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Volume 46, Number 1

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by Cy Dillon

Just a bit over four years ago Publications Committee Chair Rebecca Laine and VLA President Linda Farynk asked me if I would take over editing this magazine. A controversial name change left the job open, and I was delighted to be in a position to put my rusting editorial skills to work helping an organization that had been good for me since the first day I worked in a library. Can you forgive my inescapable impulse to look back fondly at what has happened to Virginia Libraries since then?

The former editors were both gracious and organized, and the transition was easier than expected. Soon there was a new, enthusiastic Editorial Board, great support from Linda and the VLA Council, a budget large enough to expand the journal's modest size, and nationaln-'if not flattering-publicity about the new name. I quickly found that working with authors meant that the editor met interesting librarians from all over the Commonwealth, that the Editorial Board had enough contacts to keep the supply of articles adequate for years, and that VLA members actually read and cared about the journal. All this was more than enough motivation to drive me to put the routine of prospecting, writing, editing, and proof reading at the center of my professional life. I have often sat, as I am sitting now, finding time in the middle of a vacation to pound a notebook computer and make some progress on the next issue.

During the first year we learned that longer articles on timely issues and interviews appealed to our readers more than surveys or opinion pieces-though one positive comment to me on a column tends to outweigh a hundred yawns. But the editorializing urge has been kept in check so that writers with important things to say can have sufficient space. Some of my favorite pieces include interviews with writers such as Sharon McCrumb, public figures such as Fran Buckley, and librarians such as Harry Kriz. On the other hand, pieces on new facilities, good programs, or successful partnerships have also been among the highlights of the past four years. The magazine is now consciously more oriented toward preserving a record of important events and people in Virginia's library community.

The extended coverage of the Annual Conference and the Paraprofessional Forum's nationally recognized conference are significant in the creation of this record, so I have to stop a moment to recognize the wide variety of reporters who have dutifully filed articles on conference events. The remarkable photographs of Pierre Courteous are also essential to our coverage, and plans are in the works to make copies of published and unpublished conference photos available for purchase as well as to preserve them in an archive. For the time being, the published shots are available from the Web version of Virginia Libraries, linked from the VLA Homepage, and made possible by Virginia Tech.

Speaking of technology, the rapid adoption of e-mail, the Worldwide Web, and electronic publishing by the library community has coincided with my time as editor, so that all the rules of submission and publication have been happily tossed out the window. Instead of duplicate copies of double-spaced typing, we ask for articles as attachments to or text of an e-mail message. We still take articles on disk, but that slows things down, and can present its own problems. Most of our content is never printed on paper until it is ready to go to Jon Marken, our graphic design wizard in Meherrin. Jon, too, has come to prefer files to paper, but he uses hard copy to be sure of textual format such as italics. All this suits me much better than having to re-type articles. In the days before Ferrum had OCR scanning available, we sometimes had to key in whole articles for reasons as simple as being in a Macintosh format my computer was too old to translate. From that beginning we have moved to the point that we have the luxury of deciding if we want the Web version to include supplementary photographs, including color, and all manner of other features such as streaming video of keynote speakers.

I will leave those decisions to new editor Andrea Kross and the excellent Publications Committee led by Barbie Selby. They are up to the task, and the future of the magazine looks very bright, even if I do expect to contribute a few more articles. After a couple of lean years, the leadership of Linda Hahne and the VLA officers has provided a stable financial foundation for Virginia Libraries. Also, the Association is on the verge of developing a comprehensive advertising program that will balance out advertising and allow more efficient use of space from issue to issue.

Do I have regrets? Well, there were a few typos that got past me including the mistake corrected in this issue, and I never did do that writer's interview with Dabney Stuart, who taught me to really care about how things are written. Otherwise it has been a great experience, allowing me to have the fun of producing a handsome magazine while piously pretending to do it for the good of the Virginia Library Association and the Old Dominion.

This leaves me the last, quite pleasant duty of thanking those who have helped build and preserve the success of Virginia Libraries. In no particular order, I want to thank the past four VLA Presidents for letting me serve, Linda Hahne for paying the bills on time, Becky Laine for good advice and great writing, John Kneebone for a productive relationship with the Publications and Education arm of the Library of Virginia, Joe Carter and Rich Sours at Ferrum for their support and the fine equipment, Julie Campbell for the persistent excellence of the book reviews, Nan Seamans for the infusion of energy as Associate Editor and for the Virginia Tech connection, Gail McMillian for making our digital dream a reality, Steve Helm for his vision and technical expertise, Barbie Selby for all the articles she has recruited (not to mention the sandwiches), dozens of authors and reporters for the good copy, hundreds of readers for paying attention, and finally Karen Dillon for doing everything from writing to helping me catch the cows when they get through the water gap.


In Volume 45, No. 4 of Virginia Libraries, there were several editorial errors in the interview with Harry Kriz.

First, Harry's last name is Kriz, not Kritz, as printed in the headline and picture caption for the article.

In addition, the following biographical information was omitted: Harry Kriz is Director of Interlibrary Services in the University Libraries at Virginia Tech. He received his undergraduate degree in physics from Drew University, his PhD in physics from Brown University, and his MLS from the University of Pittsburgh. He began his library career at West Virginia University. He has been at Virginia Tech in various management positions since 1980.

In May 1996, Harry was assigned to manage Tech's interlibrary loan services. That summer he hired Jason Glover into the ILL Department to "do something about all this paper." Jason conceived ILLiad and developed it as a total software model of the interlibrary loan process. Kevin Ford, borrowing supervisor at that time, made a significant contribution by describing the department's borrowing process in a highly detailed flowchart. Others in the department built many of the Web pages that were later integrated into the public face of ILLiad. Jason is now vice president of Atlas Systems, Inc., a Virginia Beach software company that markets and continues to enhance ILLiad. As a library manager, Harry claims credit only for creating within the ILL Department the conditions that produced the extraordinary achievement that is ILLiad.

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