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Tables of Contents on the NET BMACLENN@UVMVM.BITNET 02 Dec 1991 19:16 UTC

----------------------------Original message----------------------------
The following is being sent to ACQNET and SERIALST.  Apologies to those who
receive duplicates.

I've been following the discussion re. posting LAPT Tables of
Contents (TOC) on ACQNET and SERIALST with great interest.  Aside
from Kate McCain's Nov. 1st posting, subscribers to SERIALST have
been curiously silent on this topic.

Here's my two cents worth.  As a subscriber, my reaction was
favorable.  The budget cuts and subscription cancellations that
our library is coping with have resulted in a policy of sending
all but a few currently received professional journals directly
to their shelving areas.  Library staff interested in a
particular title, which previously might have been routed, or
available in the staff lounge, must now browse shelves, or check
holdings in the online catalog for current receipts.  Thus, the
idea of posting TOC lists for selected journals seems like a nice
"current awareness" service -- provided the contents displayed on
the listing(s) parallels the scope and content of the electronic
discussion forum.

As a listowner, I have concerns about featuring one journal's TOC
over another's and the question of "quasi-advertising" or
commercialism that this elicits.  As Ann Okerson suggested
(ACQNET, vol. 1, no. 129 (Nov. 25)) what would probably be ideal
is an acquisitions (for ACQNET) or serials (for SERIALST)
subject-oriented list of citations from a variety of journals.
The manifestation of citations from many journals, as opposed to
one, would eliminate appearances of preferential treatment or
commercialism.  For a model of such a service, one might check
out the Current Cite service that is edited by David F.W. Robison
at the UC Berkeley Library.  (Internet users can Telnet to:, key in the command, "show current cites," and
look at citations in selected areas of library technology from
over 30 librarianship and computer technology journals.)

This brings forth another question.  Who, if anyone, could we co-
opt into providing such mini-services to ACQNET or SERIALST?  And
do we want to?  Such services -- UnCover, DIALOG, OCLC's First
Search -- already exist on the NET on a much larger scale (albeit
for a fee).  Electronic discussion forums and bulletin boards are
what their subscribers contribute.

Finally, what, exactly, constitutes commercialism?  If we cite
each other's work as relevant and/or complementary to an
electronic forum (regardless of what journal publishes it), is
this commercialism or an exchange of ideas about available
sources in our areas of interest?

There are probably no hard and fast answers to any of this, but
pending volunteers (are there any out there?) who would be
willing to compile a citation service based on a variety of
sources, I'm in favor of seeing citations to available literature
on topics that are relevant to the scope of the forum -- and
appreciative of the efforts of contributors who are willing to
supply us with such citations.

Birdie MacLennan
University of Vermont