What are Electronic Publications?

Ken Black

Electronic publications are those publications, which are formatted and produced in an electronic environment. An article on wiseGEEK, for example, would be considered an electronic publication. Some publications are available both in print form, and through an electronic medium. Often, the rules for citing electronic publications will be slightly different than for print publications.

Electronic publications are formatted and produced in an electronic environment.
Electronic publications are formatted and produced in an electronic environment.

The most common form of electronic publications are those which are found on the Internet, often in hypertext markup language (HTML). Some publications may also be in the form of PDF files, word processing files, or other types of files that are uploaded to the Internet, or distributed privately. The advantages to these publications are that they are available nearly any time to those who request access, and there are no printing or mailing costs. Moreover, because they are easily forwarded form one reader to another, electronic publications will often reach a larger, and more relevant audience. The disadvantages are that they can be copied relatively easily, and that some readers strongly prefer to read materials on paper.

Electronic publications can be effective at getting the word out when breaking news happens.
Electronic publications can be effective at getting the word out when breaking news happens.

In the case of the Internet, there are online databases that offer access to millions of electronic publications, including entire magazines or individual articles. These databases may be offered to the general public for a fee, or may be available through a university or agreement with a local public library. These offer a convenient place to look for electronic publications.

Electronic publications can also be put on a physical medium, such as a disk or CD. These can be sold to individuals or freely distributed with information on them. The advantage to this type of medium is that distribution of the information can be more closely regulated, though distribution is not as quick.

Newspapers and magazines often have both an electronic form and a print form of their publications. This offers some additional revenue-generating possibilities for these companies, as they will offer advertising both online and in print. Also, these publications have a more immediate way to get the word out when breaking news happens. This is a limitation that the traditional print medium cannot overcome easily.

Slightly more information is required when it comes to citing electronic publications. Whenever an electronic publication is cited, the medium it was retrieved from will need to be noted. In the case of the Internet, the URL will likely need to be put at the end of the citation. Some styles, such as APA and MLA, allow the URL to be left out if the publication is retrieved from an academic database, but the database must be named. The date the information is retrieved must also be listed, since articles on the Internet are often updated periodically.

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Discussion Comments


Many media organizations are already using certain news components in an electronic way. it is common for a news organization to have multiple means of delivery for their information that they are reporting.

I believe that we will find a true balance between print publications and electronic publications in our society. The truth is, unless some form of magical substances created to replace what paper is capable of displaying then and only then will we be seeing the absolute abandonment of paper printed products.

Until then, what we have is a world where mixed media has integrated so that some people can find certain parts of stories online and other parts of stories in the actual newspaper that is delivered to their home every day.


Classically trained reporters and writers are seeing the same transition photojournalists are seen in the way that their content is delivered to the reader. No longer is newsprint a necessity for getting the words that contain vital information to the public.

Instead, these writers are now getting jobs as broadcast news writers, website blog writers and social network media specialists. while I don't think we have seen the death of the newspaper industry yet, there is no doubt that electronic publications is taking a significant stake into the media market.

Until we actually see an electronic reader, laptop, or electronic content display of some type in the hands of every single person as we walked down the street, then we will have not seen the death of the print industry. Only when the availability of electronic readers has reached a critical level, will electronic publications have truly taken the market share of how media is dispersed in our country


@thumbtack Is right in his analysis of what is happening to the way that digital publications are changing the way that readers consume the information they want.

While photojournalist may have less and less likely of the chance at getting a job at an actual newsprint organization, there are many more websites that are now hiring photojournalists for their content creation.

What this means is that the photojournalist will still be shooting the exact same pictures but preparing them for a different content delivery system.

This is just one example of how we will see the effects of electronic publications and the way they disseminate information.


Many people these days claim that the newspaper industry is heading a downhill slope towards complete shutdown. The truth is that we are actually witnessing a changing in the way that publications are dispersed to the reader.

Instead of having all of the world's news, information and timely topics brought to you every day and delivered in paper and ink form on your doorstep, we are more and more reliant upon the digitalization of information and it's spread on the Internet.

The difference here of course is that while the content delivery system is changing the content creation systems are staying intact but are definitely seeing some residual effects from the change in medium that is used to spread the information.

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