[TUHS] (no printed copy) (was (no subject))

Norman Wilson norman at oclsc.org
Wed Apr 7 01:15:27 AEST 2021

I'm not sure why people, even in a group devoted to history like
ours, focus so much on whether a journal is issued in print or
only electronically.  The latter has become more and more common.

On one hand, I too find that if something is available only
electronically I'm more likely to put off reading it, probably
because back issues don't pile up as visibly.

On the other, in recent years I've been getting behind in my
reading of periodicals of all sorts, and so far as I can tell
that has nothing to do with whether a given periodical arrives
on paper.  If anything, electronic access makes it more likely
I'll be able to catch up, because it's easier to carry a bunch
of back issues around on a USB stick or loaded into a tablet or
the like than to lug around lots of hardcopy.  The biggest
burden has been that imposed by PDF files, which are often
carefully constructed to be appallingly cumbersome to read
unless viewed on a letter-paper/A4-sized screen (or printed
out).  HTML used to be better, though the ninnies who design
web pages to look like magazine ads have spoiled a lot of
that over the years.

Since I often want to read PDF files when travelling (e.g.
conference proceedings while at the conference) I finally
invested in a large-screened tablet.

Even so, I have a big pile of back issues of ;login:, CACM
(until ACM's policies, having little to do with the journal,
recently drove me away), Rail Passenger Association News,
and Consumer Reports waiting to be read.  And sometimes I'm
months behind on this list.

My advice to those who find electronic-only publications
cumbersome is to invest in either a good tablet or a good
printer.  I have and use both.  There's no substitute for
a large, high-quality screen, and sometimes there's no
substitute for paper that I can flip back and forth, but
I'm fine with supplying those myself.

I'm still looking for a nice brass-bound leather tablet case,

Norman Wilson
Toronto ON

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