When the first issue of the American Journal of Archaeology was published in 1897 (continuing the American Journal of Archaeology and of the History of the Fine Arts [1885–1896]), Queen Victoria of England was planning her Diamond Jubilee, Bram Stoker’s Dracula had its first printing, radio was in its infancy, the Dewey Decimal System was only 20 years old, and the word “computer” was used for the first time to refer to a mechanical calculator.
Today, we carry computers in our pockets, a scholar in Australia can talk face-to-face with a colleague in New York City, and the contents of the world’s libraries are migrating online. These are exciting times. And though some fear the death of print, we at the AJA embrace technology. We believe that digital access is a convenient and affordable option for many people but acknowledge that some readers will always prefer to hold the physical object. We seek to please both camps and to bring you the highest quality publication, whether in the electronic or paper medium.
Two of the greatest gifts publishing technology has given us are preservation and access. Every issue of the Journal, from 1885 to the most recent, is preserved in perpetuity in a carefully managed and secure electronic archive; every issue, too, is accessible via JSTOR at www.jstor.org/r/amerjarch. Even if you do not subscribe to the journal or are not affiliated with a university that has a subscription, you can visit JSTOR for free access to all AJA content published prior to 1923; individual articles published from 1924 to the present are available for purchase. Additionally, the AJA website has a great deal of open-access content. Go to the Open Access section to explore book reviews, museum reviews, select articles, and supplemental material that corresponds with print-publication content.
Until recently, the divide between publisher and reader did not allow for the level of interaction available today. We strive to take advantage of current technologies to bridge that distance and to drive continuing discussion and debate about archaeology. Visitors to the AJA website can use the comment fields attached to our book reviews and select articles to ask questions and offer supporting or conflicting ideas. In addition, we have a Facebook page where we post news from the Journal and from the AIA, as well as general archaeological content. We also have a group on LinkedIn where scholars, professionals, and anyone with an interest in the field can connect and join informal discussions.
In February, we will launch a new section on the website directed specifically to students (www.ajaonline.org/students). This area will be appropriate for students of all ages, from high school to graduate school and beyond. Our goal is for it to be an accessible starting point for research—a place to learn about a career in archaeology or about submitting your first academic article—and it will include a collection of helpful, trusted links. We hope eventually to add podcasts, webinars, and other interactive content that will bring archaeological scholarship to life. Even if you have no academic training in archaeology, just a keen interest in the subject, it will be a place to explore the basics of the field. If there is anything in particular you would like to see in this section, please contact the AJA Director of Publishing. It will grow in response to user feedback.
We are constantly fine-tuning our website to improve usability. If you notice any problems or are having trouble finding anything, please contact the Electronic Content Editor with your concerns.
We hope you are enjoying the Journal’s online features and are as excited as we are about the future of electronic publishing. Our goal is to place the AJA at the forefront of innovation, and we are grateful to our readers and contributors for making that possible.
Naomi J. Norman
Electronic Content Editor
A Letter from the AJA
By Naomi J. Norman and Vanessa Lord
American Journal of Archaeology Vol. 116, No. 1 (January 2012), p. 1