Since September, our Chief Editor and Technical Editor messages have been focused on the changes happening. I suppose we are searching for the next vision to work towards. What is the RECORDER’s role in the CSEG for the next 10, 20, and 30 years? What is its role now? What was its role in 1985 when the RECORDER was changed from a bulletin-type publication to a magazine?
Browsing the many previous editions reveals a wealth of information about the RECORDER, as well as the CSEG. The concerns in 1985 were very like the concerns facing the RECORDER and the CSEG today: communicate, serve the members, and increase revenue.
The RECORDER prior to September 1985 informed members of current events within the society, and notified the members of Executive decisions or projects.
If a member wanted to know who would be presenting at the next Technical Lunch, they would read the RECORDER; the same is true for finding out who they could vote for in the next CSEG election, and who would be our next Executives.
In 1985, the CSEG determined that our bulletin-style publication wasn’t providing “expanded articles of a technical, personal or corporate nature.” (RECORDER 1985 September, Editor’s Notes). Advertisements would help pay for the increased publication costs due to the new format – glossy paper! – and provide a bit of revenue for the CSEG. And, the RECORDER Committee was created, and managed the increased workload while learning the new experience (RECORDER 2004 June, An Interview with Dave Paterson).
As of 1985, the CSEG’s main avenues of communication were the learning and social events, the CSEG convention, the RECORDER, and the J CSEG (the original name of our peer-reviewed journal, the Canadian Journal of Exploration Geophysics(CJEG) ).
Now we have many learning and social events, the GeoConvention, the RECORDER, the CJEG, the CSEG website, the Newsletter, our LinkedIn profile, and a Twitter handle (@csegonline). The GeoConvention and the CJEG have their own histories. Larry Lines describes a bit about the CJEG history in this month's From the Archives column, and photos from past CSEG conventions and documents from the CSEG are shown throughout this edition (as well as previous RECORDER editions).
New technology usually allows us to do more, purportedly faster and easier, with more time available for other pursuits. We spend more time on the same tasks doing more, but not necessarily in other pursuits. Case in point: computers. We feed them more and more data and are surprised when they choke on the billions of bytes. The main purposes of these technologies remain fundamentally the same over time, although each new gizmo has different strengths than previous gizmos.
Each of our communication avenues have a different role in the CSEG. The GeoConvention is to learn, share knowledge, share our Canadian geophysics culture, and network. This edition is the convention edition and therefore has some good information about the upcoming convention in May, including the GeoConvention Report. LinkedIn and Twitter give us primarily a public platform with snippets of pertinent information. The website is public with an area reserved for members; it’s a good place to search for specific information. The RECORDER is initially private (latest 3 editions), but later public to anyone interested in geophysics and/or our community. The RECORDER gives all of us an opportunity to share our knowledge and thoughts to anyone of any level of knowledge about geophysics, only slightly limited by space.
I had the pleasure to speak to Larry Fichtner, 1985 CSEG President, via email and phone. He has 3 suggestions for the future. 1. Combine the RECORDER with other partner societies' publications. We’ve had great success with this option and the GeoConvention. If you’re curious, search for GeoTriad Convention on the CSEG website and the RECORDER website. 2. Increase the volume of social content. As always, and mentioned in both the Editor’s Notes and the Executive Column in the 1985 September RECORDER, we depend on our members and committees for this content. Consider this our personal invitation to you to submit articles, reports, announcements, photos, etc., and to encourage others to write. 3. Keep the quality of the articles high, but write so everyone can understand the information. Have fun writing and sharing your love of geophysics and our community.
Thanks, Larry, for continuing to contribute 32 years later. Wow! Our volunteers and members really are amazing. See the CSEG Awards winners for 2016.
In summary, the RECORDER role has 3 parts that have been consistent for over 30 years:
- Facilitate communication between the Executives and the members
- Serve the members by providing technical content and community news
- Build our culture and our history by recording the events of the CSEG, the messages from our leaders, and the opinions expressed by our members
No matter how the RECORDER looks in 10, 20, 30 years’ time and what changes we choose to make, it will be great.
I also had the pleasure to speak with Dave Paterson, Technical Editor in 1985. His email message to me, quoted below, excellently describes the thoughts that I have tried to describe here. Thanks, Dave!
In my view, the success of the RECORDER is a function of three major influences; two of which have changed with time and one of which has remained constant. The creative and hard working RECORDER committees are the constant factor; allowing for a progressive improvement in the content of the magazine as each team builds upon earlier successes. The price of oil and gas and the changes in digital communication technology are the variable elements; to both the benefit and the detriment of the RECORDER at different times in its history.
The geoscience service sector has been stalwart supporters of the RECORDER from its inception. But, the low oil and gas price in combination with the alternative digital advertising options available (websites, direct e-mail, webinars) makes printed ads a casualty; however, there are benefits to the acceleration in the digital media technology component. In 1985, the RECORDER was a "handmade cut and paste" operation for page lay-out with ads and copy contributions typeset by the publisher. Papers at conventions were presented by slideshows produced by the company drafting department. Consequently, in 1985 it was a real challenge to get technical-oriented paper contributions to the RECORDER; full papers were published in the peer reviewed journals and the time and expense to produce "tech-lite articles" was too much effort.
This all changed in the 1990s with PCs [personal computers] and geophysical workstations at the office. High quality workstation screen captures and PC word processing software permitted all geophysicists to be author-editors. It is no coincidence that the RECORDER technical article content and page lay-out quality improvements coincided with increased digital input content. I think these improvements will continue as authors can use the RECORDER to "self publish".
The RECORDER is not all about the Canadian technical article content though, because unique amongst the ten geoscience publications I have experience with from around the world, it also captures the local geophysical community culture. My favourite is the interviews of professionals and academics, but especially the Canadian-based professionals that are our peers. The insights provided by the interviewees are especially useful to younger geophysicists as they characterize successful and balanced professional/personal careers. No other G & G society publication achieves this quality of interview, and profiles the "professional geophysicist" better.
I have every confidence the RECORDER will continue to thrive. The change to a digital version was coming anyways - just look at what's happened to newspapers, it just has been accelerated because of the recent economic times. The RECORDER was born in 1985 because of the needs of a growing and prosperous geophysical community. I am sure it will adapt successfully in the future as those member needs change. Best of luck.
I’m blushing from Dave’s compliments. To end this message, the proof [of the role of the RECORDER] is in the pudding! I could only have written this message with access to the RECORDER archives consisting of content from our leaders, volunteers and members; with the help of several long-time members (Larry and Dave, plus others); and with our culture of learning and sharing! See you at GeoConvention!