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Author: Jeffrey G. Barlow
Title: The Languages of Historians, the World Wide Web, and the Journal of the Association for History and Computing
Publication info: Ann Arbor, MI: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library
August 1999

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Source: The Languages of Historians, the World Wide Web, and the Journal of the Association for History and Computing
Jeffrey G. Barlow

vol. 2, no. 2, August 1999
Article Type: Editorial

The Languages of Historians, the World Wide Web, and the Journal of the Association for History and Computing

Jeffrey Barlow, editor

The editors of the Journal of the Association for History and Computing have been discussing the future of the journal and its international development. Many members believe it is important to begin publishing in languages other than English—others believe that English is and will remain the Lingua Franca of the web. Regardless of future developments, in the judgment of the entire board current technology is not yet at the point where we can easily handle the task of doing complete translations into a variety of languages for materials which originally are submitted in English or in any other language. For the editorial board, the issue of quality is foremost. We will remain a scholarly journal that is peer-reviewed to the highest possible standards, regardless of the number of languages in which we will eventually publish.

We have been corresponding with scholars who are fluent in English and in other languages and are creating an Associate or World Languages Board of editors. (An interesting and experienced group of scholars and editors working in a variety of languages has already been recruited.) This group will, in consultation with the editor and the regular board of the JAHC, advise the board of the JAHC with regard to issues affecting world languages. We also assume that we will be joined by many colleagues who now work with the International Association for History and Computing after our relationship with them is formalized. Accordingly, we have established the following policy for the near future:

  1. We welcome dual-text submissions, such as the article by Haffemeyer in the last number of the journal. However, we can not require such submissions. We hope that submissions which are originally prepared in a language other than English and translated by the author into English can appear in both versions.
  2. We want to begin including summaries or abstracts of English-language articles in several languages, depending upon the time available to members of the Associate Board. That is, at this time we are probably not at the point where we can state that we will have abstracts in specific languages but rather will rely upon the volunteer efforts of this group to provide abstracts/summaries/precis. We will begin including such abstracts in the August number (in process) and also work backwards from the previous issue to add such abstracts to indexed articles.

    Our reasoning in preparing these abstracts is that while we recognize that at present most readers of the WWW are more or less proficient in English, we believe that the ongoing expansion of the Web will inevitably bring in many readers less proficient with English and we wish to begin preparing for a truly international audience. Too, we are becoming the e-journal for the International Association for History and Computing and wish to do our part toward internationalizing the web. We also believe that even scholars who are relatively comfortable working in English as a second language will be more likely to read articles which provide an abstract in their first language.

  3. Working in languages other than English raises some problems with browsers and other applications. We will count on members of this board to advise us on the best approaches to take for working with "their" languages.
  4. As we develop a stable of editors and as the technology improves, we will endeavor to provide more substantial portions of the journal in languages other than English.
  5. The members of the World Languages Board will also take the lead in producing articles covering history and computers in the cultures with which they are familiar and in representing the JAHC before scholars in those countries.

If you are a scholar who is comfortable working in languages other than English and are interested in joining this board, please contact Jeffrey Barlow at