“History of a Broken Thing: The Multi-Journal Special Issue on Electronic Publication”


Eyman, Douglas, & Ball, Cheryl E. (forthcoming/2015?). History of a broken thing: The multi-journal special issue on electronic publication. In Bruce McComisky (Ed.), Microhistories of composition (pp. forthcoming as Chapter 4). Logan, UT: Utah State University Press.


This chapter looks closely at the summer, multi-journal special issue on electronic publishing, simultaneously published across five online journals in rhetoric and composition: Kairos, Enculturation, CCC Online, Academic.Writing, and The Writing Instructor. It traces how the same issues (and problems) in electronic publishing that were key in 2002, when this issue was published, are still relevant (and still problematic) today. By revisiting the major themes present in that multi-journal special issue — such as archiving, technical infrastructure, and tenure and review — we demonstrate how some online journals have addressed these issues and others have not, primarily through the example that, in the nearly 15 years since that issue was published, only one of the five journals publishing in it have remained online and accessible. Being editors of that journal, we conclude the chapter by proposing some best practices for sustaining webtext publishing that may be useful for others editing, publishing, or starting their own journals.

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