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Re: Cancellation of print journals (David Goodman) Marcia Tuttle 13 Apr 2000 22:38 UTC

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2000 18:37:43 -0400
From: David Goodman <dgoodman@Princeton.EDU>
Subject: Re: Cancellation of print journals

At the Princeton Biology Library  for the 2000 subscription year, we have
begun to receive some major titles as electronic only. We are doing this in
appropriate cases where we have confidence in the stability and performance of
the publisher, where the financial advantage is significant, and where the
browsing use is insignificant. Of the 27 Biology Library titles (from Academic
Press, American Physiological Society, and Rockefeller University Press)
available in this way and that met our criteria, for only one of them did we
continue the print as well.

At Princeton this is not unique to the Biology Library.  Many other branches
of our system receive some of these titles from Academic Press in electronic
format only.  When we joined IDEAL, only 9 of the 112 potential Academic Press
titles system-wide were continued in print as well.

There are many other titles I (and probably at least some other selectors)
would treat similarly if they were available on suitable terms as electronic
format only.

The most fundamental reason why few research institutions are actually
discontinuing print is the concern of research libraries for permanent
access. By this is meant both the provision of access to the years
purchased if the subscription is later discontinued, and the certainty of
access into the indefinite future.

I am aware that our library is making the decision to rely upon the
electronic format before all of these issues have been totally resolved.
All of the publishers for which we have switched to electronic*only offer
what I consider adequate stability and permanence, but the institutional
arrangements for this are not complete, let alone tested.

Another factor is the acceptability of the electronic journals format to
the most influential. I have not asked for formal approval, although I was
prudent enough to check with key representative people. The reactions from
those previously opposed to the idea were variations of "I suppose it's
inevitable--go ahead. Some librarians from other branches here did obtain
formal approval from at least some groups.

I rely on the users' adaptability, eagerness to experiment with new
technology, and understanding of the benefits of electronic journals, also
on our willingness to reinstate print for any titles found to be really
needed in that format. I also know that our users value very highly our
willingness to subscribe to titles in new areas of interest, to continue
to receive a large number of books, and to pay for all necessary document
delivery. We think that they would rather we spent our funds on these than
on the unnecessary and irrational duplication of formats.

As a transition, I have asked to receive tables of contents by email of
the titles we no longer receive; I print these and put them where I
formerly kept the unbound issues. In the few months since this policy has
been effective, I have not received complaints, but have received many
appreciations of the electronic versions.

I am, of course, expressing only my own personal views on what's

David Goodman
Biology Librarian, and
Co-Chair, Electronic Journals Task Force
Princeton University Library
phone: 609-258-3235            fax: 609-258-2627