Reflections on Editing the WESS Newsletter

By Sarah Wenzel

WESS Newsletter
Fall 2006
Vol. 30, no. 1

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As far as I'm concerned, the best part of being the WESS newsletter editor (in addition to being the first person to read Dick Hacken's column) is the opportunity to work with such a diverse group of colleagues covering a wealth of topics.  My education about the section and our fields, which had already been enhanced by reading the Newsletter, grew by leaps and bounds as I edited the publication.

I think I can safely say that the editor's state of mind depends a great deal upon the good will of the contributors and the vagaries of PageMaker.  I am extremely grateful for the patience and assistance of faithful column editors, ever-helpful webmaster & generous contributors -- not to mention the forbearance of readers for errors & layout mishaps.

My tenure as editor can safely be described as uneventful (excepting every time I tried to convince the software to vary the format whatsoever).  The production was entirely computer-based and the leap to a web issue had already been made.   There were no innovations on my watch.

However, it was noteworthy for the continuing deliberations among the section and with ALA about the role of print vs. e-newsletters.  Over my thee-year term, WESS as a section continued to express our belief in the necessity of a print newsletter, which gave me the challenge of arguing our case to ALA for maintaining a low-tech and snail-mailed version at a time when budget and changes in readership were making a uniquely e-newsletter more and more appealing to them.

A fairly momentous (to my mind) decision was made at a Publications Committee meeting in 2003 that, in response to budget pressures and a wonderfully rich number of longer and worthwhile contributions, beginning with Vol 27 of the Newsletter the version of record would be the on-line version.  The luddite (and preservationist) in me mourns, while the techie (and experimenter) rejoices.   May the next thirty years of the Newsletter continue to promote -- and preserve -- the best of WESS.


Editor: Paul Vermouth

Association of College & Research Libraries
©American Library Association

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