The middle of the year comes around pretty quickly in the
journal publication programme: I seem only recently to have
published Volume 16 No. 1 and now it is time for number
two. Before you know it, it will be Christmas!
In this issue we have the usual assortment of papers and book reviews. Nothing in the way of conference proceedings or papers on a specific theme, just papers that have come through the review process, copy-editing, and my final blue pencil to get to this stage. For some authors, rather new to the game of scholarly publishing, the amount of work they need to put in to make a paper presentable comes as a bit of a shock. It is also a bit of shock to me to find that the vast majority of researchers have no real idea of how to follow instructions on citations, references, our Style Guide, or pretty well anything else and the amount of work that our volunteer copy-editors have to do is considerable. And then I spend roughly a day on each paper, making sure it is ready to publish. That often involves going back to the author for further information, asking for page numbers for quoted text, asking for diagrams that are actually readable on screen, and so on. Clearly, from the comments I get from more experienced authors, they are not accustomed to this. Does this mean that journals are accepting digital text without further work?
The regular papers
This quarter, we have eight papers, which represent information-related research in a wide range of contexts: geographically, they range from Australia to Scotland, via Laos and Kuwait; and in the more limited environment of the research setting, from schools to businesses and the civil service.
The countries represented by the authors include Australia, Kuwait, Malaysia, South Korea, Turkey, and the USA, although, in fact, one of the authors apparently in Australia actually lives and works online from Scotland. Is this going to be a trend for the future, I wonder?
Two of the papers deal with information literacy: one in the case of Scottish school pupils on work experience exercises and the other concerned with school pupils in Loas. The problem of the availability (or, rather, non-availability) of learning resources is dominant in the latter, with policy changing according to the language of the aid countries.
As usual, information behaviour is a strong theme with papers on:
- the information activities of Australian men undergoing stressful life events such as the breakup of relationships, alcoholism, self-harm, and more;
- the contextual factors that affect the use and perception of information by civil servants; and
- information behaviour performance in a company.
Within the field of information behaviour, information searching is a key activity and we have a couple of papers in that area: the first deals with the searchers' perceptions of the affective character of images - a very problematic research area and the second with the kind of search enquiries that resulted in taking Australian Internet users to Wikipedia.
Finally, we have one paper in the field of information systems. It may not be generally understood that we do publish papers in the information systems field; but, for the simple reason that the areas of digital libraries, information management and information retrieval are increasingly associated with information systems, I think it is absolutely essential that we do so. The problem, of course, is to determine what kind of papers on information systems we should publish. We've had occasional 'discussions' among the editors about this and have come up with a formulation that says, essentially, that if the paper deals with information content within systems, or with user behaviour in relation to systems, then we shall review it. The paper here, on the Technology Acceptance Model is a little outside that remit, but we thought it broad enough in its scope to be worth putting out to review and, as the referees liked it, here it is.
The book reviews
In the user survey I did two or three years ago, the book review section was one that users frequently commented upon favourably and I have had e-mails suggesting that the feature is widely liked. Few scholarly journals in our field do much in the way of reviewing, and we do a lot, and cover a very diverse range of topics, offering a service to publishers and readers alike. The publishers enjoy the fact that, usually, they don't have to wait for a year or more before a review appears and the readers enjoy the range of topics covered.
This issue is no exception: we cover books on social network analysis software, HTML5 and CSS3, building a digital library, organizational ethnography and intranet development. If not something for everyone, then at least a variety to dip into. And, who knows, you might find something you'd missed and is essential to your work!
Finally, my thanks again to all those whose efforts make the journal possible: associate editors, copy-editors, and referees, along with my colleagues in Lund who maintain the server and the journal management system we use.
Professor Tom Wilson, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief