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 The Breker Trekker

Posts Tagged ‘online’

Raiders of the Lost Article

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Back before DAC, I wrote a blog post on the rapid migration of technical information from magazines and catalogs to online-only publication. I addressed the topic from my perspective as a voracious reader of industry news who likes flipping through magazines as a nice break from staring at the screen most of the day. Just for the record, today over lunch I skimmed through the latest hardcopy issues of Information Week, Electronic Design, and MIT’s Spectrum. But my post also addressed a more serious topic: the evanescence of online technical content.

Futurists would have us believe otherwise: online is supposed to be forever. However, many technical sites are hosted by motivated individuals or organizations who may simply decide one day to stop. Other sites are owned by commercial interests, including publishers, who may fold and take their content with them into the void. Yes, there are organizations trying to capture the ongoing history of the Internet but, in my experience, their retention of desired content is inconsistent at best.


Blog Post, Shall I Compare Thee to a Magazine’s Lifespan?

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

There’s been some discussion recently in various blogs and forums about the value of print versus digital media for technical publications. Of course this is just a microcosm of a massive shift occurring in the publication industry overall, but I’m going to focus for this post on the sort of technical information once found in physical magazines, industry trade papers, and printed catalogs. All that began to change in the mid 90s as the World Wide Web gained traction and today we live in a very different world than we did just 20 years ago.

A lot of the recent discussion is tied to the decision by technical publisher heavyweight UBM to discontinue print copies of its magazines effective July 1. This was not a huge surprise since UBM stopped printing Electronic Engineering Times late last year. However, that publication had already gone through many changes and no longer much resembled its familiar erstwhile tabloid format. But EDN has been a part of my magazine pile almost since I became an engineer, and more recently Design News and InformationWeek have been part of my regular reading. Apparently Test and Measurement World will no longer exist even in digital form. I will miss all of them.

Of course, I get the majority of my technical and business information online. I subscribe to dozens of different digests, perusing them each morning to catch up on the industry and to cherry-pick interesting items related to SoC verification for tweeting to Breker followers. I’ve never attempted to count them up, but I probably read ten times as many words online every week as I do in print publications. So why have I kept my print subscriptions to the UBM magazines as well as Electronic Design, Chip Design, several ACM and IEEE publications, and more?


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