New Year, New Look

by Josh Allen, Social Media and Online Engagement Editorial Assistant

When 2017 dawns, Past & Present’s online look will be transformed.

Our publishers, Oxford University Press (OUP), are in the process of rolling out a new platform for all content. This means that the rather dated-looking interface that currently enables access to the digital versions of our publications is about to go offline and be replaced by this:

Past & Present's new Oxford University Press journals homepage (OUPAcademic and Past & Present copyright 2016)

Past & Present’s new Oxford University Press journals homepage (OUPAcademic and Past & Present, copyright 2016)

The new hosting platform is now very much live and you are very welcome (nay encouraged) to browse at your leisure.

In introducing the new platform OUPAcademic are reflecting major ongoing changes in the way that journals are utilised and consumed. Much like the revolutions that have occurred over the last 15-20 years in how people consume music, film and television, academic publications are now primarily accessed electronically, in a digital format, and on the move. It seems likely that for today’s undergraduates, and indeed most graduate students and ECRs, journals are first and foremost repositories of articles that are accessed electronically, not a print publication that can be read like a magazine.

The Google Analytics report for our own website attests to this: most weeks no more than thirty percent of our readers access the site from a desktop computer or a laptop, while seventy percent access it through a tablet or a smartphone, with the figures decidedly skewed towards the latter. As you can see, OUP Academic’s new journal format is brilliantly scaled and designed for accessing on a small screen, making reading an article on a phone or a tablet a convenient, ergonomic and satisfying experience.

None of this, however, means that print’s place is in any way diminished. Conversely, precisely because information can now be so easily accessed with a bit of gentle pawing at an iphone screen, twenty first-century print culture centres upon print’s durability and permanence rather than its ephemerality. Print’s familiarity, warmth and permanence is the reason why, even with our publisher’s wise investment in a website, Past & Present remains proud to publish four quarterly issues and a supplement every year.

Print issues which OUPAcademic’s new website makes it easier than ever to purchase. What, with the 25th December looming ever closer on the horizon, could be a better last minute Christmas present for a fellow connoisseur of expertly crafted, accessible, passionate and committed writing about the past (or indeed yourself)?

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