“We are in the throes of a transition where every publication has to think of their digital strategy.” — Bill Gates, 2006
Technology has become an integral part of our everyday lives and it will continue to influence our society in the future. Over the years, technology has changed how information is communicated and society in general has embraced the increased role that it plays in our everyday lives.
Our journal has a long history. Regular communication with the membership has always been a priority for PHE Canada. Originally released as the Bulletin in 1933, the publication was mimeographed (old-fashioned copy machine using stencils) and published three times a year, and was the only regular cross-country link between teachers and the association. In its early beginnings, the Bulletin consisted of reports from provincial branches, accounts of local events and articles perceived to be of interest to members, as well as reports on the conferences (known as conventions, then). In 1937, the Bulletin changed from a mimeographed format to a print format, which was a more formal newspaper layout. The Bulletin struggled in the early 1950s, mostly due to financial reasons and low membership numbers. June 1951 was the last time the Bulletin was published.
In late October of 1952, acknowledging the importance of a publication, the first issue of the Journal was published. But it didn’t happen easily. The publication staff experienced the usual problems of getting the material typed, finding the cheapest way to mail the Journal to its members and of course, meeting deadlines. The editor, though, was able to get a few companies to become sponsors, which help defray some of the costs. The biggest concern at the time was the lack of a professional look. Over the years, many changes were made, not just to improve the look of the Journal, but also to reduce the cost of production.
To this day, publishing the Journal in a timely fashion and at a reasonable cost continues to be a challenge. The Journal is still a primary means of communication and very much valued, but the use of print journals is decreasing. Today, many people prefer to access content online, even when that information is available in print, as well.
Electronic transformation of information is not just more common — it’s expected. It is a more efficient and a more timely way to get information out to the membership.
I like technology. Since the age of 14, I have also had a great passion for photography. Not only has technology helped me improve as a photographer and how I display my work, it has also helped me share my photos with family, friends and peers. Not only is my iPad full of photos taken during my trips to various parts of the world, it is also full of digital-format photography magazines and Apps — always there, at the tip of my fingers. Thanks to technology, I can work, learn and share wherever and whenever I want. Things that are not possible to do with print journals are among the best features of electronic journals.
As I sit in my office and glance up at my bookshelf where almost 20 years of our journals are neatly lined up, I dream of a revamped digital publication that can provide videos, interactive 3-D displays, links to text, tables, figures, references and even the author’s website or blog.
Yes, our Journal is finally coming of age.