|Author:||Jeffery G. Barlow|
|Publication info:||Ann Arbor, MI: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library
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Jeffery G. Barlow
vol. 2, no. 1, April 1999
Editorial, Journal of the Association for History and Computing
Vol. II, Number 1, April, 1999
The first year of the Journal of the Association of History and Computing has been, in the collective judgement of the editorial board, a highly successful one. We have posted the three issues that we have planned for each year in a timely fashion. The number of submissions has grown appreciably for each issue. Despite the strains of continued publication and the production of a more complex publication (this issue required that we work with more than nine hundred digital files in the editing process), we have been able to adhere to our policies for peer review. It is possible that we are the only peer-reviewed journal in history on the Internet.—Please inform us if we are incorrect in this assumption.
We have been joined on the editorial board by a number of new colleagues. Our board now represents a very wide range of institutions. We are also being joined by several colleagues from the K-12 world, which will assist us in reaching a far wider range of readers, both teachers and students. This issue contains an example of the sort of K-12 scholarship which we hope to attract, the piece by Kathleen Ferenz which details the exciting developments in the BANDL project in California.
Our audience has also grown steadily with each issue. Our last issue has had, as best we can determine, some seventeen thousand "hits" in three months. We have been making progress on creating a cumulative index for all our materials, making them that much more accessible both to readers and to search engines.
Most importantly, we have been able to publish, with this issue, more than twenty excellent articles which bring the most recent scholarship in the field as well as many examples of a creative use of computing in the study or teaching of history to our readership. One of these articles, David Staley's review article " Digital Historiography: Maps" was reprinted in the Perspectives publication of the American Historical Association. In the current issue an article by Dennis Trinkle is 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" follows 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 are particularly pleased that in our first year we served to bring American and European scholars closer together. We have published reports on electronic resources for studies in British and Irish history and reviewed a wide variety of topic-oriented electronic sites. Scholars from the United States, Canada, Ireland, Norway (3), England, The Netherlands, and France have contributed to our pages. We also have, in this issue, a report on computing and history in Russia and expect to have additional such articles in the future detailing developments in a number of countries. We have also, by virtue of our readership, helped to place a Czech Fulbright scholar in a suitable American institution as well.
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. We hope to add such new features at the rate of one per issue throughout this year. Our next project will be a K-12 feature.
Our regular features are, we are aware from e-mail, serving an extensive community. In this issue our reviews of applications and programs covers a wide variety of common applications and provides useful information as to strengths and weaknesses for those considering an investment in such tools. Our feature "Notices" detailing conferences and other professional activities has a faithful readership. It is also noteworthy that an increasing number of those are sponsored by our parent organization, the American Association for History and Computing.
The rapid growth of history-related web sites has made our reviews of electronic sources a very important tool. We will soon begin a state-by-state survey of local history sites which we believe might not otherwise come to the attention of a wider audience.
We are on the verge of expansion in our sponsorship, too. It seems probable, pending additional discussions, that we will soon become the e-Journal of the International Association for History and Computing with its many national branches. This will offer us access to a much wider group of potential contributors as well as it will present new challenges. The major challenge, is, of course, the issue of which languages we will utilize in the Journal in addition to English, if any. This issue has a possible harbinger of the future, Stéphane Haffemayer's article on mapping the periodical press of the French Ancien Régime, presented in both French and English versions.
For us the major challenge will be to maintain our quality standards while working with a larger group of scholars in many countries, and potentially, in several languages. We will require an international editorial board and have been soliciting assistance from scholars who are effectively bi-lingual in English and one or more other languages. We have heard from several such scholars and will be creating suitable editorial standards and practices following discussions to be held at our national conference in Philadelphia in April. We are going to use the opportunity to work in languages in addition to English to explore the confusing world of non-English word processing and, it is probable, the rapidly emerging field of computer/machine translation.
We also hope to take the Journal not only east to Europe, but west, to Asia, and south, to Latin America. At present few of our readers come to us from Asian gateways and we have yet to receive a submission from Asia. This is truly remarkable when one considers the ancient traditions of scholarship in the Confucian cultural sphere. But it is the Asian nations which will, we believe, see the most explosive growth in the development of the Internet in the near future. This will particularly be true when wireless communications replace the current hodgepodge of telephone lines and cables, all passing through the bottle-neck of modems. We expect this development within the next three years and think that it will bring a very rapid growth in scholarly communications throughout Asia, and slowly but no less surely, through Africa as well. We would like to hear from scholars in those regions who would like to assist in these projects, as well, of course, from Latin American scholars already on line.
Another factor which will surely markedly increase the use of the Internet is the convergence of the television and the computer. We know from a month spent in Japan this past summer that this process is occuring much faster than most of us are aware. We think that these developments, too, will have a remarkable effect on both education and the production of knowledge. It is vitally important that historians take the lead in developing good practices for these imminent events. We at the Journal of the Association for History and Computing intend to do our share of this work.
One very unexpected challenge has been a request from a well-known publisher to discuss the printing of this journal in hard-copy. This has been a very difficult question for us. While we are aware of the fact that hard-copy publication still carries superior cachet in the academy, we also believe in the many virtues of e-publication, most especially in the emerging field of history and computing. We hope to develop some arrangement which will not only make the Journal available in hard-copy for libraries and other archival purposes, but will also strengthen our electronic publication.
Our venue at Pacific University has freed us from the usual problems faced by ventures of this sort, inadequate resources and too little support. We are particularly grateful to past support from the Matsushita Corporation which has given us the luxury of a strong start. This year almost all of the problems that we have faced were a result of our successes, a very happy circumstance indeed.
We hope that you find this third number of the journal useful, and would enjoy hearing from you. In particular, of course, we would like to receive your submissions of manuscripts, reviews, news, and information of interest to our readers.
Jeffrey Barlow <firstname.lastname@example.org>