Fwd: Re[2]: Ascertaining issue usage (Was: RE: Quit Checking In Journal Issues?) Dan Lester 19 Aug 2002 03:27 UTC

Forwarded to the list at David's request.


This is a forwarded message
From: David Goodman <dgoodman@phoenix.Princeton.EDU>
To: Dan Lester <dan@riverofdata.com>
Date: Sunday, August 18, 2002, 6:14:24 PM
Subject: Ascertaining issue usage (Was: RE: Quit Checking In Journal Issues?)

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Dan, I cant post from home, so could you please post for me in response to

I am glad to be reminded that, as usual, Dan and I are in agreement.
Although I used his comment as a springboard for my statements, I was
never really in doubt that both feel that one of the most
positive features of the development of electronic resources is the
availability of wider range of resources to libraries of all sorts.

I am glad to have Biosis; I am also glad to have simpler tools on
occasion. And, one of the great benefits of our arrangements with
the aggregators is the availability for undergraduates and faculty alike
of a wide and indestructible range of
materials for  cultural studies that were  previously difficult to
obtain in complete files.

David Goodman
Research Librarian and
Biological Sciences Bibliographer
Princeton University Library
dgoodman@princeton.edu            609-258-7785

On Sat, 17 Aug 2002, Dan Lester wrote:

> Friday, August 16, 2002, 3:51:18 PM, you wrote:
> DG> However, regardless of the nature of the institution, I personally feel
> DG> that any system encouraging or guiding  users to
> DG> limit themselves to titles available in full-text aggregator databases is
> DG> doing them a major disservice, as there is no subject field where the most
> DG> important journals are found in full text on these databases.
> DG> This is as true for Freshman as anyone else--if they are to use a limited
> DG> number of sources for a short paper they should use the best sources.
> David, I think you may have misread what I said in the message to
> which you're responding.  Let me try to clarify things.
> DG> Dan, I rarely disagree with you, at least not to this extent, but I fear
> DG> you may be  falling into the trap
> DG> of believing that all journal articles are equally good.
> I don't think I've said or suggested that at all.  I know that there
> is a wide variation in quality; after all, I've been in this business
> for over thirty years.  And, all of us have journals of all quality
> levels and types in our libraries, for a multitude of reasons.
> DG> Yes, they should
> DG> all be available if this can be practically arranged, and we certainly
> DG> should not inhibit any user from access to whatever material they wish,
> DG> important or not. But reliance upon the material available from
> DG> aggregators is deliberately guiding them to the least useful.
> Now let me go back to quote from the message earlier in this thread,
> which I sent on Thursday afternoon, August 15th.
> "We can also get some idea of usage of ejournals by observing patrons
> and the usage of paper on our computer printers in the public area."
> Note that I'm just saying we observe their behavior, both in noting
> what they ask at the reference desk and what they're doing when they
> ask for help at a computer as we roam the floor.
> There certainly are times when we direct students to MasterFile
> Premier or Expanded Academic databases.  I believe, as do my
> colleagues, that it would be foolish to direct a new freshman writing
> his/her first paper in English 101 (say three pages on "abortion") to
> BioAbs or PsychLit.  When we query most of these students in an
> attempt to try to get them to focus their papers (e.g. "Well, do you want to
> look at abortion laws, abortion procedures, psychological impact of
> abortion, religious aspects, or something else?") and they reply "Oh,
> just abortion") we direct them to one of the general databases which
> will give them a ton of information in full text, admittedly from
> sources of varying quality.
> If you think that at these times we should direct them elsewhere, then
> we'll just have to disagree.
> >From the same message I also said
> "When a patron has an option between finding an
> article electronically and printing it vs. going to find a paper copy
> and then photocopying it, it's a genuine nobrainer.  In fact, many of
> the databases provide an option to limit a search to items with full
> text.  That is an extremely popular feature with students."
> Once again, I'm simply describing what happens, whether we have an
> interaction with the student or not.  Remember, many of these students
> have used these same tools in high school or public libraries before
> they ever get to the university.  I'll bet the same happens with
> freshmen who arrive at Princeton this fall. I'll also bet that many
> Princeton professors (or TAs?) teaching basic courses that cover
> things of the English 101 nature also recommend specific broad
> databases in the classroom, just as they do at Boise State and most
> other places.
> "For the students writing a typical 3-10 page lower division paper requiring
> relatively few resources that isn't even a limitation on their
> research."
> Again, we may just have to disagree.  However, even though I used the
> word "research", since that is how such a paper is usually prescribed
> in the classroom, we all know it isn't true research in the same way
> that graduate students and faculty are doing it.  They're doing
> something closer to a "review of the literature" that isn't designed
> even to be what would be needed for an MA/MS Thesis.
> DG> Declaration of conflict of interest: I am on the advisory board of one of
> DG> the major aggregators. I think the material supplied by both it and its
> DG> competitors have a veryuseful and  important role--as a supplement.
> No problem.  I'd never consider ANY index or bibliography to be the
> be-all and end-all, even BioAbs in the field of biology.  As students
> develop skills to, in some cases, turn into genuine researchers,
> they'll be introduced by teaching faculty and library faculty to
> progressively more complex, deep, comprehensive, and important tools.
> cheers
> dan
> --
> Dan Lester, Data Wrangler  dan@RiverOfData.com 208-283-7711
> 3577 East Pecan, Boise, Idaho  83716-7115 USA
> www.riverofdata.com  www.gailndan.com  Stop Global Whining!

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Dan Lester, Data Wrangler  dan@RiverOfData.com 208-283-7711
3577 East Pecan, Boise, Idaho  83716-7115 USA
www.riverofdata.com  www.postcard.org  www.gailndan.com