Declining Use Among Scholarly Email Lists
Posted by repplinger
The Chronicle of Higher Education posted a fascinating article on scholarly email lists this week. To some extent the argument for the need of this technology has diminished with the development of blogs, wikis, tweets, and other newer forms of tech driven communication.
Personally, I have subscriptions to dozens of email lists, and I receive hundreds of emails daily. Extended vacations make me cringe since I know that several hours of email sifting awaits when I return. Over the years, I have noticed a clear decline with the participation of my scholarly email lists. As an email list owner of two separate groups, I have also noticed that while there remains a lot of subscribers, conversations that takes place within them have decreased.
That said, email lists still provide an essential function; often times the group members use the private email lists to discuss issues about vendors and products, or issues that pertain to a specific community such as private liberal arts college science librarians. Many of the new technologies are designed for public interaction. While professional emails lists may get used less, it is always nice to know that I have another alternative, and know that it is a “private” community (as private as technology will allow). As technological changes march along, and especially with Google’s upcoming Wave product, I anticipate that the use of professional email list as scholarly communication tools will continue to decline, but not disappear. At least they will continue to exist and function how they were originally designed within the next few years.