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Author: Lynn Westney
Title: E-Journals – Inside and Out: The First Decade
Publication Info: Ann Arbor, MI: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library
Fall 2009

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Source: E-Journals – Inside and Out: The First Decade
Lynn Westney

vol. 12, no. 1, Fall 2009

E-Journals – Inside and Out: The First Decade

Lynn Westney

Column Editor, E-Journals—Inside and Out 


In this piece Lynn Westney writes about the history of the “E-Journals—Inside and Out” column from its start in 1999 as a co-authored piece to its single authorship by Lynn in every issue starting in 2002. The column has been and continues to be a review of both electronic journals of interest to our readers, and notices of important articles which appeared in them and elsewhere. Along the way Lynn added databases and organizational websites that deal with e-journals, and open-access journals that were available to all without subscriptions or fees.


Through August 2008 there have been 28 online issues of JAHC: Journal of the Association for History and Computing, since it began electronic publication in June 1998. Its founding editor, Jeffrey Barlow of Pacific University (June 1998 – April 2006), presented a fascinating overview of the history of JAHC along with a succinct history of p-journals (paper journals) and the necessary conversion from the publishing of p-journals to byte-based ones (electronic, i.e., e-journals). Barlow stated,

We also know that half or more of publications in some fields are never cited in an additional publication; they are scholarly roads which lead nowhere.  [1]

With the emergence of e-journals, the barriers to these scholarly roads have been removed. Accessibility has been increased significantly, thus increasing the probability that often overlooked but valuable articles will enter the scholarly mainstream.


The column E-Journals - Inside and Out made its debut in the first issue of volume two in April 1999. Journal editor Barlow announced,

In this issue we have added what we believe is an important new feature, a review of both electronic journals of interest to our readers, and notices of important articles which appeared in them and elsewhere. [2]

Compiled by two practicing academic reference librarians, Ryan Johnson and Lynn C. (Hattendorf) Westney, E-Journals—Inside and Out, was a collaborative effort appearing in nine consecutive issues through volume four, number three (November 2001).

Although the definition of e-journals applies to all journals available in electronic format, this column was conceived originally to serve two major purposes. The first was to highlight and review interdisciplinary and international electronic journals without print counterparts. The second purpose was to serve primarily as a current awareness e-column charged with the selective dissemination of e-journal information for historians, scholars and all readers of JAHC. The editors provided a brief descriptive and evaluative annotation of each e-journal chosen for inclusion while highlighting and reviewing individual articles within them. Due to its interdisciplinary nature, the column has garnered broad appeal across all disciplines within the academy.

In volume two, number two (August 1999), the editors were proud to begin their column with this announcement about JAHC:

The Journal of the Association for History and Computing, has been added to the Internet Free-Press Library:

JAHC is listed under the category of Computing. The description reads,

"The AHC [The Association for History and Computing] aspires to promote and develop interest in the use of computers in all types of historical study at every level, in both teaching and research."

The Journal of the Association for History and Computing was selected as a good example of an electronic journal and felt worthy of being exhibited as such to [their] visitors, many of whom are interested in launching their own online journal.

The column was expanded also in this issue to include databases and organizational websites that were identified as providing excellent coverage of e-journals.


Lynn assumed sole editorship of the column with volume five, number one (May 2002). She retained the previous format but expanded it significantly to include additional electronic venues in addition to the e-journals. Albert reviewed and analyzed the evolution of the open access (OA) publishing movement. [3] Because so many p-journals were made accessible as e-journals through OA, Lynn began including OA journals in her column. Open access journals are defined as journals that use a funding model that does not charge readers or their institutions for access. [4]


Several special issues of JAHC were published during its first decade. Westney responded to them by devoting a portion of E-Journals – Inside and Out to these interesting thematic issues. From the first to the most recent these columns were:

  • Volume V, Number 3, November 2002: Military History E-Journals and E-Books: Part I.
  • Volume VII, Number 3, December 2004: Part I: Special Feature: Electronic Resources From and About Ireland
  • Volume X, Number 2, August 2007: Two new column components were introduced: webliographies and e-journals written and produced by graduate students.
  • Volume XI, Number 2, August 2008: Special Column on GIS: Geographical Information Systems


Lynn acknowledges gratefully the contributions of her former co-editor, Ryan Johnson, who helped to shape this column from its inception. Ryan has moved on to the University of Mississippi in Oxford while Lynn retired from the University of Illinois at Chicago on January 1, 2009. Although no longer a practicing reference librarian, Lynn intends to continue editing the column as long as there is a perceived need for it.

1. [Jeffrey Barlow, “Editorial Statement.” Journal of the Association for History and Computing 1 (1): June 1998. Adapted from a paper presented at the 1998 conference of the American Association for History and Computing, held in Cincinnati April 24-26, 1998. Retrieved March 22, 2009 from]

2. [ Jeffrey Barlow, “Going Global.” Journal of the Association for History and Computing 2(1): April 1999. Retrieved March 23, 2009 from]

3. [ Karen M. Albert, “Open Access: Implications for Scholarly Publishing and Medical Libraries.” Journal of the Medical Library Association 94 (3); July 2006 (253-262).Retrieved March 22, 2009, from]

4. [DOAJ: Directory of Open Access Journals. Retrieved March 23, 2009, from]