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Re: Journal use (Mary Wilke) Marcia Tuttle 05 Jul 1996 16:01 UTC

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 5 Jul 1996 10:21:21 -0500
From: Mary Wilke <wilke@CRLMAIL.UCHICAGO.EDU>
Subject: Re: Journal use (Steve Black)

Mr. Black is simplifying things. Until the advent of electronic
communication, the forte of print journals was the recording and rapid
dissemination of knowledge. (It was the forte of libraries to store the
fixed record and make it accessible to larger numbers than the single
private subscriber.) The advent of Electronic Journals has now provided
another medium which can disseminate information faster for those
individuals/communities which have access to the technology. But let us
not forget that there are still many places even here in the United States
which do not have access to enough equipment if they have it at all.  (And
please don't say that all the places which *really* need the access
already have the access.)

Mr Black's statement that "a system of ready access to indexing combined
with reasonably efficient document delviery *is* a workable alternative to
having a journal in house", is another simplification. What happens if all
libraries cancel the print subscription and there is no online version?
Who will be the source for document delivery?  So maybe not all libraries
cancel their print subscription, but only the majority of them. Does Mr.
Black really think the more expensive journals will come that far down in
price ($62.00)?  Remember, while publishers are often "for-profit"
businesses, even non-profit publishers need to cover overhead.

Then there is the problem of publication for tenure purpose. Until
institutions accept electronic publication for tenure, there will be print
publications. But even when institutions accept electronic publication,
there is the problem of storing this form. It seems to me that because
electronic communication doesn't take up shelf space, people forget that
space is needed to store or archive e-journals, computer space. The
archives of NASIG recently had to be moved from the original space on the
American Mathematical Society's computers. NASIG's Electronic
Communications Committee managed the move within the time AMS allotted,
but this incident should give one pause. Long term storage of e-journals
and other electronic communication cannot be taken for granted even when
it is a university which is supported the archives. Universities missions,
goals, and priorities will change through time. One should not believe
that a university will always want to finance electronic archives for an
area of study which their institution may no longer support.

Don't get me wrong, I do not believe that print is the way, the only way.
It's just that I also don't believe electronic communication and document
delivery is the panacea for the problems libraries are facing today. There
are many possiblilities out there, and I am optimistic that we will
arrive at a sane solution.

Mary I. Wilke
Head of Acquisitions
Center for Research Libraries
6050 S. Kenwood Ave.
Chgo. IL 60637
Tel:(312) 955-4545 (x 351)
Fax:(312) 955-4339