Jane Dorner
Jane Dorner

Press Articles Samples

Here are some sample opening paragraphs:

The Times
The Guardian
Financial Times
Sunday Times
Reader's Digest
New Scientist
Times Higher Educational Supplement
The Strad

Future Perfect for Girls

The Times (8.1.99)
It is 2011 and Sam and Samantha are taking the re-introduced 11-plus – it’s not called that, of course; it’s called the National Achievement Probe (NAP). It is set and marked by computer. Pocket organisers and personal Internet bookmarks are allowed during the examination because it doesn’t matter what you know, but how quickly you know where to find it.


Look at the homework my computer did, Miss

The Times (8.1.99)
The cut-and-paste of technology makes homework fun. And startlingly easy. But there’s a concern that young people access information on the Internet or CD-ROM and present it back as homework without any internal processing. Teachers call it click-print.

Fear prefaces a new chapter in publishing

The Guardian (10.1.92)
Late Christmas shoppers were able to buy a biography of John Major that was delivered to Bloomsbury on Monday and published by Friday. This astonishing feat could only be achieved through a happy triumvirate of author, publisher and enhanced word-processor. Picture the happy scene: author, John Jenkin, scans Press Association cuttings into his Macintosh using Intermedia, while the publisher offers advice and support on editing and pagination. They've spent the weekend leaning over the flickering screen together; what's delivered on Monday is a book of Press articles in camera-ready pages. An instant book with little need for writing.

If this were a typical story, authors would be rejoicing - or would they? This kind of technological magic has repercussions discussed in a survey on authorship and information technology which I am previewing next week (15 January) at a seminar on technology at the British Library's Centre for the Book. The survey shows that though computer resources offer challenging opportunities to writers and publishers - new media and new techniques - few have had the vision to exploit them. If anything, the authors are the technocrats; the publishers the technophobes. Only an exceptional lure brings the two together in a flow of automatic text arranging.
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The limitations of computer prose

Financial Times (14.7.92)
Word-processing producers are getting over-ambitious. It's not enough to offer inventive features to make the mechanics of writing easier, they are now going to give us English-lessons-online. Already half-a-dozen of the top word-processors have built-in grammar-checkers, and this half-year has seen a whole sweep of pop-up packages for polishing prose. Computer programs now aim to help those in business produce good, structured and accurate writing.

The theory is that there are identifiable writing stages and software can make them easier. The first stage is to run some brainstorming software to help spawn the idea, followed by a writer's block evader to get over the fear of the blank screen. The next stage is to scan the business writing advice programs, the good letter-writing templates, the report-writing skeletons or the random plot-generators to find a fitting structure. Then start writing. If stuck for a word, a spicy quote or suitable general knowledge, the requisite TSR dictionary can insert it into the text at the drop of a key button. Also available for quick reference are thesauri, multilingual dictionaries, pop-up usage advice, abbreviations help, automatic hyphenators, and spelling help. All this will occupy a sizeable chunk of the hard disk and active memory. Finally, once the text is written, there are the correction programs that chew up texts pouncing on infelicities of style, punctuation, grammar and usage.
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Wary banks find separated wives hard to accept

Sunday Times (22.8.93)
A separated woman who wants to revert to her maiden name may have more difficulty opening a bank account than someone with a criminal record. Since all her identification documents are in her married name, she immediately falls within the suspicion zone occupied by potential fraudsters.

A petty thief -- current or ex -- has to prove identity, solvency and a bona fide mailing address. So long as there is no county court judgement against that person, the credit reference agencies that most banks use will clear the name. But these databanks do not include criminal court judgements since they are not in the public domain.

The logic, as far as the banks are concerned, is that they are not under any obligation to explain why one person is more of a commercial risk than another. Application forms are structured to yield the credit score pass mark that will open a cheque-book. Certain pieces of information are weighted -- no bank will describe how, but it isn't difficult to guess where the hot-spots are. One is marrying a name with an address and a credit history.
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Computers in the home

Reader's Digest (Oct. 1995)
Computers affect every aspect of our lives. They are in supermarkets, banks, hospitals and the school classroom. And it's very often children who bring them into the home too. One in eight children at secondary school in Britain has access to a personal computer. Peer pressure is beginning to act as it once did when some people had a television set and others did not. So if you haven't got a personal computer at home, this is where to start.

Children begin with small, hand-held games machines. Parents should welcome this. Such games do not rot the childish mind; they teach the skills of computer literacy that will be essential in the computer-dominated world of the 21st century. Oddly enough, although one child plays on one machine, it is a social activity. Games machines can plug into each other and children learn to share and take turns.

It is exactly the same with personal computers. That is to say, they are for the use of one person, but they can connect. When they do, they are networked; that's why your travel agent can dial in (or log in) to central computers that hold up-to-date flight information. Home and small office computers are usually standalone -- that means they contain everything that a household or small office needs.

Unfortunately, it isn't a simple matter of plugging in and getting started. There's quite a lot of confusing terminology. It's not difficult to grasp, but a little basic knowledge helps.
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Serving up science in child-sized chunks

New Scientist (16.9.95)
The modern credo in educational books is that a good picture replaces a thousand words. Or, as Peter Kindersley claims, 'Through the picture we see reality and through the word we understand it.' Take a non-linear topic, open it up in a well-labelled double-page spread, and you have a formula for capturing children's imagination. The reader picks a route, starts anywhere and proceeds backwards or forwards as interest directs.

At top infant and lower junior school levels (Key Stages 2-4) this is a successful approach. It supplies bite-sized chunks of information useful to children in their topic work. All books under review are seductively attractive and will certainly stimulate incipient scientists. But the language of science is highly conceptualised and there is a danger that oversimplifications created by the demands of page space will starve, rather than feed, the enquiring mind. In books that are picture-led, and where words are subservient to the design, the claim that through the word we understand reality may be over-optimistic.
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When Readers become End-users: Intercourse Without Seduction

Logos (Spring 1993)
When you cast your eyes over a printed page, you are a reader; when the words are on a computer screen, you become an end-user. The difference is very great and potentially alarming. 'End-use' is 'the final specific use to which a product is put'. How has the written word been manoeuvred into this position?

Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, poets, novelists and essayists addressed us all cosily as 'Dear Reader' or 'Gentle Reader'. We felt valued as the author's friend. We were engaged, jointly, in an act of complicity. Baudelaire acknowledges this when he accuses us of being hypocrite lecteur!--mon semblable,--mon frere. Reading is an act of entering imaginatively into what the author is saying. To follow through one of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) derivations, we 'take thought, attend to'. In that thought and attention is implicit an acknowledgement of the status of the partnership: the writer originates, the reader accepts and augments. It isn't, of course, a simple symbiosis of active and passive, for the reader's very receptivity spawns new thoughts, as is recognised by reader-oriented schools of literary criticism.
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The digit as a rule of thumb

Times Higher (8.12.95)
No longer content to take a back seat and lament the seeming demise of copyright in the electronic environment, creative organisations all over the world are rallying to protect a tradition that is embedded in every cultural heritage. It is the tradition of respect for the talent and industry of creative professionals, whether they be writers, artists, composers, performers or programmers. For it is on these individuals that the new media depend. Multimedia, as the name surely implies, is not a single effect, but the combination of many skills.

Last weeka new multimedia initiative was launched in Brussels. It sets authors and artists in the vanguard of safeguarding their creative rights in digital works. The project is called Imprimatur. It is international, hugely ambitious, and it is being run from the offices of Britain's Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS). The aims are to produce a comprehensive analysis of how intellectual property can remain property once it has been digitised, and to protoype copyright management software for use on the Internet. There is an impressive consortium of partners and colleagues all over the world and it has attracted substantial funding from the European Commission
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Marriages are Made in Violin Shops

The Strad (March 1996)
Walk into any violin shop in a capital city and count on your fingers the number of times you will be greeted by a woman who both owns the business and is a person who firmly believes that the customer is king, that everyone who enters the shop deserves her special concern and undivided attention. Struggling to think of anyone? Then try Phelps in north London's Kentish Town where Rachel Douglas sees her role as akin to a marriage broker. 'It is a great responsibility marrying a player to an instrument and an enormous satisfaction when you get it right and continue to be answerable for their joint well-being.'

Historically, women have kept a low profile in violin making and dealing. In seventeenth century Italy they were often permitted to continue the running of a husband's workshop for a year or two after his death - presumably on the assumption that his work was still available for sale. Even then there are anomalies, such as documented evidence of an instrument or two bearing the label Katarina Guarneria, seemingly made by del Gesu's wife even though the labels were subsequently ripped out. Later there was Jenny Bailly who established her own atelier in Paris at the beginning of this century. But on the whole women's work was piece work: the carving of scrolls, turning of pegs, and factory antiquing done by pushing violins in the white across a kitchen table with the dishes and the baby's bath-tub.
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Computer Class

WhatPC? (June 1996)
This is a home page with one of its link pages. Call it self-advertising if you will, but this is exactly what the World Wide Web is for: it is the new medium for your visiting card, your brochure, your newsletter. In short, creating Web pages is a form of publication. It relies on other people having an Internet connection – as well as yourself – but with 40 million people out there using it, the chances are that some of your friends, leisure or business contacts will have access.

We will be taking you on a step-by-step guide to creating your own home page and a link page using the software supplied on the cover disc in the Home Page directory. You will find: HoTMetaL 2.0, an editing program for creating pages; I-view 1.16, a program for viewing the page; some image files; and Paint Shop Pro 3 is included as an optional extra. You will need no other equipment at this stage because we will be producing dummy pages only. Next month, we’ll talk about the mechanics of getting online.
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