Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Michigan Engineer in a Digital Format?

We’ve always thought that Michigan Engineer would evolve into an electronic publication -- not too soon, but someday. Now it appears that the transition in the larger publications world is happening faster than we had anticipated.

Major newspapers and magazines have been migrating slowly to digital editions, but the current economic crisis has accelerated that move. Aside from the cost of printing and paper, there’s an increasing environmental concern – print publications are consuming trees and creating waste (although recycling has had a positive impact).

Moving from a print to a digital format is something that folks at Michigan Engineer have talked about a good deal, but we’ve received only a handful of letters about dispensing with a print Michigan Engineer. Now we're thinking about it more than before. What do you think? Would you like to read Michigan Engineer in a digital format – on the web or as a PDF? We’d like to know.
If you care to do some reading on the topic, Ziming Liu, a professor of library and information studies at San José State University has an excellent book, “Paper to Digital,” and a slew of journal papers. His bottom line is no surprise: An increasing amount of time is spent reading electronic documents, and “a screen-based reading behavior is emerging.” But it’s been gradual. Generally speaking, he concludes that younger people like to read digital publications; older people prefer print. Interestingly, those in-between like to receive things in a digital format, but they print everything out and read it that way.

1 comment:

Al said...

I'd suggest including an electronic survey asking: Would you like to see Michigan Engineer change to an all digital/online format. With choices either Yes or No.