My predecessor, Mark Kishlansky, guided History Compass almost from its inception, from 2003 to 2008, to its current state as a thriving, innovative journal for historians of all types and at all levels. During those years, as electronic publishing was just coming into its own, Mark’s “Letter from the Editor” explained that History Compass represented “the future of the past.” Things look a bit different today, for the future is now, and History Compass has become established as a well-known and well respected resource for the way we do history today. History Compass is truly a journal for the twenty-first century: fully online (including the submission and peer review process through which all articles pass) and fully loaded (including teaching and learning guides, podcasts and – in the near future – blogs). Its hallmark characteristics – speed, accessibility, and a global perspective – make it uniquely suited to the twenty-first century.
From the initial commissioning of an essay by a member of the editorial team, through submission, review, revision, production and finally to publication, we who collaborate to produce History Compass pride ourselves on a smooth and speedy process that guarantees reliable and timely surveys of the most important topics facing history students and teachers today. Once published, our articles are accessible electronically, a format that is becoming increasingly valued not only by students who have grown up with laptop computers and the World Wide Web, but also by faculty in all age brackets. Finally, we cover all geographical fields of history (Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and North America) along with World History. History Compass is the only journal that consistently publishes in all those fields. In this time of shrinking library budgets, we are pleased to offer a single journal that can address multiple areas of need, particularly at the level of undergraduate and beginning graduate teaching. But our commitment to a global perspective goes beyond such narrowly pragmatic concerns, for we hope that the global perspective of the journal will encourage more global perspectives in our readers, who might log onto the site in search of an essay in their own field of US or Asian history, and then linger on the site long enough to explore some of the latest developments in African or World history.
Finally: we’d like to hear from you, our readers. Please feel free to contact me or members of the editorial team with suggestions for improvement or ideas for how we can fully exploit the potential of our unique journal. For instance, we’re on the lookout for ways in which our global, online collaboration might perhaps help generate theoretical and methodological breakthroughs for the discipline of history. Our online format is superbly flexible, and our mission – to serve students and teachers of history at all levels – encourages us to make use of that flexibility. I look forward to hearing from many of you!
University of Alberta