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Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
Scan, the journal, is devoted to the media arts and culture. It sits on a meta-site alongside Scan Magazine (“a site for informal pieces on the media arts and their surrounding culture. It includes essays and statements by artists, film-makers and writers; interviews; opinion pieces; multimedia presentations; reviews of events; polemics, debates and other modes of expression”) and Scan Gallery (which “hosts multimedia art works in all forms and combinations, including still and moving image, audio, text, graphics, and interactive formats”). Unfortunately, the site has two parallel iterations (thus the dual URLs listed for the website). There is a current iteration, at http://scan.net.au/scn/index.html, and a pre-2012 archive listed at that site. In the current version, volumes 8, 9, 10, and 11 are available, running from 2011 to 2014. The pre-2012 archive site (at: http://scan.net.au/scan/index.php) offers content back to Volume 1, Issue 1, for January 2004. Also unfortunately, once I went into the pre-2012 archive I could not get back to the current iteration of the journal in any way except entering the URL (http://scan.net.au/scn/index.html) into the address box. The new site does state: “Scan has recently been redesigned and older content has not yet been migrated. For the time being please use the link to the pre-2012 archive until all content has been moved across.” That explains the dichotomy between the two runs of the journal. It doesn’t explain why you can’t get back to the new site once you enter the old, however. And there’s no text explaining that you’re stuck till you re-enter the URL. So that’s annoying.
I wanted to look at the tables of contents for what’s available there, from 2011 to 2014, in the new design. To do that, the site had me open up each year’s entry, which shows the theme for that issue, with volume number and the names of that issue’s editors, then click through individual “show the tables of contents” links for each year.
The theme of the most recent issue available (volume 11, number 1, 2014) is: “Rethinking Ecology in the Anthropocene: Knowledges, Practices, Ethics and Politics.” I checked out the table of contents, which lists five refereed articles: “Rethinking Ecology in the Anthropocene: Knowledges, Practices, Ethics and Politics,” “Being Croc-savvy: Ecology, crocodile education, and rescuing propositional knowledge,” “Food waste, intimacy and compost: The stirrings of a new ecology?,” “An Ethics of Entanglement for the Anthropocene,” and “Anthropocene Hospitality: belonging in/to a changing climate.” The first article, by the issue editors, provides context for the issue’s theme and summarizes the other articles appearing in it. It’s well-written and engaging: they captured my interest completely. The other articles were also fascinating, extensively researched and accessibly written. I looked through other recent issues, all of which were composed around timely, interesting themes: “The In/Visibilities of Code,” with 11 refereed articles and four non-refereed, information articles; “RevCon: Revcon Academic 2012,” the academic portion of the Revelation Perth International Film Festival; and “Negotiating the Unacceptable,” in which issue “”The articles … attempt to probe the limits of acceptability, as they seek to comprehend, and perhaps, intervene in some divisive contemporary issues.” The material in all these issues is thought-provoking and engaging.
It was in examining the Magazine and the Gallery that I discovered the new, current iteration of Scan presently gives access to very little material, whereas the pre-2012 archive holds a wealth of content. There’s considerable multimedia in the archive, and it’s well-composed and delivered.
For anyone interested in media, the arts, and cultural studies this is an excellent title for gaining access to material not readily available elsewhere. When the migration to the new design is completed and all the content is accessible on the new site it will be easier to use, but I recommend arts and media librarians take a look now and bring it to the attention of students and scholars in arts, cultural, performance, and media studies.