Re: Disappearing microform titles (Albert Henderson Marcia Tuttle 11 Sep 2001 00:05 UTC

Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2001 10:22:22 -0400
From: Albert Henderson <chessNIC@COMPUSERVE.COM>
Subject: Re: Disappearing microform titles (Peter V. Picerno)

on Fri, 7 Sep 2001 Peter V. Picerno <ppicerno@UTMEM.EDU> wrote:

Subject: Re: Disappearing microform titles (Albert Henderson)

> (snip)
>         Publishers' archives go to the libraries. No other
>         group has the resources, training, and social status
>         to archive important documents effectively.
>         Archiving electronic documents is more difficult than
>         other formats, as Arms points out in DIGITAL LIBRARIES
>         (MIT Press. 2000). Digital formats become obsolete
>         within a few years. Magnetic media simply fail. The
>         popular compression formats (JPG, GIF) capture only
>         a fraction of the information in the original art.
>         If the library community cannot step up, much
>         of knowledge and culture after the year 2000
>         will be lost. The question is, as I see it, who
>         cares about these things anymore?
>         I don't think it's a matter of caring or not caring: but what
> library has the luxury of resources (financial, staff, and otherwise) to
> digitize, migrate, electronically store, and maintain an electronic back
> run of a journal? I think it's really a question of whether the library
> community can afford to "step up."

        The institutions who wish to continue to claim the
        social status accorded by having excellent cultural
        resources better do it, even if it means dipping into
        the misers' treasury.

        Nicholson Baker focused on the ease with which the
        libraries 'of last report' gave up their newspaper
        prints in exchange for microforms. That story only
        scratches the surface. There are at least three studies
        that I can cite demonstrating that the major libraries
        simply are not acquiring most new knowledge that
        is published in academic disciplines. Moreover, the ACRL
        standards for college libraries once called for 6% of
        general and educational expenditures to go to the library.
        I never heard of any institution losing its accreditation
        by not meeting that test. Nearly all should have been
        red-tagged. Why was this and other finite measures dropped?

>         The models we are dealing with here are very different. Compare,
> for example, the costs of binding and shelving a print journal, the costs
> of purchasing and maintaining a microform of a back run, and the cost of
> paying perpetual rent for access to a back run of a journal. The first two
> examples of the model (print and microform) represent some financial
> outlay on the part of the library for binding and storage, but a
> one-time-only payment to the publisher, while the third example
> (e-versions) represents little outlay by the library
> (hardware/software/web access) but continual payment to the
> publisher/aggregator/vendor.
>         Which is more affordable for libraries, and which is more
> lucrative for publishers/vendors/aggregators??

        There is nothing lucrative about formats that libraries are
        not buying. Most periodical publishers trash their overrun.
        You want them to maintain and continuously upgrade, probably
        with multiple formats, for free. Electronic technology does
        not save money, as is pointed out repeatedly by Andrew W
        Mellon Foundatation studies in TECHNOLOGY & SCHOLARLY
        COMMUNICATION (Quandt & Ekman. U Calif Press).

        Library impoverishment is more lucrative for universities,
        of course. By cutting library spending by a point, the
        higher education institutsions added a point to surplus
        revenues. Two more points to go.

Albert Henderson