Publication Date

February 28, 2022

Perspectives Section

Letters to the Editor

AHA Topic

Publishing, Research & Publications



To the Editor:

After reading “Townhouse Notes: Making a More Readable and Accessible Publication” (January 2022), I applaud the effort to make the print magazine easier to read. I think it’s important to note that “accessibility” is an accommodation for not just those with commonly recognized disabilities but also those of us whose disability is simply reaching middle age.

As I’m a practicing historian, my job, as much as anything, is to read, and yet my 54-year-old eyes do not make that nearly as easy for me as it once was. Even with progressive lenses to treat myopia, I usually take off my glasses and stick a book six inches from my face. Those with presbyopia must do the opposite—their arms are never long enough to get that book far enough away, and reading glasses are a must. For many, this problem becomes intrusive around 45, so a huge chunk of the working historical community copes with it every day.

Old eyes have made me strongly prefer reading on a screen to print, where I can make a document on a monitor as big as I want. I never read print journals if I can read them online. To my mind, any publication that is going to continue in print would do well to make itself as easy to read as possible. So good effort.

Phillip Reid
Wilmington, North Carolina

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