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 Published by the American Geological Institute
Newsmagazine of the Earth Sciences

 July 2000

From the Editor

You have just opened the annual Highlights issue, which features major discoveries and research trends in 27 geoscience disciplines. This issue has been popular with readers, perhaps because it is a bit like the neighborhood yard sale or the library book fair: a mixture of useful discoveries, surprises and amusements. You are sure to find some such mix among the wonderful contributions of the geoscientists who volunteered to write for this issue.

You will note that many topics are missing. Fluid inclusion geochemistry, for example, and age dating, geology and human health, aggregate and industrial mineral geology, gemology, black and white smokers, mineral deposits and evolution. If we include geothermal energy why not fossil fuel energy? In short, how are topics chosen and why are others absent? For one thing, there is not enough room for all topics in one issue. But there is more to the answer than that. We have never tried to be truly comprehensive nor have there been volunteers readily available to cover all the possible geoscience topics.

Should there be more than one Highlights issue every year in order to cover all topics? Covering all possible topics could lead to even more than two Highlights issues! Such coverage would cut seriously into the magazine’s monthly news items, because the coverage in the Highlights issue is largely review and summary in nature. Thus, the big question is: Should Geotimes be a newsmagazine or a review magazine, or what mix of both? I come down on the side of news and would push important breaking science news every time over a review article.

The Geotimes staff is discussing how to best handle next year’s Highlights issue. We know more than enough current news is out there to fill the issue every month. At the same time, review articles such as have appeared in past Highlights are valuable to professionals when they need overviews of their disciplines. Perhaps it is time for a new direction. Suppose we expand the number of topics covered by annual reviews and put all of them on the Web. As annual reviews are posted on the Web they could be noted in Geotimes. Thus, the magazine’s focus could remain on ever-expanding earth science news. The annual reviews could appear at any time during the year on the Web, and even be updated from time to time. We would be interested in your thoughts on the annual Highlights issue and the possible greater use of the Web for these reviews.

Have fun with the wonderful review articles in this issue, and ...

Trust your compass.

Samuel S. Adams

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