Editorial June 2013
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose, and here at Choice the time has come for me to say farewell. On or about the end of June, I will take my final leave of the editor and publisher’s corner office. Nearly eighteen years after I first came to Choice in the summer of 1995, the time has come to move on. If all goes well, shortly after ALA Annual I will officially join the ranks of that endangered American species, the voluntary retiree.
It is an odd feeling, sitting here at my desk, glancing at the familiar view of Main Street outside, and realizing that these surroundings will shortly be history. It is even odder to realize that these years at Choice represent the concluding chapter of a publishing career that has spanned more than four decades. It has in many ways been an “accidental career,” one that evolved in the absence of any sophisticated planning on my part. It is easy to imagine a different set of choices that would have resulted in a different path, and yet somehow it all worked out.
My years at Choice have been years of great change in academic publishing. In August of 1995, the Choice publication family consisted of the magazine and Reviews on Cards, while print subscriptions and ad sales accounted for 95 percent of Choice’s total revenues. The 1995 Choice family of publications and business model were essentially unchanged from the 1960s. To be sure, there had been many internal changes. By 1995, Choice had already converted to desktop publishing, was creating, editing, and storing its reviews in a second generation database, and had installed its first office LAN. While these changes had, up to that point, little visible impact on Choice’s business model or publishing program, they helped set the stage for things to come.
The biggest driver of the changes that followed, not only here at Choice but throughout the larger academic publishing community, was the emergence of the World Wide Web. By 1995, the Web had already begun to reshape the world of publishing, and Choice followed suit. Among the post-1995 changes at Choice, the following stand out:
- August 1997: Choice publishes first reviews of Internet Resources
- April 1999: Launch of Choice Reviews Online 1.0 following a one-year beta test
- April 2001: Launch of the new Choice Reviewer Web Site
- Fall 2002: Launch of Site License Edition of Choice Reviews Online
- September 2006: Launch of Resources for College Libraries, the sequel to BCL3, copublished with R. R. Bowker
- January 2007: Launch of Choice Reviews Online 2.0
- Spring 2013: Launch of Choice Reviews Online 3.0,Resources for College Libraries 2.5¸ and the new ACRL/CHOICE Webinar series
Clearly Choice has come a long way since 1995. As the journey continues during the coming years, I will follow it with great interest. But now, dear friends, the time has come to wish you, my successor, and the colleagues to whom I must now bid farewell, the very best. Like the Dude in The Big Lebowski, may we all abide.—IER