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Author: Jeffrey G. Barlow
Title: Come to the Millenium...
Publication info: Ann Arbor, MI: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library
April 2000

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Source: Come to the Millenium...
Jeffrey G. Barlow

vol. 3, no. 1, April 2000
Article Type: Editorial

Come the Millenium....

This issue marks the beginning of our third year of publication at The Journal of the Association for History and Computing. In the period since our first issue was posted, in June of 1998, we have passed a number of milestones. We initially believed that it would take us a full three years to become established as a useful and noteworthy scholarly resource. We now feel that we have achieved that goal almost a year ahead of our schedule. We recently have received word that we will be only the second electronic journal to be archived and abstracted by ABC-CLIO, one of the largest publishers of scholarly indexes and reference materials. Articles appearing in the JAHC will be abstracted and indexed in both Historical Abstracts, and in America: History and Life. We consider this to be evidence of both our stability and our legitimacy as a scholarly journal.

In this period we have received a number of other positive reviews and references. To cite just one example of our utility to scholars, the February issue of Perspectives, the American Historical Association Newsletter (VOl. 38, No. 2 February 2000) featured an article by Joel D. Kitchens, "Clio on the Web: An Annotated Bibliography of Select E-Journals for History" (pp. 34-39). The article mentioned the JAHC among several other useful journals. The notes contained seven references to materials utilized for the article. Of the seven references, one was to one of our editorials, a second to an article we published.

We have had offers from major publishers to bring the JAHC out in hard-copy. As hard-copy publication is generally felt to be more prestigious than e-publication, we had to consider these offers quite carefully. The editorial board decided unanimously, however, that we prefer to continue our existance as a solely electronic publication. This permits us to stay abreast of a very fast moving field, history and computing, and so to better serve both our readers and those who submit pieces for publication. At present most of the pieces we accept are published within three months, after rigorous peer review.

We have also had the pleasure of seeing our methods and standards studied by others desiring to undertake e-journal publication. We received, for example, a generous communication from a committee of the American Political Science Association informing us that they were influenced in considerable part by our standards and practices in defining e-publication procedures for their own professional body.

A number of our articles have been picked up for reprinting in hard-copy by other publications, such as David Staley's review article "Digital Historiography: Maps" which was reprinted in the Perspectives publication of the American Historical Association. An article by Dennis Trinkle publlished in JAHC Vol II, No, 1, was one part of a creative combination of hard-copy and e-copy publication. The article "History and the Computer Revolutions: A Survey of Current Practices" followed up his article in the February 1999 issue of Perspectives by extending the analysis as well as reproducing the data used for that article.

We have also undertaken significant new initiatives in the last year, much extending, we hope, our utility to our readers. We now routinely offer abstracts of articles in a number of European languages and plan to begin including Chinese and Japanese before much longer. The World Languages Board which produces these abstracts on a very tight schedule is composed of fine scholars working around the world. We have added regular features reviewing significant articles published in electronic journals, and a new feature on computing at the K-12 levels. and one on effective uses of computers in teaching history, Teaching Reports. Our Rings initiative, an attempt to create a network of exemplary and reliable WWW materials in history, although still in the early stages, has had more than one thousand visitors and many inquiries.

Of all the objections which we frequently hear to electronic publication, perhaps the least meritorious and most frustrating is the statement "I prefer to read paper copy." With this issue we offer a PDF file with each article for those who prefer a convenient means of printing out our content. We will work back to create PDF files for each of our archived articles as time permits.

Another significant aspect of our first two years has been the opportunity to see a community of discourse interested in history and computing come together around the JAHC. Many who published with us have subsequently joined us as editors and our editorial board continues to grow in both its geographic extent and the accomplishments and experience of its editors. In getting out this issue, we have worked with a site containing more than 2500 electronic files. We move them around the world in many programs and applications and rarely meet an electronic problem which is not immediately solved by our go-to electronic editor, Daniel Pfeifer. The hard work of our secretary, Ken Dvorak, and our Executive Director, Dennis Trinkle, has kept us moving steadily forward.

But of all these pleasures, perhaps the most noteworthy has been the opportunity to present the works of more than forty scholars working in many aspects of history and computing to a wide audience. In this issue, for example, we offer what we think is a truly noteworthy series of pieces. Michael Greenhalgh, The Sir William Dobell Professor of Art History at The Australian National University, offers a remarkable discussion of what we feel will be an important new application for teaching and research, a VRML tour of the great (and relatively inaccessible) Buddhist temple complex at Borobudur in Java. Gavan McCarthy, the Director of the Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre at The University of Melbourne, presents another method for working with historical materials, the XML encoding of cultural heritage artifacts. A Czech Fulbright scholar at Georgetown University, Jana Borovickova, discusses historical computing in the Czech Republic. Additional reports of teaching practices and K-12 projects further extend this issue. And our regular features evaluating useful electronic sites, important e-journal articles, noteworthy applications, and important hard-copy publications offer many references to materials of interest and importance to those interested in history and computing.

As always, we are grateful for the continued support of Pacific University which offers us access to its servers and the assistance of its talented faculty, staff, and students. We are now in the third generation of students who have worked with us at the Journal. We think it a hopeful sign that our student editors have, without exception, found good homes in strong graduate programs as they continue their educations. We believe this an affirmation of the importance of learning the skills and acquiring the knowledge of the field of history and computing.

Jeffrey Barlow
Editor, JAHC