Question: Publications on the Web
Delphi Question #500 (received 25 March):
Regarding the various publications that come out on a regular
basis (Staff Notes, UCAR Quarterly, etc.), wouldnt
it be more environmentally friendly to simply offer these on the
Web, rather than placing a paper copy in every employees
mailbox? When a new issue is ready, a link could be placed in
I realize there may be non-UCAR employees who receive
these publications, and a paper copy may be the best solution
for them, but it seems like we could save a lot of paper if we
went with a Web solution at least internally.
Response (received 4 April): The short answer
is that people tell us they prefer the paper versions. The last
time we surveyed readers of Staff Notes Monthly and the
UCAR Quarterly (1996 and 2001, respectively), they overwhelmingly
preferred print. Fewer than 1% of Staff Notes readers and
5.6% of Quarterly readers opted for the Web version.
As one staff member commented, I know its environmentally
appropriate and more cost-effective to do without hard copy, but
it feels like work I need to deal with instead of something pleasurable
to read. We suspect staff think of our publications like
a daily newspaper or a magazinesomething to carry around
and read at lunch, on the shuttle, on break, or even take home
and share with the family. Were regularly refilling the
stands in the lobbies with current and back copies.
External readers seem to feel the same way. We
just e-mailed 1,000 of the Quarterlys 3,000 subscribers
in early March. That message invited people to receive electronic
notification when each issue of the Quarterly goes on the
Web and (as a separate item) to cancel their print subscription
if they preferred to read it on the Web. So far we have gotten
only 26 requests to be notified of new issues by e-mail and four
print cancellations. A purge last fall of the Quarterly
and Highlights mailing lists yielded a similarly small
number of cancellations.
In order to streamline internal distribution and
avoid hundreds of labels, we dont send individually addressed
copies of our publications. This means that individual staff cant
subscribe and unsubscribe. Instead, we ask administrators group
by group to let the mailroom know how many copies they want. This
allows groups to share copies. If you prefer to read Staff
Notes or the Quarterly on the Web, please let the person
in your group who distributes mail know. We have just redesigned
the Web versions of both publications (see Staffnotes
We also use the Web for Staff Notes extras
between issues. And of course, we distribute routine announcements
only electronically and save the print newsletters for longer
interpretive pieces. We use recycled paper in all our publications
and revisit our print runs issue by issue to be sure were
not printing too many copies.
We are in the process of designing a new staff
survey. It asks specifically about print vs. electronic preferences.
Please watch for it and give us your feedback. Our bottom line
is to produce publications people want to read, regardless of
Lucy Warner, director UCAR Communications
Questions and suggestions from the staff to
management may be submitted in confidence to the Delphi Coordinator.
They should be submitted in written form, preferably via interoffice
mail in a sealed envelope marked confidential. They must be signed.
Detailed procedures for submitting questions are given in the
UCAR Policies and Procedures Manual, section 4-1-2, and on the
Delphi Web site, www.ucar.edu/delphi. Staff Notes Monthly publishes
questions and answers of general interest to staff, and the Delphi
Web site has a log of all questions submitted since 1995.
in this issue:
the midnight hour: BAMEX takes aim at dangerous night storms
long riders: How some staffers cope with epic commutes
finds lower atmosphere warming
bridges for Latina students