Academic journal article Information Technology and Libraries

Incoming Editor's Column: Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes (Turn and Face the Strain)

Academic journal article Information Technology and Libraries

Incoming Editor's Column: Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes (Turn and Face the Strain)

Article excerpt

Greetings ITAL readers. I'm writing this in late September, as the Boston Red Sox attempt to back their way into the Major League Baseball postseason after blowing a 9-game lead over Tampa Bay in a major-league September meltdown of epic proportions. [Red Sox fans are prone to hyperbole, but in this case no hyperbole is needed: this meltdown really is epic.] It's down to the last game of the season, and like many Red Sox fans, I'm hopeful but not optimistic. The fate of the 2011 Red Sox will be old news by the time this appears in print, though: as I'm coming to learn, the wheels of scholarly publishing continue to turn ever so slowly, unless forced to do otherwise. Which brings me to why I'm taking on the role of editor of ITAL. On one hand, I'm fortunate to be taking on the editorship of a journal that quite clearly has been stewarded with care, dedication, and attention by my predecessors. I've spent quite a few hours recently in the Z678.9 section of my library's stacks, perusing three decades of back volumes of ITAL and its predecessor, the Journal of Library Automation. There's an impressive body of scholarly and informational output on library automation and related topics, from the sublime ("To Boolean or not to Boolean?" September 1983), to the not-so-sublime ("The Effects of Baud Rate, Performance Anxiety, and Experience in Online Bibliographic Searches," March 1990), to the sentimental ("Floppies to Pass the Billion-Dollar Level in '84." September 1982), to the deja-vu-all-over-again ("LS2000--The Integrated Library System for OCLC," June 1984). Overall, I'd have to say there's a solid foundation to build on, plus plenty of good content in the pipeline, and it would be easy to continue on in the same vein.

But that's not why I'm here. I'm fortunate to be taking on the role of editor as ITAL faces significant changes. In his inaugural editorial for ITAL in March 2005, then-incoming editor John Webb articulated a number of worthy goals for ITAL, to both broaden and deepen the content of the journal and the demographic of the authors contributing to it. One goal in particular, though, strikes me (in hindsight of course) as problematic: "I hope to... facilitate the electronic publication of articles without endangering--but in fact enhancing--the absolutely essential financial contribution that the journal provides to the association. …

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