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DateOriginal Topic
By Alan Critchley
Dear All,

Taking advantage of a lull in hostilities, I'm thinking of adding a couple more sections to this site which I think may be of interest. I would appreciate opinions.

We are just introducing a section for your articles etc. very soon called 'Pot Pourri'. We look forward to further contributions.

I frequently get asked my opinion on which books on the Angl-Zulu War I would recommend. I have my own views but it would be useful if I prepared a list of books on which you give your unbiased opinions since many of you are a great deal more widely read than I am. I want to keep it simple to give prospective readers a general idea of the merits of each book. I think that if books were given a rating by yourselves, I could give the title a mark say, out of ten. I hear the purists (and authors) now saying that that's too simplistic and can't possibly cover the complexity of any work. It would however avoid accusations of bias, vested interest or nit picking. I look forward to your views.

The other section I considered may be useful is a 'Buy and for sale' section. Not for commercial use, but for visitors who are looking for something to buy or have to sell, to do with the Anglo-Zulu War of course. It would go through RDVC and we would take a small percentage to cover costs and help maintain the website. This wouldn't be an auction, and details would need to be worked out. Your opinion on this would also be appreciated.

Finally, I thought it might be a good idea to consider a weekend get together, where those interested could meet up for a couple of days and informally discuss various aspects of the subject and come towards an agreement on what are facts, fiction speculation or myths. Venue? This wouldn't be a profit making venture and any speakers who volunteer their services would do so for the sake of helping in the understanding of the subject. Views on this idea would be appreciated.

Alan Critchley
[email protected]
15th February 2004Clive Dickens
I think these are great idea's and the sooner you get them into action the better.
15th February 2004Barry Iacoppi N.Z.
Well done Peter. They all sound like positive improvements to what is already one of my favourite sites.
Might I be so bold as to suggest an area where pictures can be posted would be very useful? Not sure if it is technically possible. No need for long term storage of images just those relevant to current postings.

15th February 2004Melvin Hunt
Great ideas. Could I also suggest a Zululand photo library where visitors can send in views not usually seen in the books. It would be good if these photos could then be down loaded by anyone wanting a copy.
How about a "travel guide" page where advice, guidance and perhaps accomodation reviews could be reported?
Look forward to a weekend meet.
16th February 2004Barry Iacoppi NZ
ooopppss For Peter read Alan. My error.
16th February 2004Julian Whybra
Yes, I think these are good ideas with the possible exception of 'recommended books'. I think a better section might be 'bibliography' without comment. Reasons for recommendation are too varied and too unreliable. I would certainly be interested in the notion of a weekend meeting.
17th February 2004Paul Summers
Excellent ideas, all of them. I see no problem with the book list as proposed it gives readers views on the books available and is no diffrenet from Amazon reviews. As long as it is made clear that they are personal views.
17th February 2004John Young

I'll go along with that, but you've been rather selective on your own site as to your book selections.

Aren't some of the services that Melvin seeks already available through your own site?

John Y.
17th February 2004sally
Book Review :
Excellent idea - keep it short with no attacking !
Buy & Sell :
Great idea, but could be misused - could one promote a book, or memorabilia or what restrictions ?
17th February 2004Alan Critchley
the buy/sell would be a separate section with RDVC being the only contact so only suitable items would be listed and controlled.

17th February 2004John Young

Buy & Sell, how about a Swop Shop as well? Without Noel Emunds I hasten to add.

John Y.
17th February 2004Peter Ewart
All good ideas - count me in. (Essays, articles, weekend meet etc.)

A large bibliography (it would run into hundreds, if not thousands of items) of relevant published material would be a tremendous asset. Title, publication details & brief description - if more required, ask on the forum & others will jump in to advise anyway. Hopefully to include (as well as books) relevant papers published in JSAMH, JN&ZH, Natalia, JSAHR, SOTQ etc. etc., as well as in obvious AZW publications, by which I mean all back numbers as well as new papers published. If not here on this site & all in ONE place - then where? (I appreciate this will mean a huge input from many contributors going through their files and own libraries).

This brings me to a point I've often thought about on this site. I gather (Alan or Peter can put me right here, I'm sure) that there is a sort of bar on authors plugging their own work, presumably on the grounds that this is a non-commercial site, and I can understand the need to guard against commercialism per se or intrusive advertising not endorsed by the site administrators.

However, speaking for myself, I WANT to know when a new book comes out and what it's all about. I may well come across it advertised elsewhere of course, but this rdvc site has very long tentacles & I often hear of something for the very first time here, such as a new book or an article. I would like to see authors or publishers of a new work (especially self-publishers) be permitted to offer one forum posting to announce & explain their new work in a reasonably restrained or modest way, enabling a wide audience to be made aware of its appearance. Any reviews on the site, favourable or otherwise, would of course be a matter for the administrators and/or reviewer. In this way, we'd all know straight away when something comes up worth looking into. Is this feasible or acceptable, do you think? (Alan & Peter).

It would also help if all new (relevant) works were reviewed as a matter of course. There is sufficient expertise in all fields from contributors on this forum for this to be feasible, although no doubt it would add to the headaches of the site controllers!!!

Other than that, no complaints!!! And while I'm at it, congratulations and thanks yet again to A & P for a superb facility, even if it can prove rather addictive!


18th February 2004Erich Wagner
If I may add, a section where people can post hi-res versions of Zulu War art, both contemporary and modern, would be unique and much appreciated. I think it would be valuable to many an afficiando.
18th February 2004Alan Critchley
we discourage the idea of authors publicising their own works on the forum, or anyone else on their behalf when it appears to be blatant commercialism. The forum is for general discussion purposes. There is however, no reason why authors can't tell us of a new publication and we put it in the News section and on the book list as has happened. Some may not wish to contact us for their own reasons. We are all in favour of people being aware of books available on the subject but want to be careful that the site is not 'used'. Unless of course the authors want to slip us a few bob!

I'm in favour of the suggestion of having a photo library as long as there are no copyright problems., I would also have to check with Peter, the implications on size on the capacity of the site.

Could I also request that any contributions to the 'Pot Pourri' are sent as a word document as other formats take a lot of (precious) time to transcribe.

Sellers could state 'or would swap for...' in their bit. As you will appreciate, details would have to be carefully worked out, and supervised.

18th February 2004Alan Critchley
Just had another thought for a new section. We could have a blood proof section called 'The Boxing Ring' where people could beat each other silly without boring the rest of us to death. What do you think?