Ezine, December 2010
In 1910, the year that CABI was founded, telephones were still operated from a manual exchange. Anyone wishing to make a long-distance call would have to book an appointment in a special telephone booth and expect to wait for up to 20 minutes to be connected. Could anyone then have imagined a world in which millions of smallholder farmers in rural India regularly receive expert advice in the field through mobile phones?
Academic articles and books were typeset by linotype, printed on a press and then bound. It was a far cry from today’s publishing environment, in which vast databases can be instantly updated, linked to each other, and searched in seconds.
This month has seen celebrations of CABI’s centenary in Africa and India, with further events due to take place in Switzerland and the UK in the next few months. Our own transformation from small, specialist research committee to international development organization, combining leading-edge publishing and communications expertise with scientific research, is in many ways just as extraordinary as the technological changes described above. Yet it is also only to be expected: no organization gets to reach the age of 100 without knowing how to reinvent itself and adapt to a changing external environment.
In this issue of the Ezine we can see examples of how CABI is continuing to ride the waves of change. In the Forum, we have asked some of our customers to think about how publishers need to adapt their selling models to take advantage of the growing popularity of e-books. Dr Roger Day suggests that we might need to find a new way of talking about invasive species in his opinion piece, Alien versus Predator. And Julien Lamontagne-Godwin reports back from one of the recently established plant clinics in Bangalore, India, which are part of CABI’s innovative Plantwise initiative.
We hope you enjoy this issue of the CABI Ezine.