MTO Editor's Message (3/20/95)

WWW: The main Event!

Since the World-Wide Web (WWW) made its debut around three years ago, the number of private, commercial, and non-commercial Web sites has grown prodigiously to more than 10,000. One projection puts the number at 40,000 sites by the end of this year (Internet World, April 1995, p. 4). A survey of MTO subscribers last year indicated that many were already using the Web, and some others anticipated being able to use it soon. Though Web users and hopefuls were not in the majority at the time, presumably many more subscribers have by now begun to explore the Web with one of the several available "browsers" (Mosaic, Netscape, WinWeb, MacWe b, Cello, and others).

Our First Steps

This issue of MTO (1.2) marks an initial step into the WWW arena, by providing access to MTO items through the Web server that has been established on the SMT Networking host, boethius. Those who use the Web may acess MTO through the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) The MTO "page" has links to all the current and past MTO items. Those who are interested may want to take a look at the boethius "page" (, which includes a link to the MTO page.

The Designers

The main people behind MTO's Web plunge are Robert Judd, MTO Manager, and Christopher Pitchford, MTO Editorial Assistant, who designed and developed the pages. We are indebted to Judd and Pitchford for the many hours they have spent preparing MTO for Web access.

Getting it Right...

Web users should keep in mind that our pages are still under development. They have been tested as far as possible, but some "bugs" may turn up as subscribers with different browsers try out the URLs. Please be patient. To help us resolve problems and improve our pages, please report difficulties and send suggestions to Judd (

Future Possibilities

In addition to allowing easier access to electronic texts, WWW opens up the possibility of going far beyond plain text documents through formatting in HTML, the HyperText Markup Language. With HTML, documents can include special character formatting (e.g. bold, italics, underlining, different sized fonts for titles and headings), as well as paragraph formatting (e.g. centering, numbered lists, block quotes). Further, HTML texts may include links to other texts, graphical images, audio files, and even film clips, potentially turning a text into a hypertextual multimedia document. These capabilities are the main attractions of the Web, and are made possible through HTML itself, and through Web browsers, which interpret HTML codes and display the texts accordingly.

Getting Started on the Web

To the unitiated, HTML, with all of its power, may seem quite complicated. In fact, it is not. After a short tutorial, most can create simple documents with HTML. This is especially true with the growing number of available HTML editors (for Macs, IBM/DOS and Windows, Unix). Getting hold of a Web browser, getting it configured and running has become easier as well. In the coming months, the MTO staff will be preparing documentation on how to get started with the Web and HTML. Rather than wait for us to catch up, subscribers may prefer to buy one of the many books now available in computer sections of many bookstores.

After reading this far about the virtues of the Web and HTML, subscribers may be disappointed to learn that this issue's items are not multimedia documents, with specially formatted texts and integrated graphics. The new boethius and MTO URLs are so far our only examples of HTML documents. All of the actual MTO items are plain text documents. In the future, as our staff becomes more fluent with HTML, and as authors begin to prepare their contributions with it, MTO will become increasingly a multi- media journal. In order not to exclude subscribers who may not have access to the Web, we will continue to provide plain text versions of all documents, retrievable through mto-serv, the MTO FileServer, FTP, and gopher.


Our new forum, mto-talk, for discussing items published in MTO, has been tremendously successful. Unfortunately, just as the exchanges on various topics got under way, the current SMT Networking host (at Harvard) had major, unanticipated problems. The difficulties seem now to have been resolved, and normal service will resume on March 20.

Claire Boge, the Manager of mto-talk (, had to learn the "ropes" of managing a mailing list in a short time and has done an outstanding job. The problems with the Harvard Internet host did not make for an easy start. Even amid the pressures, during the service outage she went to the extra trouble of compiling five digests for subscribers, so that everyone would be up to date on the main discussion threads: responses to John Rothgeb's article on the Tristan Chord, Fourier analysis, and Post-structuralism, the last topic an outgrowth of Adam Krims's essay in MTO 0.11.

The MTO staff is very pleased at the success of the journal's companion discussion forum. We encourage your continued active participation.

Closing Word

There's a fascinating, colorful, hypertextual multimedia world awaiting you on the Web. If your institution provides the necessary equipment and software, read up on the Web and give it a try. If you do not have access, or are unsure, ask your local computing services for information about becoming Web-capable. MTO will no doubt develop gradually toward becoming a multimedia journal. We hope our subscribers will develop with us so that they can enjoy a publication that delivers high-quality scholarly research in a modern technological environment.

Lee Rothfarb, General Editor, Music Theory Online


Updated 03 July 2013
Brent Yorgason