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.

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.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Engineering Change

People have to deal with change – some of it by necessity, some of it by choice. Post 9/11 travelers wait in long lines at airports to undergo examination. Adults, forced by a faltering economy to move from one job to another, accustom themselves to new management styles. Their kids, who transfer from one school to another, have to make an entirely new set of friends. Shopping at macys.com rather than a bricks-and-mortar Macy’s is radically different but, more and more, the only way to purchase certain items. Using an ATM for cash is easier than stopping at a bank but requires people to trust the accuracy of a machine. Communicating by email is more efficient that using snail mail. Cellphones have become more of a necessity but make people available for constant contact – private time seems to be vanishing.

It’s clear that today’s constant is change. And a quick look shows that technology is a prime mover in many of those changes – for better or worse, engineers often make life difficult in the short run, but better over the long haul. In either case, they’re at the leading edge of progress.

Engineers change the world.

Engineering Change

People have to deal with change – some of it by necessity, some of it by choice. Post 9/11 travelers wait in long lines at airports to undergo examination. Adults, forced by a faltering economy to move from one job to another, accustom themselves to new management styles. Their kids, who transfer from one school to another, have to make an entirely new set of friends. Shopping at macys.com rather than a bricks-and-mortar Macy’s is radically different but, more and more, the only way to purchase certain items. Using an ATM for cash is easier than stopping at a bank but requires people to trust the accuracy of a machine. Communicating by email is more efficient that using snail mail. Cellphones have become more of a necessity but make people available for constant contact – private time seems to be vanishing.

It’s clear that today’s constant is change. And a quick look shows that technology is a prime mover in many of those changes – for better or worse, engineers often make life difficult in the short run, but better over the long haul. In either case, they’re at the leading edge of progress.

Engineers change the world.