Preface

In some ways, the summer of 1994 seems long ago. The World Wide Web was not yet a household word. Netscape was yet to be announced. And discussions that led to the publication of this special issue, perhaps the first archival journal issue accompanied by a CD-ROM disk that can be viewed with WWW browsers, had just begun. Nearly two years of extinguishing as many brush fires, and as few dreams, as possible during a highly experimental project sometimes seemed unending. Literally thousands of e-mail exchanges gave much the same impression. In other ways, however, the summer of 1994 seems like yesterday. The fast pace of discovering how to make new approaches work, as well as receiving essential assistance and advice from countless knowledgeable and helpful people, usually made time seem to fly.

An account of the making of the special issue appears elsewhere in this issue, so that we will not address details here. Of all the many people who were helpful and understanding in so many different ways, however, we readily acknowledge that we owe no greater debts of gratitude than to the authors and reviewers of the contributions to the special issue. Both groups exhibited patience and tolerance in the face of unfamiliar, developing and changing procedures, but demonstrated considerable persistence and ingenuity in coping, as well. To all these people, we are deeply grateful. Each of us also appreciates the help and support provided by our home academic institutions. Marion Hagler is especially grateful to Prof. Hidenori Akiyama, to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Kumamoto University in Japan and to the Kyushu Electric Power Company for the encouragement and support they provided during the time that much of the work on this special issue was accomplished.

Although the inclusion of a CD-ROM with each copy is the most obviously unusual feature of this special issue, another unusual feature is its reliance on author-prepared HTML documents for the CD-ROM content. We strongly encouraged authors to prepare their own HTML documents in a form that seemed most appropriate for their particular contribution. Preparation by the contributors not only eliminated the need for difficult and costly file translation processes, it also resulted in a collection of HTML documents for the CD-ROM that displays considerable variety and ingenuity in approach. After all, one objective of the special issue is to permit those who are using HTML documents in engineering and science education to share and archive their work. We believe the results are well worth the price of a lack of uniformity in format and style.

To view the HTML documents on the CD-ROM, you need Netscape 2.0, or a browser with equivalent capabilities. The CD-ROM meets ISO 9660 standards and should be readable by browsers running on any of the popular operating systems for desktop machines. In addition to the capability for displaying HTML, GIF and ASCII text files, the browser should be configured to display QuickTime movie files, as well as AU and AIF sound files. A few demonstrations on the CD-ROM will be accessible from the browser only if special software, such as Waterloo Maple or Mathcad, is installed as a helper application. To make sure that your browser is properly configured for a common file type, you can test it with sample files available on the WWW at, for example, http://www-dsed.llnl.gov/documents/WWWtest.html.

To begin viewing the contents of the CD-ROM, we suggest that you use your browser to open the file index.htm in the homepage directory or folder on the CD-ROM. This file displays logos of the co-sponsors (linked to their homepages), provides links to some information about the special issue, and a hyperlink labeled Table of Contents: Articles, Authors and Keywords. Clicking on this hyperlink displays an HTML document that contains the Table of Contents, which presents, in tabular form, the title, authors and keywords for each contribution. The titles are hyperlinked to the initial HTML document for each contribution on the CD-ROM. The names of authors are hyperlinked to their contact information, which appears below the table in this document. The contact information for authors includes hyperlinks to personal homepages, institutional homepages and personal e-mail addresses.

You can use the Find function in your browser to search the Table of Contents document for a particular word, whether that word is the name of an author, a keyword, a word in a title, or a word in the address or affiliation of an author. It is useful to remember that each author's name occurs twice on this page, once in the table adjacent to the title of that author's contribution and once in the contact information section. Because a search with the browser Find function can span only a single HTML document, the browser cannot conduct a full-text search of the CD-ROM. If you find such a search important, you must use platform-specific tools to search for particular text strings on the CD-ROM. In Windows 95, for example, the Windows Explorer offers such capability.

The files for each contribution are located in a separate directory or folder on the CD-ROM. The numbers of the directories correspond to the order of the papers in the printed portion of the special issue and are listed in the Table of Contents document. An alternative approach to viewing the files on the CD-ROM is to open the file index.htm that appears in the directory corresponding to a contribution. This file is the starting point suggested by the author for viewing the HTML files in that directory. By clicking on the directory number hyperlink in the Table of Contents, all files in that directory, including index.htm, should be displayed in a file and directory listing. Thus, you can open any file type that your browser is configured to view by double-clicking on it.

We trust that you will find exploring the special issue enjoyable as well as informative. Please contact the authors to ask questions about their contributions or to let them know that you found their contributions useful. Please contact us with general comments or questions about the special issue.

Marion O. Hagler, Guest Editor (m.hagler@ieee.org)

Jerry R. Yeargan, Periodical Associate Editor (jry@engr.uark.edu)

William M. Marcy, Multimedia Associate Editor (cswmm@coe1.coe.ttu.edu)