Re: Disappearing microform titles (Dan Lester, 2nd message) Marcia Tuttle 07 Sep 2001 00:07 UTC

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2001 16:39:05 -0600
From: Dan Lester <>
Subject: Re: Disappearing microform titles (Buddy Pennington)

Thursday, September 06, 2001, 12:10:01 PM, you wrote:

> It's nice for publishers to put their archives on the web, but I am sure
> they won't have it accessible for free for long.  That is why they are
> cancelling the film, because it doesn't pay.

Naturally.  They're in business.  In good financial times they can
afford to carry some losing operations for good will, PR, etc.  In
tough times they can't.

> Also, film is nice because it is centralized and easily arranged.  We have
> over 500 current titles on film and several hundred more non-current titles
> but they are all shelved in alphabetical order and easy to find.  If
> publishers start putting this up, then we will have hundreds of URLS to
> worry about.  That will be a cataloging nightmare.  There are archives out
> there (ECO, JSTOR), but they are few and contain mainly STM titles and
> academic titles.

I'd much rather maintain a list of 500 URLs (that can change, of course)
than 5000 or 50,000 boxes of film.  Cataloging websites is no more
difficult than cataloging print journals.  It IS different, and that
bothers some, but that's nothing new.

> And you also have patrons to think about.  While many of our patrons grumble
> about using microfilm, far more grumble about using the computer to access
> magazine articles.  This may not be the case in academic libraries, but it
> is the case at our library.

Our student patrons prefer computer to microfilm because they can
access the material in many places.  Neither the film user nor the web
user reads the document on the associated screen.  They all hit the
print button and take the paper away to read.  The web copy is never
harder to read than the print from microfilm, and usually easier to

> My point is that it isn't film vs. web that is at stake, it is the
> diminishing of formats fo retention.

It isn't diminishing formats, it is changing formats.  When we lost 8
tracks (yes, no great loss) it wasn't a diminishing of formats, it was
a changing of formats to cassettes, and subsequently to CDs.  Soon it
will be to something else.  But as long as it is DIGITAL the format
doesn't matter, as long as someone copies the old format to the new.

>  While film has its problems, it beats
> the crap out of the internet in terms of archiving and permanent access.

The internet isn't an archiving solution as such.  The digital storage
is key, no matter how it is delivered to the user.

> When you own something you decide when to get rid of it.  When you rent or
> lease something (like access to web archives) you have no say in the manner.

Some libraries are doing their own archiving of the digital content
they buy/lease/license/use.  The legalities are left as an exercise
for the student.


Dan Lester, Data Wrangler
3577 East Pecan, Boise, Idaho  83716-7115 USA  Stop Global Whining!