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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
Fall 2011

Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship at 20: A Reflection

Andrea L. Duda
Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship

Copyright 2011, Andrea L. Duda. Used with permission.

With this issue, Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship celebrates both its 15th and 20th anniversaries.

In December 1991 Harry LLull, then of the University of New Mexico, sent out the first issue of ISTL. He expressed the hope that through this new means of communication, the editors would be able to address issues of concern to science and technology librarians in a timely and spontaneous way. Twenty years later, we still cling to that hope.

In 1996 the STS Publications Committee recruited new members for the ISTL editorial board and named Andrea Duda as editor. Her first order of business was to move ISTL to the web.

The mid-1990s were an exciting time for publishers and potential publishers. The gopher was giving way to the World Wide Web; between these two Internet protocols many individuals, groups, and institutions were starting to publish newsletters and journals with free worldwide access.

Many of those early e-journals published one or two issues before disappearing. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship is now celebrating 15 years of publishing on the web. Our goal from the beginning was to make solid information freely available to readers and that goal continues.

One of our early goals was to have ISTL indexed by the major indexing services. We wanted the articles to be easily found by researchers and practitioners. One of the first indexes we approached was Library Literature. At the time the editors had some questions about indexing electronic journals, including how stable such journals were. They concluded that electronic journals were the wave of the future and decided to index Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship along with other titles. I remember the Midwinter meeting after they made this decision. I stopped at the H.W. Wilson booth in the exhibit hall to get a list of the journals indexed by Library Literature. It was with great joy that I then went to the ISTL editorial board meeting and shared the flyer showing the publications indexed. With our articles now accessible through a well-known indexing service, ISTL was a full-fledged library journal. Today more readers find our articles through Google than any other source, but we're still proud to be indexed by the traditional indexing services.

The early issues of ISTL included a number of articles written by members of the editorial board and the colleagues they were able to convince to write for the journal. After a relatively short period of time we began to develop themes for issues as a way of making it easier to recruit and encourage people to write for ISTL. Our last issue with a theme came in Winter 2009. By that time we were receiving enough inquiries that we opened up the journal to articles on all topics in every issue.

Adding the refereed articles section to ISTL is one of our best moves. It provided a place for people to publish the articles they needed for promotion and tenure. It has proven so successful that we have published several issues with only refereed articles.

Editing Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship for the past 15 years has been a joy. The editorial board is hard working, dedicated, and always looking out for the best interests of our readers and authors. I speak for all of the editors when I say that we look forward to the future of ISTL.

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