Jenny Bunn’s comments on the full draft were that she believed it was now good enough to submit to a journal but that at 24,000 words, it was probably too long and I would likely be asked to cut it down substantially. With that in mind, I decided to finalise the document as a “Full Study Report” before working on a shorter version for journal submission.
The work to finalise the Full Study Report was rather more intensive than I had envisaged. It entailed a 10 day slog working through the report from the beginning, and making adjustments to ensure it all hung together as well as correcting grammar and typos, improving and numbering the tables and figures, and making sure the references were correct. Following that, I tidied up the large results spreadsheet and in so doing found a number of minor errors which entailed further changes in the document. Eventually, the IV in PIM Full Study Report got finished about a week ago. Then I set about identifying a journal that might accept it for publication.
One of the papers referenced in the IV report was by one Steve Whittaker, a UK researcher previously at the University of Sheffield and now at the University of California, and now very prominent in the field of Personal Information Management (PIM). I was first given his name by Andrew Cox at the University of Sheffield’s Information School, so I emailed him a copy of the abstract, with a copy to Andrew Cox by way of introduction, and asked him which journals he thought would be most appropriate to submit such a paper to. His response was that HCI journals were most appropriate for PIM papers but that a) he was not sure that this was a PIM paper as such as opposed to an archiving/Library Science paper, and b) he thought it would be a stretch for HCI readers to have a one person case study. So he advised me trying the non-HCI journals.
This exchange has begun to open my eyes to an interesting issue which I think I keep on coming up against: despite my collections of job documents, mementos, photos etc. are all highly personal and therefore definitely in the PIM domain, the indexing and management techniques I use to control them are all far more structured and organised than is usually encountered in PIM; and these characteristics make people think they are not PIM collections but fall into the categories of archiving, records management or librarianship. This is an interesting insight and one which I think I shall explore further in the coming months.
Anyway, I decided to take Steve Whittaker’s advice and focus on non-HCI journals. I struck lucky with the first one I approached – JASIST – the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. I sent the abstract and full report in an email to the Editor and asked if she thought it would be appropriate to submit a cut down version to the journal. Her response was that she thought it would be, so I now have a major précis job to cut down the full report by a third to about 8000 words.
I must say, I have been impressed by the rapid responses I have received this week from both people I have emailed. Despite not knowing me they both responded – and the reply came within just a few hours in both cases. I’m quite sure that, like most professionals these days, their email load will be very high, so it is a testimony to their professionalism and to the power of email; and I count myself lucky that they were prepared to spend their time on my missives out of the blue.