For some time now, the Quest Bulletin has been available in PDF form for easy download. This has advantages for those who prefer not to be cluttered by paper, and to Quest finances, because there are reduced costs in printing and postage. (Don’t worry if you prefer the paper copy – we will continue to offer the choice). However, the PDF version has some limitations of its own – I was told by one member at conference 2015 that as his tablet cannot cope with the complexity of the document, he no longer reads the bulletin). For this reason, and to improve the accessibility of single posts, I was given the task early this year of posting to the website single articles taken from the Bulletin. This has the advantage that it enables embedded links and cross-references, and lends itself to digital searches, both directly from this site, and also by the internet search engines. That should make life easier for our readers, and in the long run, also bring new readers to the Bulletin.
Sadly, life sometimes gets in the way of good intentions. I began the task early in the year, but for a time was unable to continue with it. The result is that the Spring issue, which has been up in PDF form for months, had still not been posted as separate articles – until yesterday, when I got them all set up. Some of these have now been published, others will follow later today. For those of you who have requested email alerts for new posts, please be aware that the flurry of posts coming through later today will not necessarily be new material, but content that has already been published in the Bulletin, just in a different form.
There has also been a change in the access arrangements. When we began to publish the Bulletin directly to the website, we made the current issue freely available, but restricted older issues to the members area. This is an unusual arrangement. It is more common practice to restrict recent material to members, who deserve some special treatment for their subscriptions, and make archive material more freely available. The reason for our original choice was that some of the contributors to the Bulletin content did not want their names to be publicly disclosed. What we have now agreed, that future issues and the archived complete PDF versions will be available initially only in the members area, but that single articles from older issues will be available to all. To protect the contributors who want anonymity, this will only apply to those who have agreed that they do not object to being publicly known.
One of the articles in the last issue was a piece by our editor, John Ashman, in which he announced that he is stepping down from the role. He did so most reluctantly, he states, because he was aware that Nick Burchnell is also finally relinquishing his role as conference organiser, and that filling two such demanding posts would present a serious headache for the new committee. I’m pleased to tell you that both problems have evaporateda. Joining the new committee were Hazel Barnes and Sandy Taylor, who are taking on the conference post together as a job share, which I think will work extremely well. Meanwhile, the editorial job at the Bulletin will go to – myself, in conjunction with my work on the website.
I am very conscious of the tremendous amount of work that John has done so admirably, and do not expect to fill those capacious shoes – but I won’t need to. John is handing over editorial responsibility, but will continue to write some material. I have also had promises at conference of assistance with some of the technical side of putting it together. I have already put together some ideas on just what the next two issues will look like, and have been promised a range of submissions, which I will disclose shortly.
Meantime – heartfelt thanks to John for his sterling work, and wish me (and Hazel and Sandy) good luck with our new responsibilities.