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D-Lib Magazine
October 2003

Volume 9 Number 10

ISSN 1082-9873

The More Things Change

The underlying needs of information users remain the same even while the means of fulfilling those needs continually changes.

In her opinion piece 1 in this issue of D-Lib Magazine, Geneva Henry (Executive Director, Digital Library Initiative, Rice University), discusses new and potential models for sharing and disseminating knowledge—in particular, those models that lead to more rapid knowledge creation, exchange and use. She points to projects currently underway for collaborative knowledge creation resulting in interactive content where works are not self-contained, but "come much closer to approximating a dialog, engaging consumers in the work by inviting feedback and allowing them to derive new works from ideas expressed online." She questions whether commercial and society publishers are keeping pace with the new opportunities provided by these advances. Within this changing landscape, however, Henry acknowledges that information consumers continue to need assurance that the information they access is legitimate—a need currently met through the process of peer review facilitated by publishers and that will have to be met in the future by the new and emerging models.

In his D-Lib article2 (also in this issue) Voker Titel, a researcher at the Institute for Book Science, University of Erlangen, considers the implications when "a typical book-type volume is designed to be networked and includes multi-media." He points out that even though it would seem booksellers and publishing houses could be bypassed now that there are new means by which authors can independently release electronic books, those booksellers and publishing houses that adapt their processes to accommodate electronic media are continuing to thrive, that is, they seem to still fulfill an underlying need, and if they accommodate the new technologies, they can continue to fulfill that need into the future.

New information-related technologies push on organizational structures—as new technologies always have—but generally in evolutionary rather than revolutionary ways. For example, issues of D-Lib Magazine are released on a regular schedule, even though the technology would allow articles to be made available as soon as they are received from authors. Our readers seem to want that. So, D-Lib has used the Internet to improve delivery—as have other journals—but has kept the "bundle of articles" model. Adapting to new technologies, however, will be a continuing process, and we will incorporate those that help us better meet the information needs of our readers.

Bonita Wilson

[1] Henry, Geneva. "On-line Publishing in the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities," D-Lib Magazine, 9(10), October 2003. Available at <doi:10.1045/october2003-henry>.

[2] Titel, Volker. "The Digital Book: A Medial Revolution without a New Media," D-Lib Magazine, 9(10), October 2003. Available at <doi:10.1045/october2003-titel>.


Copyright© 2003 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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DOI: 10.1045/october2003-editorial