AGU is facing a difficult transition during the next few years. A major shift is underway in the communication of scientific information. Printed journals occupying meters of shelf space will be replaced by some form of electronic distribution. All scientific societies must rethink their role in communicating scientific research, if they want to continue to play a significant part. Otherwise, the 21st century will bring the same fate to scientific societies that the 20th century brought to railroads: obsolescence.