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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 26, 2003

UI Librarian Named Editor Of New Distance Education Journal

Stephen Dew, Ph.D., the University of Iowa's coordinator of Library Services for Distance Education, has helped launch and been named editor of the new Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning.

The Haworth Press in Binghamton, N.Y., which publishes 120 other journals - including 35 related to library and information services - will publish the peer-reviewed distance-learning journal. The first quarterly issue is due out in January.

The journal is the first ever to address in a single publication topics and concerns of librarians and information specialists who - like Dew - work in distance education and provide document-delivery, database searching, and other services to students taking college courses at distant off-campus sites, via mail, via the Internet, or via systems like the Iowa Communications Network, or ICN.

Articles and essays will cover a range of topics related to distance education and library services, including faculty collaborations to promote library use, technical issues like document-delivery and web-site development, user education and surveys and other assessments to determine the success of current efforts. The journal, expected to run around 100 pages per issue, will also feature a book review column and an electronic services review column.

The journal's editorial board is made up of 30 professionals from across the country and around the globe, and contributors to the first two planned issues come from as far away as Australia and Hong Kong.

Dew has been a veritable voice in the wilderness for off-campus students taking UI distance learning classes since 1998, when he was hired by the UI Center for Credit Programs and the UI Libraries. For five years Dew has -- for free or at a nominal cost -- mailed, faxed or emailed journal articles to students; delivered texts overnight; provided guidance on research methods; and, on occasion, even given encouragement to students who feel isolated from campus life and need a morale boost to follow through on a project or course.

Dew said he became involved in launching the new journal through his involvement with the American Library Association's Distance Learning Section, of which he is vice chair and chair-elect. He said that many of the 1,500 members of the section -- some affiliated with universities, others with community colleges -- expressed an interest in gathering in one place information relevant to their profession, which has grown greatly since the advent of the Internet.

When a previous attempt to launch the journal failed, Dew's colleagues urged him to take the reins.

Dew says he's excited about the opportunity to explore important topics in distance education that previously didn't have a proper home. For instance, one article Dew has accepted for publication in the second issue of the journal suggests that student athletes have much in common with distance learners because of the amount of time they spend traveling to games, and that they could benefit from the services of distance librarians.

"The goal of this journal is to be the primary leader in promoting the scholarly discourse involved in library and information services in distance learning," Dew said. "The journal's publication is the culmination of a tremendous amount of work done by many individuals, but it is also just the initial phase--the beginning of a publication that will make significant contributions to the field of library and information services in distance learning."

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT(S): Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007, stephen-pradarelli@uiowa.edu.