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From the News column of the October 2009 issue of Perspectives on History

AHA Establishes Technology Advisory Committee

AHA Staff, October 2009

The Association has established a Technology Advisory Committee to provide guidance to the AHA Council and staff on how the organization’s electronic publishing program might do better today and where it should be five years from now.

The committee initiative grows out of recent efforts to assess the future of the AHA. As part of that review, members of the AHA Council became concerned that the AHA’s electronic publishing program is not keeping pace with the latest technological developments, and that the current web site, although content rich, has become rather cluttered and difficult to navigate.

The committee’s mandate consists primarily of two tasks:

  • A review of the Association’s electronic publishing programs, assessing the current fit between technology, staffing, and services to determine if the Association is making the most effective use of available technologies.

  • Development of suggestions and guidelines for the future of the AHA’s electronic publishing programs in a way that will allow the Association to better fulfill its mission of promoting history to an interested public while also serving the interests of its membership.

Ideally, this committee can help the Association move toward a more user-friendly “face” for the AHA. But the committee is also intended to find ways to make the AHA a “portal” for up-to-date information on web-based history; identify ways to extend our print publications digitally, through links to visual data associated with particular articles; and also assess whether there are additional ways that the Association could use web technology to better facilitate the work of the organization. The purpose of this committee will be to help spur the Association to think strategically about new options and new opportunities.

The Committee will be chaired by AHA President Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, and consists of Paul Bergen, senior manager for academic computing at Harvard University, Phil Ethington, University of Southern California; Sharon Leon, director for public programs at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University; Steven Mintz, Columbia University; and Abby Smith, independent consultant and a member of the editorial advisory board of Perspectives on History.

We welcome suggestions and comments from members about how we might improve the Association’s e-publishing program. They can be directed to AHA staff.