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Emerald journal news

Message from the outgoing editors, as they retire after 20 and 10 years respectively

By Elke Greifeneder and Michael Seadle

There are many reasons why journal editors change: sometimes the journal needs a boost, a new focus, or the editors have neglected their duties, or they wish to do something else, or a journal has a fixed editor term. Whatever the reason, it always results in a shift in the journal, because new editors have other thematic preferences, other networks, and other working styles.

Library Hi Tech began in 1983 at a time when many libraries still had card catalogs and were beginning the transition to online management systems. An open source system, NOTIS (Northwestern Online Totally Integrated System), was on its way to becoming the market leader. Personal computers were bulky, slow, and performed poorly by today's standards. Networks existed -- including the Internet and Bitnet -- but with limited access, except at leading universities. The publisher and founding editor of Library Hi Tech, C. Edward Wall, aimed to create a platform to explore the full range of new technologies involving libraries, and the editorial board reflected many of the best names in the field.

Running a publishing house while being editor had its limits, and in time Ed Wall brought on Donald Riggs, then the director of the University of Michigan Libraries, as his co-editor. Riggs was accustomed to association journals where the flow of papers was constant, and not to a journal where the editor had the obligation and also the opportunity to solicit articles from people of note. As the publication schedule began to fall behind, Ed Wall replaced Riggs with me, Michael Seadle, an older student who, at the time, was getting a masters in Library and Information Science at Michigan, but already had a doctorate, a computing background, and writing experience. The year was 1997.

When Emerald bought the journal a few years later, they asked me to remain as editor. One of the shifts I wanted to bring to Library Hi Tech in my function as editor was to seek more authors from outside the US, and to increase the emphasis on computing technology. In 2003 I asked Brad Eden to become associate editor, which he remained for five years, after which he began editing other Emerald Journals including the Bottom Line and what was then called OCLC Systems and Services.

Elke Greifeneder was another editor who started as a Masters student. I joined as assistant editor in 2006 soon after Michael Seadle accepted a professorship at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. After graduation in 2007, I moved up to associate and then in 2012 to co-editor, while finishing my doctorate, taking a professorship in Copenhagen, and then two years later returning to Berlin to a new professorship in Information Behavior. Under our joint editorship Library Hi Tech evolved rapidly to include a range of topics involving new technologies, social media, and ways of understanding how people experience information.

How has Library Hi Tech changed in our time as editors? Two areas stand out. One was the internationalization of the discourse about libraries and technology. South America was the only continent that did not regularly supply authors. The topics that Library Hi Tech promoted were not limited to North American or to European audiences. The board grew increasingly international, and the readership did as well.

The other accomplishment was the promotion of sets of themes that made the journal a place to go for certain topics. Among the early topics were library architecture and its relationship to technology, and barrier-free access to online content for those with visual impairments. Young professionals were the focus of several special issues, with the goal of encouraging younger members of the community to express their ideas. User research and technology have also been important themes. Perhaps the oldest and most persistent theme has been long term digital archiving, which has appeared primarily in the form of columns and invited articles.   

The journal shifted from being a niche journal in 1997 to becoming a serious publication option for researchers in Library and Information Science. From having an Impact Factor of 0.188 in 1997, the journal moved up to an Impact Factor of 0.798 in 2015. In 2016, the journal received 157 original submissions and had an acceptance rate of 38%.

We decided that 2016 would be our last year as editors of Library Hi Tech. Ten years and twenty years respectively have been a long time. We both have administrative duties for the School and the University that limit our time, and we have other academic projects that demand attention. We chose to stop at a point that made sense for us and for the journal.
Library Hi Tech’s past, present and future authors is the title of this last special issue that we publish in our capacity as editors of Library Hi Tech. We are proud and honored to have contributions from authors who have published regularly with us over the past 20 years. Authors like Michael Buckland, Jennifer Rowley, Joyce Ray and David Rosenthal have often written for Library Hi Tech, and have helped make this journal successful. We also have contributions from authors who have been on the editorial advisory board such as Joe Matthews, Eva Mendez, Judith Wusteman, Kenning Arlitsch, Steve O’Connor and Timothy Cole.

We have always wanted Library Hi Tech to be a journal for new authors, who will be tomorrow’s leading authors. Some of them such as Heather Moulaison have already been on our editorial advisory board, some of them have made an impact on Library Hi Tech by serving as guest editor like Heather Moorefield-Lang or by being the most cited or downloaded authors in the last years such as Lili Luo or Kuo-Lun Hsiao.

Editors shape a journal, but its most valuable resource are its authors. We wish to express our thanks to the excellent authors who have made Library Hi Tech a special place to publish and a valuable journal to read.The future of Library Hi Tech belongs to the new editor, Michelle Kazmer, but for today, dear reader, enjoy Library Hi Tech’s past, present and future authors’ articles.

See the full issue here;