About the term ‘Journal’
The word journal originates from ‘diurnalis’ in Latin and has various related meanings. Some of those meanings are as follows:
– A newspaper or any other type of periodical that’s published on a daily basis.
– An every-day record of business or events; a private journal is usually known by the name diary.
– Various publications that are issued at certain intervals, for instance academic journals, scientific journals etc.
– A record of transactions carried out by a society is also referred to as a journal. When talking about a journal in the academics context, it refers to scholarly and serious publications which are peer-reviewed.
The term journalist, whose profession is writing for public press, and the media of the present-day, has in fact been in use since the late 17th century!
Also commonly referred to as official diary, official newspaper, official gazette, official journal or government gazette, a public journal is a type of periodical publication which records all the proceedings and business carried out by a government, authorized to be published in public space or through legal notices. A public journal is usually considered as an official action or statute, and may consist of notices published under it, either by a private party or a government, considered sufficient enough for it to be legally complied by the general public.
In certain jurisdictions, it’s normal for privately-owned newspapers to register with public authorities for being able to publish legal and public notices. In the similar manner, private newspapers may also be designated by courts for the publication of such legal notices, for instance, notices related to fictitious business names. Such entities are considered ‘legally adjudicated newspapers’.
Various jurisdictions also engage in publishing of separate periodicals detailing the proceedings carried out in the legislatures. Let’s look into the ones in case of UK and US as follows:
Journals in the United Kingdom
Along with the Hansard, journals of British Houses of Parliament comprise of official records of the business carried out in the Houses of Parliament. These journals are lengthened accounts of the ‘votes and proceedings’ (called ‘minutes of proceedings’ in House of Lords) prepared by the table clerks on a day-to-day basis, and printed at the instructions of the main clerk of the house.
In case of the Commons, it’s the votes and proceedings and not the journal which bears the signature of the speaker, fulfilling an order that he should be perusing them prior to their publication.
Creation and maintenance of journals of the British House of Commons dates back to the Edward VI era of 1547, and are all up-to-date except for some time during the Elizabeth I’s reign.
In case of House of Lords, these journals date back to the year 1509, starting from the first year of Henry VIII. Prior to that time, the Parliament proceedings used to be entered into the rolls of Parliament, dating back to 1278 till 1503. The journals related to the House of Lords are actually judicial ‘records’, while those of House of Commons aren’t.
Hansard which became available from 1803, consists of printed transcripts of various Parliamentary debates.
Journals in the United States
The debates and official proceedings carried out in the United States Congress are maintained via an official record or journal referred to as the ‘Congressional Record’. This journal or official record is published by the United States Government Publishing Office and is normally issued during the time when the Congress is actually in session. The indexes of this journal are issued on a fortnightly basis. After the Congress session ends, the daily editions are compiled in the form of bound volumes, which constitute the permanent edition.
In case of New York City, the official journal is referred to as ‘The City Record’. It’s published every day of the week, except on legal holidays, and comprises of legal notices issued by the city’s agencies, including various notices pertaining to the proposed rules, adopted rules, upcoming public hearings, public meetings, property dispositions, selected court decisions, public auctions, procurement awards and procurement solicitations.
‘Journal’ in the context of business and accounting
Journal as a term is also extensively used in business and accounting. It’s the place where the entries related to double-entry bookkeeping are actively recorded by debiting one or more accounts and crediting the corresponding accounts with exact total amounts. It should be noted that the total debited amount and total credited amount is always the same, and it’s essential for it to be that way for maintenance of the accounting equation.
In the accounting and bookkeeping world, a journal is simply a record that details all the financial transactions carried out by a business/individual, ordered by date. It can be in the form of a computer file or a book in which the monetary transactions of the business are entered as they’re processed. It is the journal which lists all the transactions in chronological order, before the details of those transactions are transferred to a ledger for bookkeeping purposes.
Book of original entry is another commonly known name of journal. It’s the place where all transactions are written before they are manually posted into the general or subsidiary ledger of the accounts. The manual systems of the earlier days used to have all sorts of journals like cash receipts journal, general journal, cash disbursements general, purchases journal and sales journal. Special journals can also be used depending on a business’s accounting system. These special journals should be used along with the general journal. In such scenarios, the usage of general journal may get limited to only adjusting and non-routine entries.
Please note that the entries made into a general journal comprise of the transaction date, the names of the accounts (which are debited and credited), specific amounts of every debit and credit entry and some sort of an explanation related to the transaction (referred to as narration).
Term ‘Journal’ in the context of a ship’s log data
The term journal is also used for referring to a ship’s log or log book which contains a record of all the important events related to the navigation, operation and management of the ship. The maintenance of such journal is essential for conventional navigation and it must be filled in on a daily basis.
The term used to originally refer to a book consisting of the chip log readings, used for ascertaining the distance travelled by a ship within a certain period of time.
The ship journals or logs of today consist of many other information types, and are used for recording operational data related to a submarine or a ship, for instance the times of routine events, significant incidents, ports docked at, docking times, crew comments, weather conditions and more.
Majority of National shipping authorities make it mandatory to maintain such journals or log books for providing the exact record of events and for helping the crew members navigate their way to the shores, in case there’s a GPS, radar or radio failure.