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Editors’ Choice: Ensuring the Future of the Digital Scholarly Record

Strange as it now seems, it was not that long ago that scholarship was not digital. Writing a dissertation in the 1990s was done on a computer and took full advantage of the latest suite of word-processing tools available (that a graduate student could afford). And it certainly was a world away from the typewritten dissertations of the 1950s, requested at the university library and pored over in  reading rooms. Yet these were tools to create physical items not much different than those dissertations of the previous forty, fifty or a hundred years. That sense of completion and accomplishment came with the bound copy of the dissertation taken from the bookbinders or with the offprints of the article sent in the post by the journal publisher. Now, instead of using digital tools to create a physical item, we create a digital item. From this digital item we might make a physical copy but that is no longer a necessary endpoint. Once we have created the digital item encompassing our scholarly work, it can be complete. Now when we talk of the scholarly record, we talk of the digital scholarly record, for they are almost entirely one and the same.

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