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Cybernetica Mesopotamica
II. The website


Giorgio Buccellati – June 2023

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Bibliographical status

One reason why websites are not currently seen as playing a role as epistemic systems similar to that of a book is because of their inherent instability. They typically change at a moment’s notice, and so references to them are always questionable.

One solution is to give a record of the changes, as is done in Wikipedia. This works well with the kind of contents that are constantly in transition, i.e., contents of a chronicle type. But it is cumbersome and confusing for contents that have in themselves a presumption of continuity and durabilty, such as those websites that serve a scholarly purpose. In that case, a reference ought to remain immediately accessible at all times, without having to search through a list of updates for the one that is found in a given source.

The best solution to this end is to provide archival versions, a concept that has been explained and applied in our website A Critique of Archaeological Reason, where reference is made to other websites that follow this archival approach and also to the analogous concept of ephemeris in astronomy.

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Publication stages

There are three stages in the development of the websites.

  1. As is in the nature of all websites, our websites, too, remain active for continuous input and updates. While in the initial stages, they are available through a password to members of the various research groups working on the project. Interested parties can request access by writing to to the editor.
  2. Once an individual website acquires sufficient consistency and coherence and has thus reached a certain threshold of completeness, a website is open for full public access. An editorial board oversees each individual website in order to help maintain the quality of this online publication.
  3. At selected intervals, any given website is archived and remains available in that given format, to ensure the full bibliographical status of the various editions.

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Implementation of the archive

In the Cybernetica Mesopotamica system, we recognize two possible archival versions.

  1. In an intermediate version, similar to a reprint, only typos are corrected or very minor changes and occasional additions are introduced.
  2. A new edition, on the other hand, introduces major changes, additions and omissions.

Correspondignly, two different labels are used: a letter (e.g. “a, b”) for the intermediate version, and a new number (e.g. “1, 2”) for the new edition. Two formats are in turn possible: when a link is intended, the archival indicator (number+letter or new number) is given after a hyphen; when a link is not intended, e.g., as a reference in a normal text, the same archival indicator can be given as a superscript, as shown in the following table:

as a link as a reference
intermediate version CAR1a or Critique-of-AR11a
new edition CAR2 or Critique-of-AR2

If no version label is indicated, the link will go to the current version, whatever its sequential number may be.

The specifics of each new version are described in an archival note relating to that particular version, see for example A161.

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Each page is identified at the top by an entry that gives first the path to the current page, and then the number of the version with the date of the version itself.

This date may differ from the date when the page was written, which is given below the page title, after the name of the contributor.

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This website

Only Part One of this website will be archived as new versions appear.

Part Two, on the other hand, will remain open without being archived.

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