The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 7, February 12, 2006, Article 3


Rick Witschonke offers this observation:  "It seems to me
that The E-Sylum is becoming just a collection of news items
about numismatics (very loosely defined), rather than focusing
on printed materials relating to numismatics.  Is that
consistent with the charter, or just how things have evolved?
Of course, if the subscribers are happy, that's all that
really counts."

[Well, just what is The E-Sylum all about?  Its nature and
purpose have evolved over time.  It began, as Rick notes, as
a medium for the discussion of numismatic literature among
members and friends of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS).
It is still that, but the interests of our subscribers and
contributors, together with the explosion of information
available online have expended our purview over time.

Our community includes not only those who collect numismatic
literature, but also many researchers and writers who are
creating the numismatic works of today and tomorrow.  While
these people rely on the numismatic literature of the past
and present for guidance and information, they must also
seek information which lies far beyond these narrow boundaries.

This information may lie in handwritten diaries or correspondence,
mint records, contemporary newspaper accounts, laws and regulations,
etc.  It may also exist only in the memories of people who witnessed
long-ago numismatic events.  Thus many of the queries posed and
answered in The E-Sylum are of the "Does anyone know where I can
find ...?" or "Does anyone know who I should talk to about ...?"

The E-Sylum has proven to be an invaluable resource for locating
information, and as Editor I find little more satisfying than
being able to help a researcher find what they are looking for,
or help like-minded researchers work together and share their
findings for the greater good of the hobby.  Like a matchmaker,
The E-Sylum has assisted a number of fruitful research relationships
and helped spawn more than a few very useful articles, catalog
entries and even books on numismatic topics.

The E-Sylum itself is also a source of first-hand numismatic
information. Often a query about some numismatic event of the
last 50 years will elicit a response from a subscriber who was
actually there when the event took place.  Their thoughts and
comments on the event become raw material for future researchers.
Although our little e-mail newsletter is ephemeral in nature,
it is not only being written for today's eyes, but for the benefit
of future researchers as well.    Quite a number of very interesting
yet often obscure topics have been explored here, and our archives
make for some interesting reading.

So how does all this affect the makeup of a typical E-Sylum issue?
Well, remaining true to our numismatic literature roots, any new
auction sales or fixed price lists of numismatic literature get
top billing, as does any article relating to our sponsor, the
Numismatic Bibliomania Society.  Announcements and reviews of new
numismatic books and catalogs also get prominent placement.  But
remember - your editor can only generate so much copy per issue -
the majority of what is published must come from you, our readers.
If there is a new book, sale or event readers ought to know about,
please drop me a line.

Research queries are another top priority for every issue, but
to avoid repetitiveness and mix up the subject matter these are
typically sprinkled throughout the issue in the order received.

That leaves the "anything else of numismatic interest" category,
the "collection of news items about numismatics" Rick mentions.
These are items which can be of marginal usefulness to specialized
readers, yet often include some of the most interesting material
each week and sometimes spark some marvelous exchanges.

First-hand accounts of numismatic events or interviews with
numismatic personalities are a major subcategory of news.
Reports of new coin and paper money issues are another.  Numismatic
"finds" are yet another, including everything from metal-detecting
treasures, to paper money hoards or long-lost stolen property
returning to the spotlight.

It is not our purpose to compete with or "scoop" traditional
numismatic publications on these stories, but it happens sometimes
due to publishing schedules.  Many of our readers look forward to
the week's issue to see what new events have taken place in
numismatics over the weekend.

As more and more news has become available online throughout
the world, we're finding more and more potentially interesting
items to publish, and over time this has affected the proportion
of each type of article we include.  Some have noted that there
is too much to read, but this is not a new event - our issues
have been quite lengthy for years.  But like traditional printed
publications, the headline format allows readers to skip over
items of little interest and focus on only those most pertinent
to the reader.    Having heard no strong complaints and a continued
series of compliments, I've made no changes to the editorial
policy.  Printed literature is still a prime focus and I welcome
submissions on the topic.  -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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