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Re: E-Journals: Stirring the Waters Marcia Tuttle 07 Feb 1992 12:53 UTC

Date:         Thu, 6 Feb 1992 08:29:09 EST
From:         Christian Boissonnas <CBY@CORNELLC>
Subject:      Re: E-Journals: Stirring the Waters
In-Reply-To:  Message of Thu, 6 Feb 1992 00:03:37 EST from <BMACLENN@UVMVM>

1.  E-journals are a fad.  The latest in a long list of fads that librarians
    have gotten excited about over the years.  After a while the interest will
    peter out, doubtless because we will have found something else to get
    excited about.

2.  E-journals have no future.  They are just a transitional step in the
    changing pattern of information delivery which leads to the delivery of
    individual articles by the producer to the consumer of the information.
    Libraries have no role, or a minor role to play in this transaction.

3.  Libraries, as repositories of the culture, must be involved in the
    collection and preservation of e-journals, if not in its distribution.

4.  E-journals include the same information we are used to collect, but in a
    different format.  We deal with different formats all the time.  Naturally,
    we need to deal with this one too.

5.  E-journals are upon us.  We urgently need to deal with them.  The last I
    knew there were fewer than 10 titles, about the same number as 6 months

6.  E-journals are an important development in some scientific disciplines and
    irrelevant in others, such as in the humanities.

These, and other points, I have heard made time and time again in the past
six months, including at my own institution.  I am purposefully leaving out
the issue of the relationship between the library and the computer center in
dealing with e-journals.  That's an administrative issue, more or less complex
depending on where you are, but not particularly interesting or significant in
the long term.

What I have not yet heard is organized discourse on the items I listed above.
The fact that there already are 2 ALA groups dealing with this only reflects
the profound confusion surrounding these issues and not that an intelligent,
systematic analysis by the profession has begun.

NASIG seems to me the obvious choice of an organization that could take charge
of this debate and analysis.  It may be planning to.  I'm not closely involved
with it enough to know.  I would like to be part of the effort to deal with
the e-journal development, but I would like my work to be done within a
coherent framework.