Search   |   Back Issues   |   Author Index   |   Title Index   |   Contents



D-Lib Magazine
January 2003

Volume 9 Number 1

ISSN 1082-9873


Looking Ahead

There are several things about this time of year that conspire to make one reflect on the year just past and consider plans and goals for the coming year. The month on the calendar has gone back to the number 1, while volume numbers on many periodicals (like D-Lib) move up one notch. At most academic institutions, a new term is starting, and in many organizations it's time to provide annual reports and reviews, which often also includes stating future plans and objectives.

Last week, a colleague showed me a clever letter1 he received from Christopher Burns, a well-known publishing and information industry consultant, in which Burns looks at planning and the need to allow some room, what he called "wobble", in those plans. He wrote, "If you really know where you are going, the occasional detours, the momentary retreats, the awkward surprises often result in amazing insights."

This reminded me of something I'd just seen on a videotaped interview2 of the eminent scientist and author Edward O. Wilson, in which Wilson reflected on how scientific research advances. He used the analogy that making discoveries was like taking a boat out on the water. "You have to hug the coast a little bit or you will become lost, yet you can't hug it too closely or you'll fall off the edge of the earth. That is, you will become totally unrealistic, or else your thinking will be too far from what everyone else is thinking, and they won't be able to understand or appreciate your thinking."

Wilson also referred to what Charles Darwin called "the tangled bank", the great diversity of plants and animals from which sense could be discerned only by looking back at the tangled bank through the prism of new theories of evolution and natural selection.

In 2002, D-Lib Magazine published 46 articles on digital library research and development. When added to the 337 articles published between July 1995 and December 2001, this makes a total of 383 archived articles available for viewing as a "tangled bank" of digital library research information.

It is the policy of this magazine not to plan too far ahead what articles and items will appear; we don't have an editorial calendar, as such. This "wobble" built into the magazine's plans for upcoming issues is deliberate, leaving room to report on late breaking digital library developments and new perspectives in the field. So stay tuned, and we'll do our best to navigate our way through another interesting and useful year of D-Lib Magazine.

Bonita Wilson

[1] Burns, Christopher. Personal communication. January 1, 2003.

[2] Edward O. Wilson: Reflections on a Life in Science. Produced by Bruce Baird-Middleton for the Film Study Center, Harvard University and Harvard University Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1990.


Copyright© 2003 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

Contents | First Article
Home | E-mail the Editor


DOI: 10.1045/january2003-editorial