December 1995 // Volume 33 // Number 6

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Editor's Page


It's difficult to believe that the electronic Journal of Extension is already two years old. When we took on the editorial operation, we really had little understanding of what it meant to publish a Journal electronically. However, through the efforts and dedication of a truly wonderful group of people, we have made a solid start in establishing the Journal as an innovative and relevant electronic publication that meets the needs of the Extension System. To give you a sense of how far we have come and where we're headed, I'd like to briefly recap some significant editorial and technical accomplishments.

In moving to the new electronic format, we had to completely revise the editorial process. This conversion took six months to complete. In addition, we began publishing six times per year (every two months) compared to four times per year in hard copy.

Even with a six-month delay in publishing (the first electronic issue was published in June, 1994), the volume of manuscripts submitted, processed, and published has remained about the same as the hard copy version. For example, to date 278 manuscripts have been processed since 1994 (this includes the six-month inactive conversion period). Sixty-seven manuscripts were published in the four issues for 1994 (June, August, October, December); 95 were published in 1995 (including this December issue). This represents about 16 manuscripts per issue (approximately 96 per year). The average number of manuscripts published per hard copy issue was 25 (100 per year). Based on these figures, it appears that the conversion to an electronic format has not seriously affected manuscript submissions and publication. In addition, we have achieved a manuscript submission to publication time of four to six months. We are particularly proud of this accomplishment. From an editorial perspective, the entire process has gone more smoothly than expected.

Users can access individual articles of the current issue or the Journal archive (which begins in electronic form with the Fall 1987 issue) by Almanac, gopher, and more recently the World Wide Web. Users can also perform full-text searches to locate articles in the Journal archive.

Future enhancements to the Journal will focus on its distribution on the World Wide Web. These include the addition of figures/charts/tables as graphic elements, and the markup of the text itself in HTML (the markup used by the World Wide Web). This system should still be able to serve users that access the Journal by Almanac and gopher in plain ASCII text. Other enhancements will involve the use of the bibliographic data to create indexes of articles or searches by author and other attributes.

As you can see, we have come a long way in two years. However, we still have many challenges and opportunities before us.

I must acknowledge a large group of dedicated Extension professionals who I have had the opportunity of working with over the past two years to make the electronic Journal of Extension a reality. In particular, I would like to thank the Journal Board for giving me their guidance and full support as we moved into this new arena. Jim Summers, Missouri (1994 Board President), Kathy Treat, New Mexico (1995 Board President), and Judith Jones, Virginia (1996 Board President) were simply delightful to work with. The technical support people (Dirk Herr-Hoyman, Independent Consultant, Patrick Robinson, Virginia Tech, Tom McAnge, Virginia Tech) worked with us every step of the way to make the electronic Journal happen.

In addition, the Editorial Committee, under the leadership of Emmett Fiske, Washington, made the transition to the electronic format very easily. Their hard work and dedication in our new environment is much appreciated. I must also thank all the manuscript authors we have worked with over the past two years. Overall, they responded wonderfully in making the change to our new electronic format. Finally, I especially need to acknowledge the exemplary work of Teresa McCoy Hypes, Assistant Editor and Cheryl Kieliszewski, Editorial Assistant. I would have been truly lost without their extraordinary support and assistance. There are no two more creative, caring, and dedicated professionals than Teresa and Cheryl. Working with them over the past two years has been a joy that I will always cherish.

As editor, I have had the opportunity to talk to many people around the country about the Journal. At first, they invariably lament the passing of the hard copy Journal. However, as the discussion continues about our new electronic format, they see and get excited about the possibilities. I feel confident that the electronic Journal of Extension will continue to evolve and grow.

I end my term as editor with a sense of pleasure, pride, and disappointment. I am especially pleased that the electronic Journal has come such a long way in such a short period of time. I am also proud that when given the challenge of converting the Journal of Extension to an electronic publication, Virginia Tech came through with flying colors. My only disappointment is in having to disengage from the challenging and critically important responsibility as editor of the Journal of Extension. Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed my term as editor and leave knowing the Journal is in good hands.

New Journal of Extension Editor

I am pleased to announce that the new editor of the Journal of Extension for 1996-97 is Leonard (Len) Calvert, Oregon State University Extension communication specialist emeritus. Len comes to the editor's position fresh from nearly 30 years in Extension communications. His tenure ranged from the manual typewriter to the computer. As a specialist, Len was responsible for agent training as well as writing news releases, brochures, and other materials. His work and leadership have received numerous awards from Agriculture Communicators in Education, Epsilon Sigma Phi, and Oregon State University Extension Association. Len indicated that he is excited about the opportunity to remain part of the Extension System through the Journal. He hopes to make the Journal an even more important vehicle for the exchange of information and ideas among Extension workers.

Congratulations Len and much success in your tenure as editor!