January 3, 2012


My constant complaint this year has been that I have had too much excellent material to fit into the pages of the magazine. Those who work with me on the magazine will know that this is preferable to the former, louder complaint that there was insufficient material and may dismiss my moan as no more than a gripe from a man for whom the phrase ‘mustn’t grumble’ sounds like a threat to an area of expertise.

But it is annoying that a large number of excellent articles have never made it from the web site to the printed page. Of course, this is much less of an issue than once it was – we are now averaging over 4,000 visits a day on the web site, with up to 26,000 daily hits not unusual, so good articles are being widely read there. It is nevertheless still nice to display the full range of quality articles and it causes me real pain to leave out solid material of minority interest. Indeed, I have been almost paralysed by indecision in putting together this issue such was the pressure from excellent articles on a range of topics. Not only did I want to include articles like Gary Hodkinson on PDF/A, Mike Conradi and Ani Grigorian on data preservation obligations, Alex Lanstein on APTs and security and Tom Scourfield and Lucy Kilshaw on the latest database right judgment – none of which are included here because of lack of space – but I also very much wanted to include every prediction, including those that came past deadline, and some excellent articles that were received in December – articles from Paul Berwin, Darin Thompson and David Gourlay and David Gallagher spring to mind.

So it is some consolation, to me at least, that we are producing an online-only supplement that will include some pdfs of the articles which were squeezed out by the weight of predictions-based articles or, in the case of Conradi and Grigorian, the Editor’s inability to count to five. That is as close as we can get to a Tardis-like magazine. The supplement can be downloaded from the web site by SCL members. It consists of the proofed versions of the four articles that we were unable to include because of lack of space. However, I do not rule out including those in our next printed issue. I should emphasise that all the articles mentioned are available online to SCL members in any event. 

Change of Tone

If the pressure for space in the magazine continues, you may see a change in emphasis in the selection of articles for the magazine. We are seriously considering giving much greater precedence to articles that are likely to be long lasting points of reference over those that are more newsy. This is still a plan under consideration and is a subtle change but, with the increased online readership of current awareness articles, it seems to make sense. I would be delighted to hear any feedback from readers. I do not want the magazine to become a learned journal – the focus will still be on articles of practical use to the practising lawyer – but the multiple updating mechanisms which are now available do change the game slightly and we need to recognise that and adapt accordingly. 


Mentioning multiple updating mechanisms leads me neatly to twitter and the SCL feed at @computersandlaw in particular. The slightly frustrating thing that I find is that so many of our followers are not SCL members but reside in distant lands and enjoy the benefits of the careful updating that the feed offers. SCL promises never to tweet about meals, music (save in the context of file-sharing) or celebrities (SCL Trustees excepted). Why not join the crowd and follow SCL?