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Re: Using JSTOR vs. keeping print David Goodman 06 Dec 2002 21:00 UTC

This has been (and will be) much discussed on
liblicense-l ( from
many people's viewpoints.

For starters, let me summarize -- online -- my
personal view on some factors.

For a research library, archival considerations are
paramount. Some few publishers have adequate backup
arrangments, which as a minimum include the guarantee
that the material will be available from a national
library or institution of comparable stature if they
go out of business or otherwise cannot provide the
material. Without these provisions, no research
library should even think of discarding the original
titles, or stopping to subscribe in paper to important
titles in its field, though this would be different
for a non-research library. Even with this provision,
a research library that has especially strong holdings
in a subject on a national scale probably has the
responsibility to keep paper as long as the paper is
still published--there is an urgent

 need for this
responsibility to be organized on a systematic basis.

An example from my own institution: as biology
selector at Princeton I discontinued print
subscriptions to many journals in biology, even some
of the most important journals, because in the absence
of medical and agricultural schools we gave up the
attempt at comprehensive coverage many decades ago,
and are not a collection of archival stature in this
subject. (The users, by the way, have not complained,
or even noticed--they look online first.) The
mathematics and physics selectors did exactly the
opposite, keeping essentially all subscriptions in
print as well as electronic, because the collection in
this area is one of the most complete anywhere.

In some subject areas, quality of reproduction is a
consideration. For currently published science
material from major publishers, the quality of
reproduction in the online version is at least as good
as the paper, and high quality copies ar

e much more
readily printed than photocopied--especially in color.
I cannot speak about other subjects.

Material converted to electronic format in earlier
years may be a problem. To take an example from a
field I know about, the woodcuts in the early volumes
of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society are
considerably clearer in the original than on JStor.
(This is not an inherent limitation of electronics or
of JStor: this material was scanned some years ago.)

Another problem is oversized material: material larger
than a conventional journal or book, such as Harper's
Weekly, is very inconvenient to view and especially to
print in electronic format.

Whether the existing print copies material can be
appropriately removed from the main stacks and kept in
storage is a more flexible matter. The only guide here
is actual use at your own institution, and the ease of
recovering items from your storage facility, including
both individual articles and comp

lete runs. I think no
research institution should physically discard
existing print runs if any suitable storage can be

It should of course be noted that while MUSE,
ScienceDirect and so on can substitute for a printed
subscription, JSTOR by intent covers only backfiles
and cannot be used that way. And I am sure we all
realize that the versions of journals obtained from
aggregators have no promise of permanent availability,
and are not suitable replacements for proper print or
electronic subscriptions by any research library
(though they are very good values for many other

All of this is my personal view only.

Dr. David Goodman
Princeton University Library
Palmer School of Library & Information Science, Long
Island University

----- Original Message -----
From: Lauren Corbett <lcorbet@EMORY.EDU>
Date: Thursday, December 5, 2002 5:57 pm
Subject: Re: Using JSTOR vs. keeping print

> I would like to see reponses on

the list please!
> As a tangentially related question, I'm interested in knowing how many
> libraries, particularly large academic libraries, are still
> subscribingto print when they have Project Muse, Wiley
> Interscience, or Science
> Direct, etc.
> I know some smaller libraries that dropped print several years ago
> wererelying on the larger libraries at least continuing the print
> archive;I'm wondering now if the larger libraries are dropping
> print too and the
> need for an archiving solution is growing in importance.
> --
> Lauren Corbett
> Acquisitions Team Leader &
> Interim Division Leader for Information Resources
> Emory University -- Woodruff Library
> ph: 404 712 1818
> fax: 404 727 0408
> Janice Ouellette wrote:
> >Hello all,
> >I'm new to this list and I apologize if this issue has been talked
> into>the ground already.
> >
> >For those Libraries which hold subscriptions  to JSTOR (or Project
> MUSE)>- has the decision been mad

e to remove print volumes and rely
> on this
> >electronic archive? If yes, can you share the rationale, and if no,
> >please share reasons also.
> >
> >Could you respond to me offlist?
> >
> >Cordially,
> >Jan Ouellette
> >