[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: PubMed Central

I'm just answering about no. 1.

How do libraries guide patrons on what is quality controlled and what
isn't in the presently published literaure? Medicine is the most dramatic
case, with all the popular literature, some of it rational, some
deceptively rational-appearing, and some quite otherwise. Even in academic
medical journals, there are very variable standards. Peer-reviewed ins not
the panacea--some extremely high quality journals are not strictly
speaking peer reviewed, and some very low quality ones ....  Though I'm a
great fan of JCR for evaluating journals when used wisely, it's hardly
useful for evaluating individual articles (though I have heard such
proposals). Even among the better journals, one has to distinguish what's
no longer relevant or valid.

Other fields of study may not show such pressing problems, but they're
there. I buy creationist materials--the study of resistance to Darwinism
now and in the past is an academic speciality at this university. But I
certainly hope the biology freshmen don't cite them as if they were

There is the more general question of guidance. In most academic settings
outside the largest research universities, the accessibility of the
relatively useless literature to undergraduates has been relatively low,
because the libraries bought only the major journals. At the largest
libraries, confusion among even sophisticated beginners is well
recognized--it leads to such programs as separate undergraduate libraries,
or extensive personal instruction. But with the widespread availability of
a much wider range of published literature, as well as unpublished
material, all of this is now dramatically changing.

The solution is not censorship, whether positive or negative, but
education, and the development of tools for use in evaluation and
education. I see the role for librarians (and others doing the same work)
as much expanding. But no, I have no immediate practical proposals except
a greater personal involvement of librarians and teachers. 

David Goodman, Princeton University Biology Library				
dgoodman@princeton.edu            609-258-3235

On Sat, 19 Feb 2000, John Cox wrote:

> I recognise the attraction of linking to PubMed Central and other
> pre-print/e-print servers.  I have two questions for the library
> community:
> 1.  How does the library guide patrons on what is quality controlled and
> peer-reviewed, and what is unreviewed?  This may prove to be very
> important in bio-medicine, where unreviewed and unmoderated articles may
> present dangers if applied in clinical practice.
> 2.  How will libraries catalogue the contents on such servers?
> John Cox
> John Cox Associates
> The Pippins, 6 Lees Close, Whittlebury
> TOWCESTER, Northants NN12 8XF
> United Kingdom
> Tel: +44 1327 857908
> Fax: +44 1327 858564
> E-mail: John.E.Cox@btinternet.com
> -----Original Message-----
> From: nbaum@notes.cc.sunysb.edu <nbaum@notes.cc.sunysb.edu>
> To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
> Date: 19 February 2000 00:09
> Subject: RE: PubMed Central
> >We'll probably link to it.  I realize the content is still kind of sparse,
> >but I like the idea and would want to support it.
> >
> >Nathan Baum
> >Digital Resources Librarian
> >Melville Library
> >SUNY Stony Brook
> >Stony Brook, New York  11794-3331