starbuck.net/henryreed/

12. Lucidity Letter - www.sawka.com/spiritwatch/

13. Browning, John (1993). What is the role of libraries in the information economy? Wired Magazine www.wired.com/wired/1.1/features/libraries.html

14. The FAQ Project - Frequently Asked Questions - www.ASDreams.org/faq/

15. META TAG Generator - http://vancouver-webpages.com/VWbot/mk-metas.html

16. Electric Dreams community - www.dreamgate.com/electric-dreams

17. Ask the Dream Doctor - www.dreamdoctor.com

18. Interactive Dreaming - www.dreamcd.com/

19. Dream Journalist - www.nauticom.net/www/netcadet/

20. Lucidity Institute - www.lucidity.com/

21. Kahn, Robert E. and Cerf, Vinton E. (1988) The Digital Library Project, Volume 1: The World of Knowbots. A technical report by the Corporation for National Research Initiatives.

22. DreamGate Reference Library - www.dreamgate.com/dream/library/

23. Global Dreaming News - www.dreamtree.com/News/global.htm

24. DreamTree Research - www.dreamtree.com/Works/research.htm

25. Sexual Dreaming - www.gdelaney.com/survey.htm

26. Kampmeier Survey - www.dreamgate.com/dream/kampmeier/

27. John Herbert - http://members.aol.com/john0417/HuSci/Greet.html

28. Jeremey Taylor - www.jeremytaylor.com/cyberdreamwork.htm

29. ISMHO - www.cmhc.com/mlists/ismho/

30. Cyberpsych - www.dreamgate.com/cyberpsych/cpbib98.htm

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