We start our twenty-third year of publication in interesting times, wondering what the master of 'fake news' in the White House will do next, and what will happen when he gets together with that other news manipulator for North Korea. In Europe, we have the potential impact of Brexit (no, we haven't actully left the Union just yet), wondering how it will affect the student and faculty exchange programmes that have been enormously beneficial in higher education, and how research in the UK will cope without access to the research programmes of the EU.

The last point is quite a critical one: participation in European projects is time-consuming and the bureaucracy is often frustrating, but it brings resources into institutions at a time when national resources in a number of places are in decline. One can see the impact of that decline most clearly in the UK: once upon a time the fields of librarianship and information science had their own research funding agency, the British Library Research and Development Department, and when that disappeared it was replaced for a short time by a special Committee of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, now that has disappeared, and researchers in the field must compete with all disciplines in one or other of the Research Councils.

At the same time, with the Government's austerity policy (which is still to extract millions of pounds from public services over the next few years), public libraries have lost job positions (two years ago it was reported that 8,000 had gone) and, as a direct result, the market for undergraduate programmes in librarianship and information science has pretty well disappeared. As a result more information schools and departments have closed, or have been merged with other departments, usually as the junior member, with the consequent loss of positions, and a further decline in capacity.

If this was not enough, we now have forecasts of the changes likely to be wrought by developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning. If ever there was a time to think about the future of research and education in the information field, this is it.

In this issue

When I began to put this issue together I had four papers, three weeks later, we have nine—the result of the Regional Editors prodding authors to get their papers in. The result is the usual diverse set of papers: two deal with Website design; one dealing with public libraries in Australia, the other with educational institutions in Croatia, compared with those in other parts of the world. Three papers deal with the use of online information sources and two of these specifically with Wikipedia; one from the point of view of the trustworthiness of what is found there, and the other with the roles and responsibilities of Wikipedia editors. The third in this category deals with the use of online information in school assignments.

The remaining four papers all deal with different topics: information asset management, altmetrics, extreme long-term management of information on nuclear waste, and academic papers featured on ResearchGate. In other words, something for practically everyone; and I imagine that it will not have escaped notice that all of the papers deal with information in digital form - we now rarely get papers that deal with the old fashioned, paper-based kind.

Book reviews

We have the usual interesting assortment of books under review in this issue, ranging from the very interesting, Bit by bit. Social research in the digital age (which I recommend to anyone interested in doing online research), to an illustrated history of the Library of Congress. A number of the leading journals in the field no longer print book reviews (as we discovered when we drew up a list for publicising our own book), but will shall keep on doing


As this issue was being assembled I was hit by a 'flu virus that my earlier vaccination didn't offer protection against. As a result, not all of the papers have had a final check: however, I thought it best to get them online for publication date, rather than have to miss the date for the first time in 23 years. They will be checked and revised when I am well, so if you find any errors, please let me know.

Finally, but by no means least, our thanks to our many referees, who fit reviewing into their already busy lives; to the Regional Editors who process the papers, and to our copy-editors, who try to ensure that the papers are intelligible!

Professor Tom Wilson
Editor in Chief
March, 2018