Reflections Of A Modern Dinosaur

I was very disappointed by the disappearance of the print edition of the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association.  Remember? That was in December 2003!

Since then, several other journals have disappeared from mail boxes. The good news? Fewer unread journals gathering dust in our offices. And fewer killed trees.

The bad news? Probably less circulation, obviously less sharing within clinics, possibly less readership. I suspect that many people read a journal whenever they have a break, between consultations, before bedtime or maybe even on the (ahem) throne.

The same feeling of disappointment was recently expressed by Colin F. Burrows, an internist at the University of Florida vet school and Editor in Chief of the excellent Clinician’s Brief journal (January 2010 editorial). Our colleague wondered if that feeling makes him a dinosaur.

Many of his readers say they are proud to be dinosaurs, too:

  • .A vet in NewYork: “I find reading off a computer screen difficult and tiring. … Half of my journal reading is done spur of the moment.”
  • A vet in Pennsylvania: “Most of my reading is done late at night or during short, slow spells at the office.”
  • A vet in New Jersey:  “It is so much easier to sit in a chair or bed, or on an airplane or train … with a magazine instead of a computer.”
  • A vet in Colorado, commenting on an article full of pictures of urinary crystals: “I removed it and put it up in the lab, next to the microscope.”

You get the idea.

As I explained in the April 2009 issue of Veterinary Practice News (“Organize Your References in 10 Easy Steps”), I tear out articles, staple them and organize them in folders by topic.

Now, with the online-only journals, I have to find the website, remember my username, remember my password, find the article I’m interested in and print it. Sometimes, viewing and printing figures and pictures requires opening several other pages. Since most journal articles are printed on both sides of a page, a 10-page article typically fits on five pages. If I need to print it, that would be 10 pages, correct?  Unless I want to spend 20 minutes printing on both sides of pages.

So I guess I’m a dinosaur, too, because I dislike online journals.

That said, I can’t live without the Internet. I love Medline and Wikipedia and Internet banking. I’m addicted to e-mail, manage my own website, write a weekly email-based newsletter and write blogs. I even played with Twitter for a while (and promptly stopped). And of course, I’m on Facebook and LinkedIn. And several Yahoo groups.

Maybe that makes me a modern dinosaur.

How do you feel about the disappearance of print journals?

03/29/2010 – I Don’t Want to Put Him Through This

03/15/2010 – Who cares about the diagnosis?

03/01/2010 – Feed Them and They Will Come

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