It is always good to receive comment on Update's content and the delivery channels we are using to deliver it to members. We introduced a digital edition to complement the hard-copy magazine in October 2008. It was a first step. This year we have added web-only issues with video and audio content (impossible in print). We’ve also built up a two-year digital archive. And we are publishing more frequently, despite having to cut our costs significantly.I'm keeping myself anonymous on this blog for the time being as I'm new to blogging (those coming in fresh from elsewhere might not know that I've taken this up as part of Cam23) and I'd rather make my mistakes without my name all over them for the time being. If you would like to know who I am, you can always email me at maedchenimmond at gmail dot com.
Update's digital edition enables us to keep publishing despite the recession. The web-only issues significantly reduce our print and distribution costs. You personally may prefer a digital issue, but many of our readers do not. They say they already spend so much of their time at computer screens. That is why we have introduced the option for members and subscribers to download a PDF copy. Those who prefer can read the magazine at their leisure.
Update's turn-the-page digital offering is a format publishers worldwide are using. It offers the opportunity to develop apps that allow download to iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices, so we are in good company.
We are also investigating how we can launch an app as we respond to members’ requests for access via mobile devices. However, as with all such developments, cost is an issue. In our current economic circumstances we need to be sure any such development delivers real value and is not just 'nice to have.'
Of course, cost efficiency is a key driver for CILIP at present, and developing database-driven online information services is frighteningly expensive. The Guardian website, for example, may be a dream to use but it has cost a fortune. CILIP just does not have the resources to match this type of service, but it is using one of the UK's leading developers for its digital offerings and they are being enhanced all the time. Just look at the difference between the new web-only digital issues (lots of links to facilitate navigation, video and audio content) and the archive copies (a simple facsimile of the original print edition).
We have a strong and dedicated readership for the hard copy magazine and are building up a significant readership for our new web-only issues too, which have been well received, and praised by some members. They especially appreciate the quality content we provide. Where we can, we have taken their views into account and made many changes to the initial offering. It is not perfect, but every issue is better than the last.
Taking into account the options available, and our current cost constraints, we believe we are on the right track. We do hope that if you read the content, you will find it of increasing value to you - whatever the delivery platform.
By the way, who are you? Shouldn't you have the courage of your convictions and identify yourself? We do!
Elspeth Hyams, Editor, Library and Information Update
Thursday, 1 July 2010
CILIP Update: Elspeth Hyams responds
Yesterday, the last day of the CILIP conversation, I posted some thoughts about the online version of Update, CILIP's monthly professional magazine. This morning I received an email from Elspeth Hyams, editor of Update, asking if I would consider posting the following text, and I am happy to do so.