Putting MAPS on the Internet Map

Summer 1994 Vol. 05, No. 1 Politics and Protocols: In Search of a Balance

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In the wake of the spring issue, with its article "Psychoactives and the Internet" by Bob Harris and Robert Jesse, many of you have inquired about putting MAPS online. We started with an email address, rick@maps.org, added sylvia@maps.org to accomodate the increasing specialization at MAPS homebase, and things have exploded from there. Ten or so people have offered to help with various options: FTP, World Wide Web (WWW), mailing lists, facilitating forums, etc. Those of you familiar with the Internet will attest to the dizzying array of choices.

World Wide Web

We are currently developing a WWW site, available with WWW clients such as Mosaic, at http://www.maps.org/. This server also provides an excerpt from PIKHAL, and hopes to expand the online options for those wishing to explore current trends in the area of psychedelic culture and research. All four issues of Vol.IV (1993-94) of the newsletter are now online, including the gorgeous back cover of the Spring 1993 issue! Future enhancements with the hypertext will evolve, and remaining back issues will be available as they are converted. The MAPS newsletters are also available via anonymous ftp from ftp.blueline.com. They can be found in the directory pub/maps and are archived by issue, in Unix compressed, tar format. The newsletter articles are in plain text form. Special thanks are in order to William King of Mount Bonnell Inc. for expediting this project, and providing the technical expertise, extra hours, and support that the World Wide Web demands.

Another member, Julie Petersen, has also offered to MAPS her wealth of knowledge and experience with facilitating online forums. Julie is Cruise Director (online editor) for WIRED magazine’s new electronic venture, HotWIRED, coming in September. In the fall, she will also be maintaining a World Wide Web MAPS site at Indra.net. Currently, she is inquiring into the possibility of a version of MAPS for AOL, possibly in the Education and Research or Science sections. Another member, Amos Clifford, has proposed an outline for such a forum, which could include all the back issues, scheduled chats, special guests, articles from related fields, current events newsflashes, lists of archive sites and allied organizations, and a place for ordering or signing up online. This option is still in a conceptual state; look to further issues for updates.

MAPS Gets Noticed Online

We’ve been considering how to time the online posting of new issues of the newsletter, so as to be sensitive to the supportive members who subscribe only via "snail- mail". The online newsletter will not be available until after members receive their newsletter in the mail. Storing the electronic format of MAPS and messages pointing to it at one or several points on the Net can only enhance our efforts at providing accurate, timely information about the budding state of psychedelics research. The power of posting information accomplishes more than just serving the public interest. Bob Harris posted the Vol.IV No.3 issue at the Harvey Mudd College FTP site (ftp://ftp.hmc.edu/) and several people have joined MAPS as a result. Only three days after Robert Jesse posted the Harbor-UCLA MDMA research update in March, another most welcome form of attention resulted. Dr. Grob received a call from a someone who had spotted the article, was changing planes at L.A. airport, and wished to drop by and discuss the MDMA research project with him before continuing on the last leg of his journey. After a short conversation, in which Dr. Grob convinced the visitor that he sincerely intended to conduct a fair and honest appraisal of MDMA’s risks and benefits, the visitor decided on the spot to support Dr. Grob’s research. He pledged the full sum needed to begin the Phase 1 study: $25,000!

In addition to the email and other services MAPS gets through America Online, we have also established an account with an excellent local Internet service provider, Creative Cybernetics. The first Internet territory I explored was Usenet Netnews. In a single four hour session, I found 32 Newsgroups that yielded useful information and to which I’d like to post articles or messages about MAPS. If you would like to take on part of this task, please email me at st.maps@cybernetics.net. This is also the address to which you may direct your questions about ordering, renewing, or the status of MAPS online. I encourage members to point us to any interesting sites or situations that you come across on the Net. With patience and your ongoing support, we’ll continue to develop the exciting online options available to us. Thanks to all those who have provided and offered help with this project.