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High Cost of Professional Reference Material - was Re: Backing

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	I work for a company (precast concrete manufacturer) that buys codes
that are secondary to our work when they change significantly. AWS D1.1-2002
is a good case. We buy ACI 318 and our local Building Codes every time they
are revised. We also spend considerable time and travel money supporting the
engineering side of the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute. OK, it is
our trade association, but it supports research that can improve
construction. We support ACI, though to a lesser extent. My point is that
the price of the publications is small in comparison to the other support we
provide to the entities developing the publications. Committee meetings and
committee work between meetings are like a particularly intense day at the
office for me. And those entities do make a profit on their publications,
which helps keep them publishing better Codes. The same with their seminars
- why do you think you get so many fliers in the mail telling you how you
can learn everything you need to know to stay current with your discipline?
	Lincoln Arc Welding may be the best example in the country for this.
They have their Foundation and its books are wonderful and cheap: quite the
opposite of getting what you pay for. Their Foundation is an excellent
resource. Does all this help sell welding rod and machines. I'm sure it
does, but it is an extraordinarily enlightened self-interest. I imagine
every one of you has used Blodgett's Design of Welded Structures at least
	I know more than one sole proprietor that spends a significant
amount of time on this kind of unpaid work. Yes, it makes a name for the
engineer within his industry group that ultimately helps him find work, but
it is an expensive and very long-range kind of advertising. Why do they do
it? Because all of us see things that could be made better or we would have
washed out of engineering long ago.
	Does this all mean I wish publication prices were higher. No, I hate
it when my company spends money just as much as I hate spending my own
money. But if you were paying the true cost of the knowledge provided, it
would cost much more. This forum is similar. An astounding amount of free
education can be had here for the price of 15 minutes a day if you get the
digest, as I do (I'm sorry, I cannot take the number of emails I would get
otherwise - see the comment above about intense days at work). The names we
see every day, Bill Polhemus, Scott Haan, Roger Turk, Harold Sprague, Dennis
Wish, Daryl Richardson and a host of others (please forgive me for the names
I have not included but seen more than ten times in the last month) belong
to great people that want to see a better world.
	BTW, I used to design steel and inspect welds, so I understand some
of the other things you all talk about, too. One thing I have not understood
are two abbreviations, IIRC and SOHO. Thank you in advance for telling me
what they are. And please forgive my long windedness.
	Thank you for your time.
	Jim Getaz, P. E.
	Winchester, Virginia

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