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Re: ejournals and ILL

I'm afraid Ms. Fletcher does not see that the point of ILL policies is precisely NOT to "reduce the burden on library staff and the waste of paper, ink, time, and electricity." It is by making ILL inefficient that publishers avoid the Universal Customer Problem.

The Universal Customer Problem, which is hinted at in Daviess Menefee's earlier post, refers to a situation where a single digital copy of a document, sold to a single customer (the Universal Customer), is then copied and recopied and made available to other users, eliminating the requirement that anyone but the first, the Universal, customer pays for the document. Thus a publisher faces the prospect that ILL or any other means of file-sharing will result in a marketplace that consists of precisely one customer and no more.

There are ways to work around this. For one, a publisher could charge a huge amount for the first and only copy and essentially delegate the task of serial dissemination to the Universal Customer. This is unlikely, as it would be hard to get an institution to volunteer to be the one paying customer. Another possibility is to authorize a certain number of copies for ILL, but then there is the pesky problem of enforcement. Or a publisher could arrange consortium licensing, whereby ILL is restricted to a declared set of institutions. No doubt there are other variants, but they all have as their basis the need to keep the Universal Customer out of the marketplace.

For this reason, ILL for digital products will eventually disappear, replaced by open access, restricted access (no ILL rights), or consortial access. ILL, in other words, is an artifact of the print era and has no place in digital publishing.

Joe Esposito

----- Original Message -----
From: "Adelaide Fletcher" <fletchera@denvermedlib.org>
To: <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 2:32 PM
Subject: RE: ejournals and ILL

Why not allow a mediated system, then, where requests are filtered by a human who then downloads an electronic copy and emails it to the requester? This would not change the definition of authorized users, and it would significantly reduce the burden on library staff and the waste of paper, ink, time, and electricity.

Adelaide Fletcher, MLIS, AHIP
Electronic Resources Librarian
Denver Medical Library
Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center
Denver, CO 80218

-----Original Message-----
[mailto:owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Menefee, Daviess
Sent: Monday, March 03, 2008 6:19 PM
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: ejournals and ILL

In response to Beth Jacoby's question of Feb. 29:

First, I want to assure you that the license you received was
current when you received it in October, 2007. Certain changes
to the template were made in December and do not affect the ILL
clause other than to include book chapters and make certain
terminology changes (e.g. eliminating the term Excerpt). We will
be happy to work with you to incorporate the new language.

As to why we require printing first (and our understanding is
that most publishers also do this), the reasons are fairly
simple. First, this is most closely analogous to the traditional
and well-understood practices of print, where one photocopies or
scans the print. What is received by the requester is about the
same quality copy.

Second, we are concerned about those within the ILL community who
advocate an unmediated system, where requesters enter their
requests electronically and these requests are automatically
routed electronically to a library holding the material. The
article can be retrieved and returned to the requester without
the need for human intervention. While we can appreciate the
efficiency of such a system, it effectively changes the
definition of Authorized User in our agreement from those within
the subscribing institution to anyone anywhere in the world.

Daviess Menefee
Library Relations Elsevier