Looking for Something to Read?

LITA publishes a quarterly, open-access and peer-reviewed journal called Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL). As a regular blogger for LITA, I was embarrassed to admit that I was not familiar with this publication when I recently met with Ken Varnum, the new editor. LITA and ITAL are both devoted to exploring the intersection between technology and libraries, everything from digital preservation to vendor relations. The journal is written by and for library technologists and will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2018.

Not only is it available online, but several archival issues dating back to the 1960s are also available. Back in those days, the journal was known as the Journal of Library Automation (from 1968-1981), until 1982 when the name changed. In 2012, it switched from a print-only subscription publication to an online, open-access journal. Articles such as the 1972 “Regional Numerical Union Catalog on Computer Output Microfiche” provide a fascinating glimpse of historical issues within librarianship from the early days of storing bibliographic data on cards to issues of digital storage that are still very relevant today. Common threads running through all of the articles reflect core values of librarianship: improving the user experience, increasing access to information by using the latest technology, in a way that is the most cost-effective to the library. More recent articles look at the process of developing user-friendly mobile apps and “digital collections entrances.” Free, available digitally, and very relevant- these are articles that anyone working in libraries can benefit from.

ITAL content extends beyond feature articles. Authors can submit tutorials, letters to the editor, and brief communications related to a specific research topic or technical conclusion. The Editorial Board reviews submissions for readability, value to readers, and contribution to the profession. LITA blog readers interested in submitting to the journal can find an overview of the process and a submission preparation checklist here. Another way to get involved is to consider joining the editorial board. Due to terms expiring, the board will have several vacancies starting in July and is particularly looking for technologists in public and special libraries. A call for volunteers will be distributed later this winter.

Looking to get involved? Have questions or ideas for ITAL? Contact the editor, Ken Varnum, at