Gail McMillan makes a strong argument for cataloging electronic journals,
and her excellent presentations and writings on the subject have been
of great benefit to me and I am sure others as well in thinking about
how libraries can best make e-journals available for our users.
However in light of the fact that we are also facing 'downsizing', and
because my institution has not yet formulated any definitive policies
for handling e-journals, I am wondering at this point whether it is
really necessary to replicate e-journal files on-site. If we decide
that we indeed wish to maintain control of these files ourselves, choosing
file-naming conventions and retaining control of which files to select and
which to de-select, then I whole heartedly agree that e-journals need to
be fully cataloged and integrated into the catalog along with other resources
that we "own." But if we decide that it's not necessary to actually own
the files, and that in fact all we really need to do is to provide our users
with a means to access titles housed in a remote location, then the whole
issue of information delivery becomes a bit fuzzier. I was really
amazed the first time I telnetted to the University of Minnesota's gopher,
selected an e-journal, and mailed myself back an article (or file). Wow,
I thought, instant do-it-yourself ILL! (The implications for changing the
way we do document delivery in this context are intriguing, too).
But to return to the question of cataloging e-journals. If the local catalog
is defined as what the institution actually owns, and one opts not to
catalog remote e-journals in a conventional manner, what strategies should we
pursue to integrate these new resources with more traditional formats?
Are others struggling with these questions? Any insights or comments would
be most welcome.