Issue 4: December 2004
There has been a gap of two years since the appearance of an issue of BMSAES (British Museum Studies in Ancient Egypt and Sudan). Electronic publishing in Egyptology is still in its infancy, and there is yet some way to go in persuading colleagues to produce material for electronic publications such as ours. BMSAES has, however, received numerous submissions over the past two years, but these have not reached the publication stage after being submitted to the process of peer review established at the time the publication was set up.
Today it is easy to set up and publish oneself on the Internet, with free web space accompanying most email accounts, free weblog software, and so on, but this ease and freedom bring with it the responsibility to make clear to others that the material published has academic credibility.
It is absolutely essential that those who set up serious academic online publications maintain a rigorous process of review, so that readers can come to the site knowing that whatever they read, while it could be controversial, at least has the blessing of the scholarly community.
There are far too many web sites of 'alternative' or 'controversial' natures which present questionable ideas as established fact, usually without supporting critical apparatus; the uninitiated coming to such sites via a search engine may often be forgiven for being unable to distinguish between the different qualities of material.
All the papers in this issue are written by Egyptologists at the British Museum. I do not regret that two of them have already appeared elsewhere (one in print, the other on CD), as here they either take advantage of the technical opportunities offered by the electronic medium, or are more widely available than they were before.
The issue of indexing and preservation of BMSAES is still on my mind. My own paper in this issue, although written and first published three years ago, still addresses central questions in this area. While I believe we have helped to establish the fact that credible Egyptology can be published on the Internet, the matter of permanence is a major one which needs to be tackled by every electronic publication with a wish to survive.
The Subsidiary Temple of Nekhtnebef at Tell el-Balamun
Electronic publishing: the example of BMSAES